Saturday, February 9, 2013

Umm Qais

This weekend, we took a trip up north to visit our friend, Mohammed and his wife, Lara.  They live close to the city of Irbid, the 2nd largest city in Jordan and home to the University of Yarmouk, one of the best universities in the Middle East.

I thought this picture was pretty cool.  Irbid is very close to the Syrian border and lots of refugees have come to Irbid to find work and for a little bit of stability.  Homeland fans, check out the name, Abu Nusseir.  I thought that was pretty funny.

The recent rain has fertilised that land and now Jordan is green!  

We stayed with our friends and they cooked us lunch/dinner.

The AMAZING meal Lara and Mohammed cooked for us.  I am not sure what the name is in Arabic, but the creamy dish is stuffed zucchini (courgette) in a lemony, yoghurt sauce - very, very tasty!  There is also grape leaves and rice and a lamb curry.

Our lovely friends, Mohammed and his beautiful wife, Lara -  very sweet, gentle people.  I feel lucky to have met them both.

Below is a picture of Umm Qais.  In the Roman era, Umm Qais was known as Gedara.  The Romans transformed this town into one of the great cities of the Decapolis.  Herod the Great was given Gedara after a naval victory and he ruled over this land until his death in 4 BC.

Umm Qais (Gedara) is mentioned in the Bible - 

And when he came to the other side, to the country of Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.  And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God?  Have you cine here to torment us before our time?"  Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go." so they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.
Matthew 8:28-32

                                                 This is the first cow we've seen in Jordan.

Archaeologists have recently uncovered some mosaics on the ground.  What's amazing is that you can still see the colours and you can walk on it!  Not that we did because we don't want to ruin it, but if you wanted to, you could,

A Roman bath - I can imagine this would have been an impressive public bath with fountains and statues.

Below are ancient shops.

I loved standing at this vantage point because the road to the bottom left is an Israeli road and the road to the right is Jordanian.  Further to the right is Syria.  We could also see the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias)  but the camera couldn't pick it up because it was a little hazy.


  1. It is amazing how much history is in this country

  2. It is amazing - an ancient land and so much to discover. I love it :-)