The King's Highway
Trip Start Apr 05, 2012
10Trip End Apr 15, 2012
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Where I stayed
Rocky Mountain Hotel - Petra
Ahmed was my driver to the deser castles and he is driving myself and another girl to Petra today. It's great because he speaks good English so he's able to explain may things to us, he's trustworthy so I know he wouldn't take off without us, and I'm happy knowing that all of our money goes direct to him instead of a middle man.
My first stop today was back at Madaba since the first time I went it was occupied for Sunday church. . Madaba is a 4,500 year old city was once one of the towns divided among the 12 tribes of Israel at the time of Exodus. Also St. George's church in Madaba houses a mosaic map that has survived willful distraction, fire, and neglect. This map was crafted in 560 AD and has 157 ancient greek captions depicting all major biblical sites of the Middle East. I'm definitely happy I didn't miss this experience.
Our next stop was Wadi Mujib which is known as the "Grand Canyon of Jordan". The canyon measures 1km deep and 4km wide. We stopped quickly to take some photos an we're on our way again.
Next we drove around an hour to Karak which is mentioned in the bible as Kir, Kir Moab, and Kir Heres, capital of the Moabites. Karak is the home of Karak Castle which was built after Crusader king Baldwin I of Jerusalem built the castle in 1142 AD. The castle has many bedrooms, stalls for shops, jail cells, and random rooms to explore. I read in my travel book to bring a flash light to see down into dark room. We had around an hour to look around the castle which was more than enough time.
I met my driver back at a restaurant. I wasn't hungry so while the other girl ate I walked around town to see daily life in Karak. There were many shops selling clothing for men, full covering clothing for women, and fruit. I saw one bakery man making bread with meat inside. He gave me one and it was delicious. My driver said its seipha (completely spelled phonetically) which is sheep meat and bread. Just like a kebab. Even though I wasn't hungry it was delicious.
From Karat we drove to Dana for beautiful views of the National Reserve. This reserve is the largest in Jordan. Dana has over 100 archeological sites which most are still being excavated. There's also a copper mines that date back over 6,000 years when they were the largest metals melting operations in the Near East. The Romans later worked the mines using Christians as slaves. About 50 Bedouin families remain inside the reserve. You are able to hike around Dana Reserve. However since we're on our way to Petra we figured we'd save our strength.
Our last stop was at Shobak castle. This castle was built by the Crusader king Baldwin I in 1115 AD. This castle is quite large but is in the process of being rebuilt. This castle is beautiful even in its rubble. There's an extensive secret passageway that leads down to town. There's also two churches in this castle.
After 30 minutes we arrived at Wadi Musa (meaning: Valley of Moses) which is village outside of Petra.
My travel book has this explanation: Ain Musa is one of two possible locations in Jordan for the site where Moses struck the rock with his staff and water gushed forth to the thirsty Israelites (the other site is Mount Nebo) Numbers 20:11.
Tonight my plan is to get my walking shoes on and head to Petra by night. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday local Bedouins line the walkway entering into Petra with candles and play music for tourists. I've heard that it should be interesting so I'm excited.