Throughout this summer, The Daily Mississippian is publishing dispatches from our staffers about their vacation and study abroad experiences.
For the past month, I have been studying Arabic with the UM Arabic Flagship Program in Amman, Jordan. Our trip has been filled with excursions to notable historic sites in Jordan, traditional Jordanian food and more.
Our first excursion took us to Petra. In addition to being a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Petra was once home to the Nabateans, an Arab tribe based in the southern Levant region of the Middle East. Petra is most notable for its beautiful rock-cut architecture and is often called the Rose City due to the color of the rock in the area.
Our second excursion took us to the cities of Jerash and Ajloun. Ajloun is best known for the Ajloun Castle, built in the 12th century by the Ayyubids. At the top of the Ajloun castle, visitors can take in a view of Jordan, Syria and Palestine.
Close to Ajloun is the city of Jerash. Jerash is best known for its Greco-Roman ruins. The ruins of Jerash are home to two beautiful amphitheaters and the Temple of Artemis. Most of Jerash is lined with beautiful Corinthian columns.
One of the best parts of Jordan is the food. There are many notable dishes, but perhaps the most notable is Mansaf, which can differ based on who is making it. Some choose to make Mansaf with chicken, others with lamb, but what really makes mansaf mansaf is the traditional creamy sauce that covers the dish.
Eid al-Adha is one of the most important holidays in Islam. People observe Eid al-Adha, which in religious terms celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, by making a sacrifice – usually a sheep or a lamb.
Like many other holidays, Eid al-Adha is celebrated by visiting family and friends. During our Eid al-Adha break, we visited the home village of Khalid Al-Gudah, head of the Modern Arabic Language International Center, and spent time with his family.