GETAWAY TO THE JORDANIAN HOLY LAND
ay 1, Welcome and Assistance by our Stars Sky Travel representative for passport and visa formalities, then transfer to your hotel in Amman for the night.
Day 2, Jerash - Umm Qais
Today, we leave for the North of Jordan to discover its Greco-Roman cities. We start our day with the site of Jerash. The city experienced its golden age in Roman times, when it was known as Gerasa. Today, this site is considered one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden under sand for centuries before being uncovered and restored for 70 years, Jerash is the epitome of extensive and formal Roman municipal planning throughout the Middle East. It is adorned with cobbled, colonnaded streets, immense temples on the crest of the hills, delightful theatres, spacious public squares, baths, fountains and walls pierced by towers and railings. After 2 hours of visit, we take the road to Umm Qais, formerly Gadara.
Site of the famous “miracle of the Pig”, Gadara was renowned at the time as a cultural centre. Several poets and philosophers have lived there, notably Theodore, founder of the school of rhetoric in Rome. A poet even called this city “the new Athens”. Perched on the crest of a splendid hill overlooking the Jordan Valley and Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Gadara is known today as Umm Qais. It is renowned for its huge vaulted terrace and its colonnaded streets as well as the ruins of two theaters and its 4th century basilica.
Lunch at Umm Qais.
After lunch, we can hold an open-air mass in a 4th century basilica with a central tetrahull plan that offers a breathtaking view of Lake Tiberias.
Dinner in a restaurant run by a Christian family in Madaba.
Night at the Saint-John hotel in Madaba, opposite the Saint Jean-Baptiste church.
Day 3, Madaba – Macheront – Kerak – Petra
This morning, we discover the city of Madaba, a biblical site grouping 14 Byzantine churches. We first visit St. George's Church, famous for its 6th century mosaic depicting the oldest map of Palestine and Jerusalem. Then we continue to the Church of St. John the Baptist, the only Catholic church in Jordan, where we can attend a mass.
We then leave for Macheront. On an isolated hill and far from any civilization are the remains of the fortress of Herod Antipas. The latter imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist following the "dance of the seven veils" of Salome. Possibility of organizing a mass in the open air, facing the remains of the castle.
We then take the road to Kerak, a large fortress built by the Crusaders in the 12th century to protect the Kingdom of Jerusalem. After lunch, we visit the castle.
Overnight at hotel in Petra.
Day 4, visit of Petra
After breakfast, we go to Petra, the Pink City. You enter the town through 1 km of narrow gorge lined with 80 m high cliffs! You observe the dazzling colors and formations of the rocks, then continue to the magnificent Treasury (Al-Khazneh) carved into the sandstone rock. You continue to explore this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site. The site is huge and contains hundreds of rock-cut tombs, a Roman amphitheater, temples, a sacrificial altar and a colonnaded street. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant inside the venue.
We spend the afternoon on the site. Possibility of organizing a mass in the Basilica of Petra.
Then, at the end of the day, we return to the hotel.
Dinner and overnight in Petra.
Day 5, Petra – Wadi Rum
Today, we discover the Wadi Rum desert. After 2 hours of driving, we arrive at the village of Rum. From this village, we leave in a 4x4 to reach the south of Wadi Rum, namely the wildest part of the “red desert”.
After a lunch prepared by our chef in the middle of the desert, we begin our meditation session in a setting conducive to inner peace because it evokes lunar landscapes. Possibility of holding an open-air mass. We continue our meditation in our camp, which is located in a very quiet part of Wadi Rum.
Day 6, Wadi Rum – Umm er Rasas – Mount Nebo – Dead Sea
We leave the Wadi Rum desert for the Jordanian northwest. We have lunch en route at a local restaurant. After 5 hours of travel (meal time included), we arrive at Umm er Rasas. This site, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is mentioned in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In Roman times, this place was a military camp. Then, the Byzantines built 17 churches there, the mosaic floors of which remain. The most important mosaic is that of the Saint Stephen church where the names of the most important Christian cities of the ancient Holy Land are inscribed. Added to these religious buildings is a 14-meter tower. During the Byzantine period, stylite monks lived on the top of this tower which was accessible by a removable ladder.
Possibility of organizing a mass at the Saint-Etienne church.
Then, we take the road to Mount Nebo from where Moses was able to contemplate the Promised Land before dying. We therefore appreciate the breathtaking panorama of the Dead Sea, Jericho, the Jordan Valley and the heights of Jerusalem and Amman, and visit the Moses memorial with its Byzantine mosaics.
Possibility of organizing a mass on the site.
Then, we reach the shore of the Dead Sea and its metallic reflections, to admire the sunset (depending on the season).
Dinner and overnight in a hotel on the edge of the Dead Sea.
Day 7, Baptism Site – Amman
This morning we enjoy the Dead Sea by floating in the salty waters or relaxing by the pool. If you wish, you can also benefit from “spa” treatments.
Then, we leave to visit the Bethany site. It is stated in the Bible that
John the Baptist preached and baptized in a place called Bethany beyond the Jordan, a site that several Byzantine and medieval texts, as well as modern archeology, identify as Tell-al-Kharrar and Mount St. Elias (Mar Elias). Extraordinary archaeological discoveries since 1996 have revealed pottery, coins and architectural remains of a Byzantine monastery dating from the 5th century.
Then, we leave for the Amman region and go more specifically to the Christian locality of Fuwhais, to the west of the city. We have lunch in a restaurant then meet the local Christian community.
Possibility of organizing a mass in the Notre-Dame-de-la-Grâce church in Fuwhais.
Dinner and overnight in a hotel in Amman.
Day 8, Amman - France
Breakfast at the hotel then 40-minute transfer to the airport with assistance with departure formalities to France.