Travelogue Jordan 2011
Madaba to Karak

In the next morning we started our trip to the south of Jordan, always following King’s Road. We reserved the visit of Madaba itself for our way back.

First we headed towards Dhiban, left King’s Road for a while to visit Lahun (great view into Wadi Mujib and some ruins of a fort) and then the ruins of Um er-Rasas, where one can find some of the best mosaics of Jordan. By the way: "Wadi" means canyon, valley or gorge.

Um er-Rasas is the first place where neither navigation system nor our map can help us. But good road signs (special brown signs for tourist sites) and some very friendly Jordanians help us to get there.

First impressions of a country where every drop of rain has to be used for agriculture.
Jordanien: Wadi Mujib
First glance into Wadi Mujib, the „Grand Canyon“ of Jordan
Jordanien: Um er-Rasas
The ruins of Um er-Rasas. Hardly a stone left on the other.

Speaking of mosaics: for many people the mosaics of Jordan are a significant reason for coming here. Throughout the country there are huge and beautiful mosaics to admire. Unfortunately many of them were destroyed by iconoclasts or to be more exact they were "pixilated" by the owners themselves to avoid visits of the iconoclasts. Pictures of animals and humans, especially faces have been made unrecognizable. According to Wikipedia this happened after an edict of caliph Yazid II around 722-723. But I also heard that Muslims were not involved into the iconoclasm at all. If one of you is an expert for this or knows a good source please leave a comment below.

Jordanien: Um er-Rasas
A part of the famous mosaic of St. Stephan’s Church in Um er-Rasas. On the right the original, unharmed pictures of cities, on the left pixilated pictures of fishermen and aquatic animals.

Back to King’s Road and following it down into Wadi Mujib.

Jordanien: Wadi Muib
Wadi Mujib – in the background the dammed lake

Meanwhile we were starving for an Arabian coffee. In our guide book they mentioned a tourist restaurant on the other side of the Wadi. Not exactly what we were hoping for but our need for caffeine was stronger than our dislike of tourist restaurants. So after crossing the dam we stopped at the first sign promising coffee and it turned out that this was not the mentioned tourist café but a very charming alternative:

Our host called himself "Crazy Sammy" and he had constructed his small café next to the abyss.

Jordanien: Wadi Mujib
tent-café next to the abyss
Jordanien: Wadi Mujib
Even with a toilette, also next to the abyss. If you don’t close the curtain (the only one watching you will be the abyss itself) you will enjoy the best view into Wadi Mujib during this contemplative activity.

From here further south to Karak were we spent the night in a hotel next to the famous crusaders’ castle.

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© Volker Umpfenbach

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