Aqaba

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Jordan, Aqaba, October 2018

It is an immense city. I roamed in streets after the high angle dives and the lunch (taken at about 3pm). I have again worked a lot in the city, trying to go out zones filled with tourists. I was surprised by the number of mosques. The night, some are enlightened with green spotlights, it gives a magnificent aspect to minarets. The call to prayer the morning, at 5am, is a little bit disconcerting but we make very fast there.
I saw again what is also made in Tunisia, for example. You have the street of the traders of cover, accessories cars. If you need something, you do not need, as in France, to run(roam) in different places. Everything is comparable in some steps.
Jordan is also a disconcerting country. In the street you can meet Jordanian women dressed as a European without a Cheador, others wearing the Cheador (some even female with makeup, heel, etc.), and finally some wearing the burka, the complete veil. On the beaches, all these women were cotton and this was a great surprise. Likewise, some men wear the “qami” and the “keffieh” (the cuff).
The beaches along the Red Sea after Aqaba Harbour are well laid out with rollers, some even have tables to eat, see a barbecue corner. On Fridays and Saturdays, the beaches are full, until late in the evening. As a reminder, weekends are Friday and Saturday.
In the end, I really enjoyed this city. The people there are very friendly. I had a lot of discussions with the servers of my favourite restaurant, some of them from Egypt. I tried to understand their currency as well, but it was incomprehensible to me when it came to paying…. Thank you Farid (my diving DM) for introducing me to the Eastern Baking Store, away from the tourist area. A very nice evening with a few extra kilos on the way out…
The town
Aqaba or Akaba occupies a strategic position for Jordan because it is the only port of the country. Aqaba is the site of a populating lived since 4000 av. J.-C., in particular because of his strategic position in the crossroads of the commercial roads between Asia, Africa and Europe. Under the dynasty of Ptolémées, the Greeks call the city Berenice, then Romain Aila and Aelena. Under Romain, Via Nova Traiana which went from Damascus to Amman went on until Aqaba, where she joined the road which went from Egypt to Palestine. In the XIIth century, the Crusaders occupy the city and build the fortress of Helim. The Mamelukes take the city in 1250. At the beginning of the XVIth century, the dynasty Mameluke and the region are under Ottoman influence. Under the Ottomans, the importance of the city declined: Aqaba became a mere fishing village. During the First World War, Ottoman forces were forced to withdraw from the city in 1917 after a raid by Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab forces of Hussein bin Ali.
In 1965, King Hussein of Jordan expanded the territory around Aqaba. In exchange for 2316sq mi (6,000km2) in central Jordan, Saudi Arabia gives 7.45mi (12km) of coastline south of Aqaba. In addition to extending the port, this exchange also gives Jordan access to the beautiful coral of Yamania.
Nowadays, the city is a sea resort and a centre of dive. In September, 2017 is thrown the Sahara Forest Project, near Aqaba, who aims at transforming desert lands into arable land. The project wishes to end in a production of 130 tons of biological vegetables a year, 10.000 liters of drinking water from sea water, and is going to use photovoltaic panels for the solar power production. A station of desalination and a pond for the production of salt will be built. The project, of a 750 million euro cost ($ 849 million), is supported by Norway and the European Union.
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