Discover the real Jordan — forget all those other Jordans; Lucas Ackroyd; Vancouver Courier

 

Jordan – Petra

This enthralling Middle Eastern kingdom isn’t named after an American celebrity

Awestruck, I gaze at Hadrian’s Arch, the entrance to the Roman ruins of Jerash in Jordan. The beautifully preserved triple-bay monument from 130 AD ranks among the Roman Empire’s largest arches. But although this site is a monumental achievement, it does not support the widespread belief among North Americans that Jordan is named after Michael Jordan.

Sadly, many of us know far more about American sports and pop culture than the Middle East. But if I can convince just one reader that Jordan is not named after the Chicago Bulls basketball superstar, or indeed any other American celebrity, my 10-hour Royal Jordanian flight from Montreal to the capital city of Amman will have been worthwhile.

Conquered by Pompey in 63 BC, Jerash became one of the great Decapolis League cities with its colonnaded streets and temples.

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