After descending from the bus from Amman to Deir Allah, a helpful man took me to the microbus up the Jordan Valley. I was on my way to Pella, or Tabaqat Fahl as it is called locally, one of the cities of the Decapolis. Although we had no common language to speak in, he nevertheless escorted me to Al Mashari'a, and paid the ride. He even took me to another microbus, that took me up the mountain behind the village. Suddenly, the driver stopped in a curve, and indicated that I had arrived. I did not see much more than a fence and an opening, but he continued pointing down. After handing him some tip, I went through the fence and under me, a small valley opened up.
The first thing to strike me, was the remains of an old temple in the base of the valley, and the small pool behind it, with trees and houses, giving it the look of a small oasis. But I decided to first head up the hill, to another, smaller, temple, the East Church. Much smaller in scale, it nevertheless has a great vantage point to oversee Pella, the surrounding hills, and the views stretch across the Jordan Valley into the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. The temple itself was very modest, and most of it is still in ruins.
I descended, and went straight to the remains of the West Church on the other side of the valley. Little remains of this church, and I continued to the small mosque built in commemoration of the battle of Fahel that was fought here in 635CE. Centuries before that battle, Pella had been the destination for Christians fleeing the Roman army persecuting them in Jerusalem. But after flourishing in the following centuries, Pella declined, and the 747 earthquake decimated the population and importance of the city. People started living here around 5000BCE, which makes Pella a truly historical place. Wandering from the mosque down to the remains of the old town, and further down the old church dominating the view of the valley, the emptiness of the place made me feel its history even stronger.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pella (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pella.
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