2 Days in Jordan: Madaba, Jerash and Ajloun

Flying to Jordan on Royal Jordanian (very nice!)

We arrived in Jordan yesterday afternoon and immediately felt more at home than in Cairo. The visa process was a snap, the passport control lines were short and we had our bags and a rental car pretty quickly. Our hotel in Madaba, a small town not far from the capital, Amman, was easy to find, even when using a map without many street names labeled. Actually, it’s been easy to get around everywhere, since the exits are clearly marked and the roads are well maintained.

Mosaic map of the Holy Land in Madaba

We spent the afternoon exploring Madaba, which is known for its Byzantine mosaics. We visited the Church of St. George to see the mosaic floor map of the Holy Land from the 6th century A.D. (I think), then went to another site nearby to see a collection of very detailed mosaics from other ancient churches and homes, many of which were incredibly large, intact and vibrant.

The mosque in Madaba

We also visited the town mosque — a new pretty building with a gold dome from the outside that’s actually painted a pale pink on the inside. It also had some impressively large chandeliers.

The North Theater, Jerash

Today we headed north to see the Roman ruins at Jerash and the crusades-era castle at Ajloun. Jerash was absolutely amazing — it’s been restored so that many of the main public areas in the town are intact, and there’s plenty to see on the huge site, including triple-arched gates, a hippodrome, two theaters (which they still use for concerts), 8 ruined churches and temples, and impressive oval courtyard surrounded by columns, and a long main road, the cardo, also lined with columns.

Ajloun Castle

After Jerash, we headed west through the mountains to Ajloun, where a castle sits atop a high peak. We explored the vast rooms, saw some great views from the top of the towers and had fun exploring the many hallways, doorways and other areas open to visitors.

See more pictures in Evan’s Facebook Gallery.

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