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Girl Scouts explore the ancient Roman Theater in Amman, Jordan 


The ruins of Jerash in Jordan:

The world's best-preserved and most complete Greco-Roman city, founded in 70 CE


The remains of an ancient street in Jerash


Inside Ajlun Castle in Jordan,

a fortress originally built in 1184-88 to defend against the Crusaders


The ancient Nabataean city of Petra, in Jordan, is reached by hiking

through the Siq, a long slot canyon (after checking for flash flood warnings)


Eventually, the Siq unfolds to reveal the "Treasury", carved from iron-laden sandstone,

 actually built for the tomb of the Nabataean King Aretas III (87-62 BCE)


The Royal Tombs of Petra,

the immense capital and necropolis of the ancient Nabataeans


Inside the eclectic Ilana Goor Museum in Jaffa, Israel,

an 18th century building that also serves as the artist's residence


Haifa, Israel's third-largest city


The Crusader Fortress/Museum in Acre (Akko), Israel


An Arab back street in Acre (Akko), Israel


A Golan Heights bunker used by Syria to shell Israeli villages and farmhouses on the Sea of Galilee below,

captured by Israel in the 1967 War, and now part of the Kibbutz Kfar Haruv



Christians arrive in Yardenit, Israel, from all over the world

to be baptized in the Jordan River near the Sea of Galilee


Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem,

believed to be the site of Christ's burial and resurrection


The men's section of the Western Wall (aka Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem


Manger Square in Bethlehem, a West Bank city controlled by the Palestinian Authority,

where various Christian and Muslim cultures live side by side


The Christian Orthodox section of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; strictly divided,

turf wars have been common here between Orthodox, Catholics and Armenian Christians


Jerusalem: a Muslim cemetery in the foreground,

and the gold-plated Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in the background,

long sacred (and fought over) by Muslims and Jews


The Dead Sea at sunrise

Contemplating a swim in the Dead Sea (from Israel, with Jordan in the background).

The Dead Sea is so buoyant that one's feet fly out from underneath when wading waist deep 

The Judean Desert as seen from the heights of Masada

Sam, Peter, Amy & Lieschen take a break from their explorations

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© Peter Bierstedt