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Umm el-Jimal

"Mother of Camels".

"Mother of Camels"), also known as Umm ej Jemāl, Umm al-Jimal or Umm idj-Djimal, is a village in Northern Jordan approximately 17 kilometers east of Mafraq. It is primarily notable for the substantial ruins of a Byzantine and early Islamic town which are clearly visible above the ground, as well as an older Roman village (locally referred to as al-Herri) located to the southwest of the Byzantine ruins. The Nabataeans were people of surprises. Not only did they create the amazing city of Petra, they built the northern city of Umm al-Jimal. Using the local rough black basalt instead of the soft rose sandstone of Wadi Musa, they created an eerie black city whose name, "Mother of Camels," indicates its function as a trading town, as it had precisely what caravans needed: water, food, shelter, and people to buy things. Built only 6 kilometers from the Roman Via Nova Triana, which linked northern Jordan and the Decapolis with the south and trading points farther out, Umm al-Jimal was well-placed to take advantage of the spice, incense, and silk routes.


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