Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus

from Jerusalem to Amman (Day 1)


29 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem
By Adam Dupré, SDB

On the morning of March 29 at 6:30am, the students of the STS gathered outside to board a bus that would take them to the Jordanian border. The bus departed shortly after 06:45am and the trip to the border was about two hours. On reaching the border, the students disembark the bus to begin the border crossing process to exit Israel and enter into Jordan.

Once in Jordan, and on two buses, the students were introduced to their two guides, Mohammed and Ali, as well as their Tourism Police Officer, Adonis, who would be there to help guide them through the country of Jordan.

The first stop was at the ancient city of Pella which was part of the famous Decapolis, a series of 10 cities that were close to one another in language and culture in an otherwise Semitic area on the Eastern edge of the Roman Empire. Pella had been continually occupied since Neolithic times until an earthquake destroyed the city in 750 AD. Christians from Jerusalem took shelter in Pella before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The students and staff of the STS listened to the guides explain the Greek, Roman and Byzantine histories of the city. They then walked about the city ruins and took photos.

The next stop was to another city of the Decapolis, Umm Qais. This place was quite beautiful: it is one of Jordan’s most dramatic antiquities sites. The name of this city was originally called, “Garda” which means “fortification”. In the middle ages the name in Arabic became “Umm Qais” which means “frontier station”.

The next visit of the day was to Jerash, also part of the Decapolis. Jerash is considered to be one of the most important and best-preserved Roman cities in the Near East. According to recent excavations, Jerash had been occupied during the Bronze Age.

After completing an afternoon of adventure and learning, the STS students and staff went to Amman, the capital of Jordan, where their hotel was located. After finding their rooms the STS group met for Mass in a conference room. Shortly after, they had dinner and then retired for the evening.



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