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I’ll Take You To The Dead Sea

May 28, 2012

A creative pick-up line one of my fellow students was fed by a Jordanian journalist who thought she was b-e-a-yootiful was, “I’ll take you to the Dead Sea.” It clearly being a place of romance and beauty, I was really looking forward to seeing the famous body of water yesterday.

It did not disappoint. We first stopped in Madaba — a city with a population of about 60,000 located about 30 miles southwest of Amman — known for its mosaics from the Byzantine era. We visited the most famous site of these mosaics, at the 19th century Greek Orthodox St. George’s Church.

St. George’s Church

ST. GEORGE’S

The inside of this church was covered in intricate mosaics representing different biblical stories. Though it was crowded with my fellow Americans, once most of the other students cleared out, it was incredibly peaceful. One thing I have learned to appreciate is the deep history in many of the places I have visited so far. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think the ancientness (is that even a word?) lends a feeling of inherent calm to whomever can be quiet enough to absorb it.

A mosaic in St. George’s.

Another mosaic.

Along with biblical mosaics, St. George’s also has a map of biblical sites from The Nile River in Egypt to Lebanon, all written in Armaic (the language that Jesus spoke). The map was discovered in 1864 and was constructed in 560 AD and contained more than two million pieces before it was badly damaged by an earthquake. One-third of it remains in St. George’s today.

The Dead Sea circa 560 AD.

The language on this map is Armaic, the language that Jesus spoke.

MOUNT NEBO

After the church, we “hiked” up Mount Nebo, a holy place where people from all over the world pilgrimage to. This area in the photo below is where, according to the scriptures, Moses saw the Promise Land (to be honest though, I thought the Jordan side was more impressive).

The land of milk and honey.

THE DEAD SEA

The last stop was the Dead Sea, which has the lowest point on Earth. I heard this water was salty, and that you float on top of it because of that high salt content, but it has to be felt to be believed. After some awkward tipping dog-paddling action, I soon learned to lay back and enjoy the buoyancy.

Across the way, you can see Israel and the West Bank. It was the most relaxing day so far in Jordan. A truly magical place and a wonderful day.

A hazy day standing at the shore of the Dead Sea in Jordan and looking across to Israel.

Bakin’ in some Dead Sea mud.

The sun sets over Jordan and Israel at the Dead Sea.
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