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Thursday 26 November |
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

Peter walked here? Everyone walked here! Umm Qais and the ruins of Gadara

J-P Mauro

The Daily Catch - published on 10/09/16

The image above is taken from the Greco-Roman ruin of Gadara in the Jordan town of Umm Qais (pronounced oomkise), which was a trade city back in the biblical days. The valley pictured there is not Jordan however, that is Israel, and just to the right, beyond the mountains, is Syria.

Gadara, of course, is where Jesus landed after crossing the Galilee; think Matthew 8:28:

When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes,* two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.

Off the evil spirits went, into the herd of swine.

Umm Qais is about 2 hours outside of Amman and the elevation makes your ears feel like they’re about to pop, which makes this peaceful mountain ruin even quieter and more serene. Walking the long corridors to get to the main trading area it was hard not to feel chills as we learned that Peter most definitely went through this area as he began his mission after the Ascension of Christ.

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J-P Mauro

As we came to the center of the skeleton city, and the view was astounding. Ancient pillars remained of what used to be a temple. A little ways down the hill there were workers leisurely hammering at rocks to make bricks that will be used to restore some sections of crumbling structures in attempt to preserve this beautiful area.

web-umm-qais-ruin-temple-david-bjorgen-cc
David Bjorgen - CC

Then there was the road. A long and impressively paved road that was the main vein for commerce to the small trade city. The tracks made by ancient vehicles can still be seen indenting the brick. The coolest part about it was that any biblical figure who traveled to this site most certainly used this road. However, I can’t imagine walking this terrain in sandals.

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J-P Mauro

My favorite part was looking out to the Sea of Galilee, aka Lake Tiberias, and even seeing the Israeli city of Tiberias off in the distance. All of my notions about distances and biblical lands have been drastically altered thanks to this trip. The Middle East is a very large place, but everything is still very close together. As the lead photo shows: you stand in Jordan, see Israel in the valley, and Syria beyond the mountains. Stunning.

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J-P Mauro

Here we have a row of stalls that would have held merchant’s wares and must have bustled with thriving business. It is very similar to the way shops work in Amman. Even today when you walk the streets the stores are mostly open shops with no front door; instead the shops are so packed with merchandise that it spills out to the sidewalk. I could just imagine the merchants calling out and haggling with the hundreds that would visit the city to shop on a daily basis.

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J-P Mauro

And here a more intact stall.

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J-P Mauro

I’ll be back with more pictures soon. Hope you enjoy!

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