Trip to Jerash & Ajloun
There will be a trip to Jerash and Ajloun city on Friday 15/July/2016. The trip will include breakfast and lunch.
Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. Ancient Greek inscriptions from the city as well as literary sources from both Iamblichus and the Etymologicum Magnum support that the city was founded by Alexander the Great or his general Perdiccas, who settled aged Macedonian soldiers there (γῆρας – gēras means “old age” in Ancient Greek). This took place during the spring of 331 BC, when Alexander left Egypt, crossed Syria and then went to Mesopotamia. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the “Pompeii of the Middle East or Asia”, referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of preservation (though Jerash was never buried by a volcano). Jerash is considered one of the most important and best preservedRoman cities in the Near East. It was a city of the Decapolis.
Ajloun Castle, also known as Qa’lat ar-Rabad, is a 12th-century Muslim castle situated in northwestern Jordan. It is placed on a hilltop belonging to the Jabal Ajlun (“Mount Ajlun”) district, also known as Jabal ‘Auf after a Bedouin tribe which had captured the area in the 12th century. From its high ground the castle was guarding three wadis which descend towards the Jordan Valley. It was build by the Ayyubids in the 12th century and enlarged by the Mamluks in the 13th. The name ‘Ajlun goes back to a Christian monk who lived on this mountain in the Byzantine Period. The castle stands on the ruins of a monastery, traces of which were discovered during archaeological excavations. The castle has been the nucleus of a settlement which has grown to become the present town of Ajloun. The castle’s developing faubourg led to its second name, Qal’at ar-Rabad, “the castle of the faubourg” or “the castle with the suburbs”. This name still resonates in the surname of a large and reputable Christian family owning most of the agricultural lands in the direct vicinity of the castle until this day, the Al-Rabadis.