Jordan’s location in the geographical “near east” has exposed it to dozens of civilizations over the course of history. In the last three thousand years alone the region has invariably fallen under the Persian, Greek, Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman empires, the legacies of which are often still visible today.
Anyone who has drank tea in Petra or ate mansaf in Wadi Rum will quickly recognize the unique fabric adorning traditional Bedouin tents in Jordan. These colorful designs are commonly used across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond, from Syria and Iraq in the north to the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the southeast. American musician Cardi B even featured some in the 2017 music video for her song Bodak Yellow!
Shortly after moving to Amman I noticed this unique building on a distant hill and I set out on a sort of scavenger hunt to find it. The walk from downtown to Jabal Al-Ashrafiyeh is packed with winding streets and steep staircases (some of which go nowhere). To this day the church is one of my favorite landmarks in Amman and I often make the trek there when I’m feeling like getting some exercise and exploring the city. I like to think of it as a pilgrimage — it is a religious site after all!