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Roman Ruins - Jerash, Bosra, Palmyra, Baalbeck, etc.

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Mar 8th, 2009, 02:13 PM
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Roman Ruins - Jerash, Bosra, Palmyra, Baalbeck, etc.

I am planning a trip to Egypt in 2009. I would also like to visit some neighbouring countries, especially Jordan, and perhaps Syria or Lebanon. I know many people will start the "Oh, you're going to the Middle East, are you crazy" rant. I've heard alot of this since I started planning the trip. And, yes, I'm going [to the Middle East]!!!!!!!!

I would fodorites who have been to these sites to share their experiences. I have been to Rome, Pompeii and Ephesus. I get the impression most of the Roman Ruins in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon will be similar. Which ones, if any are worth visiting, or am I just wasting my time seeing thing which are similar to places I've already visited?

Thanks in advance.
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Mar 8th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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We had a wonderful time visiting Jerash - also have been to Rome and Pompeii (and other Roman Ruins in southern France) - Jerash's scale is huge but its not as well preserved (in parts) but well worth a trip - as is all of Jordan! Here's a link to our blog - happy to answer any questions

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l..._adv/d_jordan/
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Mar 8th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Reminds me of our trip to Turkey, wherever we went ruins, ruins and more ruins. Got to the point that one traveler came up with the phrase "ABR - another bloody ruin." However, that didn't dissuade any of us, as each, though similar were still amazing. And, I have a friend who can't get enough of Roman history and architecture.

The Romans were everywhere and everywhere left their mark, whether the Middle East, Northern Africa, France, England, elsewhere in Europe to Asia. In southern France there's the amazing amphitheatres in Nimes and Arles and Orange... does that mean you visit all or only one or two? Depends on your schedule and which way you choose to drive on any given day. We visited all three and never bored.

Guess, it's the same when it comes to those sites in the Middle East. Though Ii haven't made it to Syria, I can assure you the sites here won't be crowded with tourists, which can be a benefit. Those in Jordan were wonderful. As were those in Turkey.

Only you can decide whether you wish to visit all three countries - time, transport, visas, etc.
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Mar 8th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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ElizabethS and sandi, thanks for the feedback.

ElizabethS, I have looked at your trip report, and I throughly enjoyed reading about your visit to Egypt and Jordan, unfortunately, I wasn't able to download all your pictures. It looks like I am following in your footsteps, last year I had been to Peru and Ecuador (Galapagos), and I had read your trip report and enjoyed it.

sandi, you make a good point the Romans left there mark everywhere, yes, I've seen Roman ruins in places other than Italy and Turkey, sounds like I'll be "ruined out" from seeing more of the same.
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Mar 9th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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RJames -
First of all, ignore the people that are making those comments about going to the middle east.

Second of all, how long do you have? I've been to all those places except Baalbeck, which I had to scrap as it was right after the war in 2006...but I don't know how much time you have.

Sounds like a great trip!
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Mar 9th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Jerash and Petra in Jordan were both wonderful places to visit, I would not miss out either of them.

The experience of visiting Jerash is completely unlike that of visiting Pompeii, for example, mainly because visitor numbers are vastly lower, and because the site is relatively undeveloped, from a visitor standpoint. But this was part of it's charm for me and I enjoyed being able to wander around, separating away from the small group I was with, and enjoying it with my husband. Other than a few kids trying to sell souvenirs and chewing gum, and asking about football, we were undisturbed.

Petra was similarly empty, but I doubt it'll be quite as empty now. When we went, our Foreign Office had already been posting warnings, and changed these to a strong recommendation against travelling there at all whilst we were actually there, or within a day of us getting back, I forget now. The US were on the brink of invading Iraq at the time so tensions were running extremely high. Anyway, most tourists cancelled their trips, ours was down from 45-50 passengers to 11 or 12 of us (thank god, as I hate group trips at the best of times, let alone big group ones). We met nothing but friendly faces in Jordan but they were certainly suffering from the lack of international visits. Of course, from our point of view, it was a gift to be able to enjoy Petra so empty of fellow tourists.
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Mar 9th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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I am visiting all four of those sites this May (well, maybe not Bosra, unless I can stop in between Amman and Damascus). Those who question your visit obviously have not been, nor will they ever visit. I have gotten similar responses from many.
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Mar 9th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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maxwell, Kavey and thit-cho, thanks for your input.

maxwell, I plan on spending about 21 days in region, I will be in Egypt for 8 or 9 days and I am still planning how to spend my time in the other places. How did you travel to/from each place? I was looking for a tour, but cannot find anything that suitable, tours either camp which I am not willing to do, or some private tours I have looked at are way too expensive.

thit-cho, have a good trip. How are you travelling around?
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Mar 10th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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It is pretty easy to hop a plane from Cairo to Amman or Beirut, and make arrangements to visit the sites through local travel agents. If you're in Lebanon, you should certainly check out Byblos where Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Crusaders left their mark in the course of six centuries. Another interesting and very much neglected site, these days, is the ancient city of Tyre, still impressive with its Triumphal Arch, ruins of Greeek and Roman homes and tombs and colonnaded Roman roads.
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Mar 10th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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I am flying into Amman and out of Beirut, and will rely on shared taxis, some private taxis and buses to travel from Amman -> Petra -> Amman -> Jerash -> Bosra (maybe) -> Damascus -> Palmyra -> Aleppo -> Krak de Chevaliers -> Baalbek -> Beirut. I really don't expect to spend more than $200 (and maybe much less) for all of my internal transport -- I understand that buses and shared taxis are cheap, as are private taxis, at least for short distances. I always use that method to travel around the Middle East/North Africa, and have used shared taxis throughout the UAE, Oman, Tunisia, Egypt, etc.
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