Jordan Tour Guide: Umm el Jimal

Jordan Tour Guide: Umm el Jimal Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

This area, 55 miles (86km) from Amman, is known as the 'black oasis', due to the large amount of dark volcanic stone here. The name of the city means in Arabic 'mother of camels' and dates from the Roman-Byzantine period.

It was built on an earlier Nabataean settlement and is constructed from square chunks of basalt rock, supported by rectangular beams, also of basalt. It is once believed to have been a staging post for camel caravans.

The ruined city contains a large number of water cisterns, both for public and domestic use. As Umm el Jimal is a great distance away from any natural water source, it is difficult to see how the ancient citizens procured their water. There are aqueducts built at ground level, however, so it is only to be supposed that the people were enterprising enough to channel water along these aqueducts from a distance of many miles.

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