Our continuing journey through the Holy Lands explores the ancient land now known as Jordan. Sharing a border with Israel, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Jordan is moving into the 21st Century with a 9,000 year old footing in the past.
The stories of Jordan's past cultures are told in the stories they have left behind. Jerash, with it's hundreds of columns, is one of the world's largest ancient Roman Cities.
Rare Terra Cotta Coffins, part of the exhibits at Amman's Archeological Museum, are a fascinating, but little-known, detail of history.
Today's Bedouin women practice the same lifestyle their ancestors have for over 1,800 years. In this closely knit community, customs and traditions have endured.
No tour of the Holy Lands is complete without experiencing this land of Jordan. It holds an amazing array of stories and surprises.
At Pella, we explore one of the most important archeological sites in the northern region, continuously inhabited for over 6,000 years, Umm Quis, known in antiquity as Gadara, where legend says that Jesus visited, and Ajlun Castle, an outstanding example of 12th-century Arab/Islamic military architecture, the base for Muslim leader Saladin in his successful campaign to drive the Crusaders from Jordan in 1189.
In Jordan's capital city of Amman (ancient Philadelphia), we view the city with its mosques, markets, Roman Theater, Temple of Hercules and Cave of the Seven Sleepers.
In Eastern Jordan, we'll find the desert castles of Qasr Amra, with its ancient baths and fantastic frescoes depicting animals and hunting scenes, Qasr Kharanah, a fortress-like structure, built in the form of a castle (experts maintain that it was really a palace in disguise), and Asraq, a Roman/Medieval Islamic fort where T.E. Lawrence made his base during the Arab revolt of 1917.
The ancient city of Madaba with its Greek Orthodox Church of St. George contains the famous floor mosaic of the earliest map of the Holy Land.
At Umm Er Rasas, archeologists have unearthed the Church of St. Stephen, whose remarkable mosaic floor is decorated with Jordanian, Palestinian and Egyptian city plans.
Mt. Nebo, overlooking the Jordan valley, is said to be the place where Moses died. We visit the ruins of a 4th-Century church with its exquisite mosaics.
Mukawir (ancient Machaerus) is the fortress built by Herod the Great. Here Herod imprisoned John the Baptist and rewarded Salome's dance with John the Baptist's head.
The possible sites of Sodom and Gomorrah are overlooked by the Sanctuary of Lot (an early Christian monastery/church built next to a cave used as a burial site).
We'll visit Kerak and Sobek, two great mountaintop 12th-Century Crusader castles, both erected at strategic points and forming a great line with other Crusader castles that stretch from Aqaba to Turkey.
We'll also see Petra, the ancient Nabetean city with hundreds of structures carved out of the rose-red sandstone in an immense fissure over 2,000 years ago. We meet the Bedouins who live there, have breakfast with them in a cave, and attend a Bedouin wedding.
In Wadi Rum, where Lawrence of Arabia once rode, we meet the desert police who patrol on camels, and have coffee with Bedouins.
Tour Aqaba with its Marine Science Station and beaches, then cross over to Isr'l's port city of Eilat for night life.
Visit Timna Park with its King Solomon's Pillars, the Red Canyon and rare rock formations, some with markings from ancient travelers on the Spice Route.
In the Negev Desert, we'll visit an alpaca and llama farm, and a remarkable woman who has created succor in the desert - where space, purity and silence brings spiritual cleansing to visitors.
In Jerusalem, we relive the story of the destruction of Solomon's 2nd temple on Mt. Moriah in 70 A.D., explore an underground tunnel along the Wailing Wall and visit the Four Sephardi Synagogue to meet a rabbi.
At the Druze village of Beit Jann, the highest village in Israel, the Druze culture has not changed much in 1,000 years. Men clad in turbans and white flowing robes still walk the village streets. Now esteemed as warriors in the Israeli Army, the Druze people have lived here since the 11th century.
We'll cross back into Jordan to see agriculture, Amman's night life, and travel down the Jordan Valley to Ma'in, a natural spa built close to an ancient palace.