Jordan, October 2018

+ The place


+ My feelings, the places visited and historical part

Ten days in Jordan, three of which are reserved for tours, which is still quite short, in Aqaba in this beautiful country for tours and diving. This is not my first trip to an Arab country but it is impossible to compare Tunisia with Jordan.
I landed in Amman, the capital. The next day, visit Madaba then Mount Nebo, short passage to the Dead Sea to finish in Petra. Finally, one night in Wadi Rum then direction Aqaba, for seven days including five days of diving.
Driving seems easy when renting a car. In my opinion, it is still preferable to use a private driver, who will not cost you much more, but will save you precious time on the many checks on the roads. In addition, the English speaking drivers, you will have explanations on the spot.
One detail that caught my attention, the Jordanian flag really flies everywhere and the portrait of the King of Jordan is often visible on the walls.
I was surprised not to see any rail lines in this country so long. The distances between Amman the capital and Aqaba are 320km (199mi) and many trucks travel this road which suffer the consequences. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of cars in the left lanes. There is indeed a railway line but it is only used for the transport of phosphate.
The places visited outside Petra, Wadi-Rum et Aqaba
   • Amman : I only saw Amman through the windows of a car, especially since my hotel was on the outskirts of the city. I would have enjoyed staying a full day to explore the city. From the little that I saw, the city is really extended and the traffic remains difficult.
   • Madaba : I only spent an hour there to visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. It was erected in 1800 and the paintings on the walls are really beautiful. An office was in progress so I could not fully enjoy the place.
   • The Mont-Nebo : The basilica of the Mausoleum of Moses is erected on a hill of 817m (2680ft). An office was underway in the basilica which is also a museum. I was especially impressed by the panoramic view from the top of this hill.
   • The Dead Sea : Even having viewed the extent of the Dead Sea on Google Map, I did not expect such a huge place. In front, the hills of Israel seem so far away. I could only soak part of the legs because the salt present eats away the skin quite easily and I was able to realize it … The color of the bottom looks like marble in some places but it is the mixture of salt and sand that gives this marbled appearance. I picked up a white pebble and finally it was just agglomerated salt. People are covered in black mud, beneficial for the skin. On the other hand, signs remind us of the dangers of bathing in the Dead Sea.
Historical part
Jordan, in long formulation the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is a constitutional monarchy. It consists mainly of an arid desert plateau in the east, and a mountainous region in the west.
Many civilizations and kingdoms succeeded each other on Jordanian soil, straddling the fertile crescent and the Arabian desert. Some historical peoples have established their capitals as the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Moabites. Other civilizations also dominated this region, such as the Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, as well as Pharaonic Egypt or the Hasmonean Jewish dynasty Maccabees. The best-known civilization in Jordan was probably the Nabataean civilization which left there rich archaeological vestiges like Petra. The Arabic alphabet seems to have been born in Petra. Other civilizations also reigned in Jordan such as Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. By the VIIth century, the region was culturally Muslim and Arab, with the exception of a brief period of dominance by the Crusaders and under the British Mandate.
During the First World War, the British conquered a strip of territory over the Ottoman Empire. In 1920, at the San Remo Conference and in the British Mandate for Palestine in 1922, the Allies redefined the boundaries of the region by dividing it into four mandates including that of Mandatory Palestine which includes the territories between the sea Mediterranean and the Syrian Desert, territories today corresponding to Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jordan. The British divide the region into two parts: Palestine west of the Jordan, and the “Hashemite Emirate of Transjordan” to the East.
In 1946, the Emirate acquired total independence and became the “Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan”. In 1949, to mark territorial changes, the kingdom changed its name to become the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan “. After the Six Day War (“preemptive attack” of Israel against its Arab neighbors), the country loses much of its prestige in the eyes of Palestinians who develop “a state in the state”. They are fighting their own fight against Israel. In 1994, the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty was signed, leading to minor changes on the borders and waiting for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. King Hussein died in February 1999. His son, Abdullah II, succeeded him and pursued the political and economic reforms of the country begun in the 1990s, towards more liberalism. In the 2000s, and despite the events affecting the region, the Jordanian government is regularly concerned to stay in peace with its neighbors. The different provinces are “Governorate”. Its economy is mainly based on oil, and also on tourism. Islam is the state religion. According to official estimates, 92% of the inhabitants are Sunni and Christians represent 6% of the population.


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Note:: The photographs, which follow, regroup all my trip and you have more pictures on the page of Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba which deserved more than a few photos.