Saturday 16 March 2013

Seen in Jordan

I'm in Jordan for five busy days as part of a media tour, and we've been taking in some of the country's most famous sights, including the magnificent ancient city of Petra and the calm beauty of the Dead Sea.

On our travels between these renowned places, however, I've been fascinated by the Jordanian landscape. Ranging from craggy mountains to gentle agricultural slopes dotted with stone, there's always been something austere but interesting to look at.

Here's the capital, Amman, viewed from the high point of the ancient Citadel. From here, the buildings ranged around the Roman-era amphitheatre look as if they've grown from the ground, part of some complex crystalline structure. It's not necessarily beautiful, but it is striking:

This is the view from Mount Nebo, from where the prophet Moses (Musa in Arabic) gained a glimpse of the promised land. The sign points out the direction of such Biblical favourites as Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jericho:

I quite like this shot I took from the same vantage point, gives a sense of how dry and forbidding the landscape can be:

In this valley we saw our first Bedouin camp, set above the dry watercourse just in case of a flash flood:

Further on was this dramatic rock formation high above, known as Lot's Wife. You may recall the unfortunate incident in which she was transformed into a pillar of salt:

Far below us was the Dead Sea. I caught this shot as a colleague looked out over the water; it shows off the colours of the sea and surrounding coast beautifully:

Leaving the Feynan Ecolodge in Wadi Feynan, we happened upon this camel with a very young one in tow:

And finally, here are some of the dramatic rock formations in Wadi Rum, including two of the jeeps that were taking us through the baking hot desert to see them:

There was plenty more to see, of course, especially the amazing blend of the natural and manmade which is Petra (a subject for another day).

Jordan's landscapes at first pose a challenge to the photographer who's used to the greener vistas of Europe; but once the eye becomes accustomed to the arid environment, the country's visuals are endlessly varied and stimulating.

Disclosure time... on this trip I was hosted by the Jordan Tourism Board.

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