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Impressions of Jordan

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In some way, Jordan is a travel destination 'Arabia light': a well organised country, with good roads, a high level of comfort and safety, and yet an experience of plain authenticity, sustained by a mixed population of Bedouins and Palestinians, whose ancestors had massively fled here after the foundation of Israel in 1948 and the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973.

Things have actually never been very easy here in Jordan. Moses never got any further than Mount Nebo on his way to the Promised Land; and after Biblical times, the area which is now Jordan has more often found than not found itself between a rock and a hard place: caught between Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Empire in Antiquity until the Romans turned up and took it all, caught between the Byzantines and the Persian Sassanid Empire afterwards, caught between the Crusaders and the forces of Saladin and the Mamluks after him.  

The bright side of the coin is that all these stages of a turbulent history and struggle for control also offer an unmeasurable wealth of fascinating sites to explore in our days. Not only Petra is a place of unequalled fascination, so are for instance also the Roman-Hellenistic city of Jerash and the Crusader fortress of Kerak. Make the Jordanian experience complete and let your imagination run to distinguish, in the hazy distance, the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, with his waving Bedouin headdress, descending from behind a tall granite cliff and galloping into the desert valley of enigmatic Wadi Rum.  

* Scanned Slides, 1992

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