16 November 2009

Lut's Cave

According to the various versions of the legend, angels came to warn Lut and his family that Allah planned to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. They told him he should escape the city under cover of darkness and "run for the hills". They were also warned not to look back when they heard the fires falling on the city. Lut's wife couldn't bear it and looked back. She was instantly turned to a pillar of salt. She stands there until today looking back at her beloved home... She is a bit far from the cave and we didn't make it over there, so no pictures of her. Maybe later we can make our way over to see her.

The area has been under continuous excavation since 1988, yielding evidence of Early/Middle Bronze Age habitation as well as Nabatean pottery, Byzantine mosaics, and the earliest example of carved wood ever discovered intact in Jordan. It is a door that dates from the 7th century Umayyad period.

We climbed 294 steps up to the cave. Believe me when I tell you that was one hell of a climb!! Enjoy the pictures!

Somehow I managed to post this picture twice, and now that the blog has it he refuses to let me delete the duplicate.

The view toward Palestine. The green fields you see in the foreground were covered by the Dead Sea as few as 30 years ago. This shows how fast the Dead Sea is being lost. Most of the water that replenishes the sea is taken out of Jordan River by the Jews before it reaches the valley. Because of this overuse, the Dead Sea is disappearing at a rate of about 1 meter per year.

Bathing pools used by Lut and his clan. In those days the Jordan valley was even more lush and green than it is now.

From inside the cave

Entrance to the cave

This court has partially slipped down the hill, but it originally supported a church. The bishop's seat is raised a bit above the others. A shelter is planned for this area. When it is complete the five mosaics will be uncovered. Two of them have been dated to April 606 and May 691. I will definitely be back to see those when they are revealed again!

I think I look good in the Bishop's seat...what do you think?

Ayoub and Me

Zeek and me

Zeek and me. I was caught a bit off-guard I reckon.

Court area as seen from the Bishop's seat

Jordan Valley

Lut's Cave Museum. Not yet open, despite what you may have read in Jordan Times...

Making our way back down the stairs

Wow! 294 steps...

Lut's Museum

I did it, and lived to tell about it!!!!!!!

Finishing up the steps

Lut's Museum

A Greek text carved into stone. I didn't translate it yet, so go ahead and do it for me please...

The Keeper/Guide's shelter

That's one hell of a climb!!!

Dead Sea; these pictures were made on a brief stop on the way south to Lut's place.

That's Palestine on the other side of the sea

Palestine - A place I dream of seeing!

Palestine; even more history to see and touch...

It was a grand day trip! It's amazing to live in a place where I can visit sites thousands of years old with only a short car drive! The history here keeps me so busy looking round at everything! It's amazing to me, to think as I walk along that others so well known to us even until today walked, ate, slept in this same spot thousands of years ago. The Cradle of Civilization; I hope to live long enough to see every corner of it!

02 November 2009

Beirut - 26 Years Later; 1000 Times Better

Beirut airport

A group of Irani tourists. Several of them RAN to me and asked to have their pictures made with me. A woman talked a mile a minute to me, smiling hugely, but since she speaks Farsi, none of us had a clue what she was saying...

Is this Abozaky near the altar...???

Ayoub is wondering what the hell he is doing here...

Am I the only one coming to Mass today?

Coming down from the tower after visiting the Virgin

Jim and Abozaky at the top

Abozaky contemplating the view


Notre Dame du Lebanon
Our Lady of Lebanon

What a view of the piazza!!!

And who are these lovely people???

This is as close as I can get to Our Lady

Jim and Ayoub coming down from the top


View from the piazza

Abozaky and Ayoub

Just off the cable car; this is the first sight of Our Lady

Abozaky and Jim in the cable car to go up the mountain

A tiny grotto filled with Koi at our hotel

May the Bird of Paradise fly up your nose...
How many of you remember this song???

Ahhhhh, nothing like a argilla after a long day of touring!

Mine was melon...

My glasses were so dirty it was like trying to look through a pair of stove lids!!

The Old Man
Jounieh Caves outside Beirut

A young man and two old men...

My what big feet you have sir... is it true what they say...?

This is an amazing statue!

La Pieta in a tiny grotto at the Basilica of Notre Dame du Lebanon

This is one HELL of a stair climb!!!

Notre Dame du Lebanon

First stop after leaving the cable car

Little brother, Ayoub

Abozaky checking out the Mediterranean Sea

Jim and Abozaky enjoying the terrace in our hotel

Al Roche; Rocks in the Bay

The Three Musketeers

Jim and Abozaky at Star Square

Jim and Ayoub at Star Square

Abozaky and Jim at Star Square

Abozaky, Jim & Ayoub; Star Square

Abozaky and Jim - Check out the beautiful mosque behind us

Jim & Ayoub

Hey Rick!!! Want REAL shawerma? Come to Barbar in Beirut!

Want to make pictures? Go ahead; this is shawerma!!!

Beirut!!!! Here we come!!!!