Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Siteseeing: Umm ar-Rasas and Mukawir

Our fabulous CLOs organized a day trip to Umm ar-Rasas and Mukawir yesterday.

It was a beautiful day: blue skies, cool temperatures... as opposed to today, when is is raining, icing and snowing all at once outside.

Our first stop was Umm ar-Rasas, which is now officially my favorite ancient Roman ruin in all of Jordan: better than Jerash, better than Umm Qais.

It's only partially excavated, but the exposed pieces are so fascinating. You can peer right into the ruins of a Roman house. And a Roman church. And even a Roman well, which is rather deep and not blocked off in any way. Scary. The kids kept finding bones all over the site, which added to the mystery. The guide suggested that we stick to the paths rather than risk falling in some partially excavated ruin, but the kids, being fearless, clambered atop everything. I was worried, actually, that my son might accidentally destroy an ancient Roman arch, but in the end, we left the place pretty much intact. At least, it wasn't any less of a ruin after our trip.

We only brought Aidan, as Shay has been sick and we weren't sure the girls would be up for the hiking. He had a blast running around exploring with his friends.

(This place is really, really old. Well, except for the sign. I'd guess that it's relatively new.)

Next, we hopped back on the bus and headed to Mukawir, which is known as the site where Salome danced her dance and convinced Herod to bring her John the Baptist's head on a platter.

It has a spooky past, but an incredible present. It is high, high, high atop a mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, and you can see the hills of Jerusalem far below in the distance. Truly amazing.

(There it is, on top of that mountain. And yes, you have to hike up to the top, but it isn't so bad.)
(With the zoom lens...)

(No, I am not that short. But the hill is that steep. Mukawir is back there to the left. And the Dead Sea is waaaaay down there, behind us.)

(The view from the top of the mountain...)

(Hello, Friend-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, behind us in the picture. You're famous now, in a bloggy sort of way. That'll teach you to make silly faces.)

(Phew. He's gone. Quick, take another picture before he comes back...)

(Looking back up at the road we drove in on... told you it was steep.)


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