Pictures from Jordan

Biblical and Historic Treasures in the Kingdom of Jordan

A Pilgrimage to Jordan

Led by:

The Rev. Steve Wilson
Grace Episcopal Church
Carthage, MO

February 28 - March 8, 2008

Trip map

DAY 1, Thursday, February 28, - Depart the U.S. from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for our overseas flights.   Dinner on board the aircraft. D

DAY 2: Friday, February 29, 2008 - We arrive in Amman this afternoon and meet our driver and guide and board our motor coach for the drive south down the Desert Highway to Red Rose City of Petra.  Overnight Petra. BLD

DAY 3: Saturday, March 1, 2008 - A day to explore the Red Rose City of Petra which some historians equate with Sela, a town in which the Israelites had a famous victory over the local Edomites.  We will have the choice to walk to the site or to take a carriage ride through the dramatic “siq” or canyon.  We will see the Treasury, carved in pink stone, and continue past the Roman Theatre, the Corinthian Tomb and Palace Tomb.  As we continue we see the theatre, the Roman Soldier Tomb, the Columbarium and much more as we make our way to the High Place of Sacrifice located at the top of Jabal Mount.   The High Place of Sacrifice is considered to be the oldest major cultic facility in Petra.  We visit the museum and, for those who take the 60 minute walk to the Monastery, they will be rewarded with the best sites in Petra.  Dinner and overnight Petra. BLD

DAY 4: Sunday, March 2, 2008 - Today we will visit Wadi Rum (Wadi means valley).  This valley is spectacular with an expanse of pink sandy desert and a whole network of wadis which you will recognize from the best known scenes in Lawrence of Arabia.  There will be a chance to see some of the wildlife that still inhabits this strange terrain and to see the village of Wadi Rum, Jabal Burdah, and Jabal Kharaz.  We will go to the Visitor’s Center where we will pick up our 4 wheel drive vehicles and tour more of this beautiful landscape.  We will return to Petra for dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 5: Monday, March 3, 2008 - We depart Petra and drive north along the Kings Highway mentioned both in Genesis and Exodus at the routes of Abraham and Moses.  We will visit Karak’s impressive Crusader Castle with its many dark passages, deep holes and sheer drops.  The remains of the castle date mainly from Mamluke times and it has been used and rebuilt for so long that it is difficult for archaeologists to determine exactly which period the various parts of the castle are from.  We will visit Umm ar Rasas, a walled town which was probably built during the Roman period and which Muhammed visited as a merchant.  There are 2 churches here that are floored with 6th century mosaics that show fruit trees, animals, and geometric patterns.  We will continue to Mukawir, mentioned in the Josephus’ histories as the very place where Salome danced in exchange for the head of John the Baptist.  The fortress palace here is that of Herod the Great which dates to 30 BC and which was later used by the same rebels who held out in Masada across the Dead Sea.  We will continue to Madaba for dinner and our overnight. BLD

DAY 6: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 - We begin with our exploration of Madaba where we will see the remains of the mosaic map of the Middle East and Jerusalem.  The Madaba Mosaic Map is a unique piece of art from the 6th century AD which decorates the pavement of a church.  At that time Madaba was part of the so called Provincia Arabia, and was inhabited by Aramaic speaking Christians who were descendants of the ancient biblical people of the Moabites.  The mosaic was discovered accidentally about one hundred years ago (in 1897) while constructing a new church for the Greek-Orthodox Arab community, which was then settling on the very ruins of the ancient town of Madaba.  We will visit Madaba Museum, site of many other lovely mosaics before we continue to the Hammamat Ma’in hot springs where pilgrims of long ago ended their journeys with a bath.  We will visit Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land and we can see the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Judean Hills beyond (with luck and low precipitation, we may even recognize the spires of Jerusalem). We return to Madaba. BLD

DAY 7: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - This morning we will drive to Ajlun Castle, perched on a high peak some 20 minutes drive west of Jerash, in whose province Jesus drove the demon legion into the “Gerasene swine”.  Visible from all directions, the castle was originally built in 1184 by a cousin of the great Arab leader Salahdin and was used as a base in his successful campaign to drive the Crusaders from Jordan.  We will visit Jerash, a close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan.  The ancient city boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years and fantastic ruins from the Christian era.  We will visit Pella, magnificently set in a fold of the hills that rise from the Jordan Valley 78 km north of Amman.  Pella, known in Arabic as Tabaqat Fahl, is one of the most ancient sites in Jordan and a favorite of archaeologists because it is so exceptionally rich in antiquities.  This evocative site is where the early Church leaders established themselves after being driven out of Jerusalem.  Driving through the Jordan River Valley, we will return to Madaba for our overnight. BLD

DAY 8: Thursday, March 6, 2008 - We will drive into Amman, where David had Uriah , the Hittite, killed in a siege of the Citadel.  Here we will see the excavated ruins of previous Roman, Byzantine and Islamic civilizations. We will continue to Wadi as-Sir, one of the beautiful valleys found in Jordan and home to a ruined castle of the Tobia family who gave Ezra and Nehemiah such trouble.  We will also visit Dayr Alla where we will see dramatic archaeological excavations that reveal a continuous human habitation from 1600 to 400 BC.  It is at Dayr Alla that Jacob wrestled with the angel and also where pagan inscriptions were found which mention Balaam the prophet, mentioned in the Exodus story as the fellow whose donkey chastised him.  We will have dinner and overnight in Madaba. BD

DAY 9: Friday, March 7, 2008 - We travel to Salt which has attracted settlers since the Iron Age at least. Tightly built on a cluster of three hills, Salt is a lovely, sleepy town which gives us the word “sultanas,” from the famous local raisins.  There is a small museum and a handicraft school where you can admire the traditional skills of making ceramics, weaving, silk-screen printing and dyeing.  We will see the Latin Monastery, the Abu Jaber mansion and the many other sites of the city.  We will also visit the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf which is supported by both our congregations and is the only school in the region in which education for the deaf is occurring with both Christian and Muslim students.  We continue to the site where archaeological evidence is mounting that John baptized Jesus on the eastern side of the Jordan River at Bethany Beyond the Jordan.  We will renew our Baptismal vows here before returning to Madaba for dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 10: Saturday, March 8, 2008 - We drive to the Amman airport for our nonstop flight back into Chicago.  Breakfast at the hotel and lunch on the aircraft. BD

Price: $2,099.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from Chicago, IL on Royal Jordanian Airlines.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement costs available on request.

Final Payment due November 28, 2007

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Before November 27, 2007: $100 per person.
◊ Between November 28, 2007 – January 27, 2008: $200 per person.
◊ After January 28, 2008: NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.

Note that Jordan is a physically demanding destination. Good shoes and some preparing for the trip on the stair master are invaluable aids to a healthy and happy pilgrimage.