The Citadel (Jebel al Qala’a) in Amman on Friday

Today was Friday, the Muslim holy day. IT’s kind of like Sunday in the States, I suppose. A lot of shops are closed. Many people go to the mosque for prayers and a sermon. Most people have time off from work (Friday and Sunday are typical days off here – Saturday is often a workday) and spend time with family. Maybe like Sunday in the States a few decades ago.

Personally, I slept in and then made my way over to the Citadel. It’s not really a fortress (as the name would suggest) but the ruins of a number of important sites including an Umayyad palace and Roman temple and forum. It’s on Jebel Qala’a, which is the tallest hill in Amman at 850 meters above sea level (2788 ft – my phone has a conversion function – cool, eh?). It makes a lot of sense to build here – it’s got great views of the rest of the area and would probably be easy to defend.

I spent a few hours up there just rambling around. There’s rumors of a secret passage down to the ruins of the Roman amphitheater. I didn’t find it. Maybe Noah can help me when we move here in the fall.

I spent a lot of time just sitting in the shadow of one of the huge pillars at the ruined temple to Hercules built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (The guy who Maximus served in the movie Gladiator) circa AD 170. I had a commanding view of Ashrafiyeh – the neighborhood we are most likely to move in to this fall. I sat there and thought. A lot.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but one thing kept running through my thoughts. The fact that God has been at work in this land among so many different kinds of peoples for so long. He was concerned for and loved the Romans who built an imposing edifice to their god Hercules and a forum which is now just a jumble of rocks and boulder.  He loved the Byzantine Christians who built a church here.  He was concerned for the Umayyads who built the palace, worshipped in the mosque, and shopped in what is now just the dusty trace of a souq. He loves the Jordanians and so many others who are living, working, laughing, loving, eating, fighting, dying, sleeping, and everything else in this massive and bustling city. And he loves you and me. Just the same. The the Romans, Byzantines, ancient Arabs, modern Jordanians, you and me. Loves us all, works among us – even when we don’t notice.

I wonder what this city will look like 1800 years from now? 1400? 500? 100?

Will someone sit atop this hill and contemplate what happened in this great city circa 2008? Or over in Ashrafiyeh? Will there be a jumble of ruins? What will the ancient stones say about the people who lived and worked, laughed, loved, ate, fought, died, and slept in this magnificent place around the turn of the 21st century?

Enjoy the pics.

Good night.

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One Response

  1. […] – 230 Hits -The Citadel (Jebel al qala’a) in Amman on Friday (April 18, 2008):  My thoughts when looking out over Amman from the Citadel back in April.  […]

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