15 May 2011

Visit to Ajlun and Mar Eliyas (Prophet Elijah)

View of the village from atop one of the surrounding hills

Our very nice friend Ramzi invited us to visit his family at their home in Ajlun for lunch and a tour around the area. Those of you who follow this blog will remember I posted a column about our visit to Ajlun Castle last year. Until yesterday that's the only part of Ajlun I'd been lucky enough to see.

The day started out somewhat cooler than usual (no shorts today!) and rainy. Yes, thats right; rainy! 14th May and was raining! It's unheard of over here! Nevertheless, it turned out to be a gorgeous day.

Our first stop was the family house in the village where we were treated with Turkish coffee and biscuits (cookies).
Refreshment in the Owais house
After a short visit with the family we drove round the town for a few sights and then headed up to the top of the mountain to see the family's summer house. It's really a beautiful place to see! While we were there the hired hand dug up a Rosemary plant for me that's now living happily in a new pot so she can flavor my cooking a bit from time to time.

Gate to the summer house

Main house

Part of driveway


Rosemary now has a new home in one of my pots

One of the many breathtaking views from the house

Did you ever see yellow Queen Anne's Lace?

After visiting the house we drove to Mar Elias. It was here that Prophet Elias (Elijah) was born.

From this side of the site you can see Palestine on the distant hills

It is said that anything for which you pray, whilst lighting a candle at this altar will be granted

I reckon it can't hurt...right?

Our host and guide, Ramzi Owais

Just one of the many intact fragments of the mosaic floor of the church

Baptismal font

Interior view of water cistern. I estimated it to be around 10 meters deep

Water cistern. Water was transported here through a network of small canals

People, mostly Indians, tie ribbons on this tree as they recite their prayers

Tombs adjacent to the church

Getting down into the tombs was a tricky situation, unless you happen to be a goat...

Many archaeological artefacts on display around the area of the church

Ancient olive trees fill these mountains. Some of them are many hundreds of years old, dating back to the Roman occupation

More views of Ajlun from the mountaintop

Notice Ajlun Castle on top of the mountain just behind us

Sometimes Ol' Big Jim is just too shaky to operate a camera...

Driving through the forest.

Some of these are almond trees. We picked a few green ones and ate them. Very tasty!

Notice how neatly the sheep keep the trees trimmed at the bottom!

We made stop at an olive press. After the oil is extracted, the pulp is compacted and allowed to dry. Afterwards it is burnt to make charcoal for grills and arghileh

Prophet Khidr was a companion of Elijah. His tomb is very near Ajloun Castle

A beautiful end to a beautiful day

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