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A weekend…of biblical proportions … Umm Qais and Jerash

The remains of the church in the Basilica Terrace of Umm Qais

The remains of the church in the Basilica Terrace of Umm Qais

Over at IsabellaBroad, Study Abroad 2008: Jordan and the Middle East blog, we learn three important things about Umm Qais:

  1. The geological make up of the startling ruins that mark the spot of the once Hellenistic-Roman city once known as Gadara;
  2. The Jordanian famous hospitality extends even to their taxi drivers; and
  3. Why it’s not a great idea to name a child Isabella in the Arabic culture

Here is just a small snippet from her post “A weekend…of biblical proportions:”

We piled back into the taxi to drive to Umm Qais, which is about as far north in Jordan as you can get. We drove through Irbid, another large city in Jordan and home to Yarmouk University, one of the best schools in the country and the Arab world. Yarmouk is also home to one of UNC’s Arabic language-intensive summer program, the other being in Morocco …

Umm Qais, or Gardara, was one of the great cities of the Decapolis, which holds religious significance for Christians (Gardara is the place where Jesus cast out the Devil from two demons into a herd of pigs). It also provides a beautiful vantage point for Palestinians living in Jordan to look over to their homeland from afar.

Umm Qais is very startling because the ruins are made of black basalt and white limestone. The West Theatre, for instance, is made entirely of black basalt, where the Basilica Terrace, which contains the remains of a church built on top of a row of shops, is both basalt and limestone, and the main street through the city is mostly the white limestone. There is also an excellent viewing platform from where you can clearly see to the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights …

For more of the above, be sure to visit Isabella’s page.

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