East of the Jordan, towards the sunrise: 9-day pilgrimage tour

Nowadays the part of the Holy Land east of the Jordan River is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is blessed with the rich spiritual heritage of the history of salvation as recorded in the Bible. Abraham, Moses, Naomi and Ruth, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and Paul. They all performed pivotal elements of their ordained mission in the ancient landscape east of the Jordan. This is why increasing numbers of religious pilgrims today begin their own journey of faith in Jordan. For in so doing they can retrace the entire saga of God’s revelation to mankind and the development of the Abrahamic faiths.

 

Day 1  Flight to Amman and transfer to your hotel. The region around Jordan’s capital was known as the Ammonite kingdom.

 

Day 2  Today you will travel through the north of Jordan, once known as the land of Gilead. You will visit Jerash, known in the Bible as the region of the Gerasenes. It was part of the Roman Decapolis and is sometimes referred to as the Pompei of the East. You will also visit Umm Qais and enjoy the impressive view over the See of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Umm Qais was also part of the Decapolis and was once called Gadara. It is associated with Jesus’ miracle of sending two demons into a herd of swines. After a traditional mezze lunch at the guesthouse, your journey will continue to the Jordan Valley. You will visit Tabaqat Fahl, Decapolis city Pella, to which early Christians fled from Jerusalem to escape the Jewish Revolt in AD 66-70 and Roman persecution in the earliest Christian centuries. The following stop will be “Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing”, and where he also baptized Jesus Christ. You will have dinner in Madaba and stay there overnight.

 

Day 3  Today is Sunday. Since the population of Madaba is predominantly Christian, you will have the opportunity to attend church. Madaba, biblical Medeba, was part of the ancient kingdom of Moab and is famous for its Byzantine mosaics.

 

Day 4  Today you will travel through the land of Moab and Edom, along the six thousand years old King’s Highway. You will first visit the orthodox church of Saint George in Madaba and see the sixth century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The next stop will be at Mount Nebo, from where Moses, “the servant of the Lord” and “the friend of God” overlooked the Holy Land. If the sky is clear Jerusalem, Jericho and Bethlehem will meet your eye. You will continue to Machaerus, biblical Mukawir, the hilltop stronghold of Herod the Great. It was at Mukawir where Herod Antipas ordered the beheading of John the Baptist to please Salome. In Umm ar-Rasas, which is mentioned in the Bible as Mephaath, you will visit the church of St. Stephen, which contains Jordan’s largest mosaic floor featuring the fifteen major cities of the Holy Land. And the highest standing ancient tower of Jordan, which today still puzzles specialists because it does not have a door or inner staircase. It is believed to have been home to a pillar saint.

The journey towards Karak takes you through Wadi Mujib, the grand canyon of Jordan. In Karak, biblical Kir Har’eseth, you will spend the night.

 

Day 5  In the morning there will be a visit to the castle of Karak, where Saladin and Richard Lionheart fought during the crusades. You will continue along the King’s Highway, passing several ravines. In the restored medieval village of Dana lunch is served at the guesthouse, which offers an excellent view of the Dana Nature Reserve. In the afternoon you will visit the castle of Shobak. During the crusades period it was known as Mons Realis, since it was the first castle established by the

kingdom of Jerusalem at the other side of the river Jordan. Late in the afternoon you arrive in Petra for dinner and overnight stay.

 

Day 6  In the morning a local guide will escort you into Petra and show you the highlights of the Nabatean city. King Aretas, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:32 was a Nabatean King. You will enter the city through the Siq, the narrow gorge and be rewarded with the most astonishing and dramatic monument in Jordan: the Treasury. Next there is a visit to the theatre, the tombs and façades and the colonnaded street. In the afternoon you may wander around in Petra and explore the area for yourself. Perhaps you would like to visit Mousa Spring, where Moses struck the rock and brought forth water. In the evening we will prepare you a candlelight dinner in Little Petra.

Day 7  On your way to Wadi Rum you will pass the famous seven pillars of wisdom, described by Lawrence of Arabia. You will explore Wadi Rum by jeep, escorted by a Bedouin guide. We will show you Lawrence of Arabia’s house and the inscriptions made by Thamudics and Nabateans centuries ago. And you may climb one of the natural rock bridges. After lunch at the visitor’s centre you will continue to Aqaba, where you can spend the afternoon and evening according to your own wishes. Suggestions: relax and spend time on the sandy beaches, go diving or snorkelling, take a trip on a glass boat and enjoy the beautiful coral reefs.

 

Day 8  Travelling through the wonderful Wadi Araba, the desert landscape above Aqaba, you will visit Wadi Numeira and see the Sanctuary of Lot. Lot and his family took refuge there when the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were being destroyed. It’s a natural cave with a spring, overlooking the Dead Sea, which you will visit next. The Dead Sea, known in the Bible as “the Sea of Arabah” or “the Salt Sea”, is one of the most dramatic places on earth. Its stunning natural environment is matched by its powerful spiritual symbolism. You can spend the evening in Amman according to your own wishes.

 

Day 9  You will be transferred to the airport and fly back home.

Desert paramours Trek and Travel, Petra - Jordan

Wadi Mousa - Tourist St. P.O.Box: 143, Zip: 718111, Tel: 00962 777 282 730, Fax: 00962 3 2155 955, E-mail: info@desertparamours.com, www.desertparamours.com