On the Road to Damascus On the Road to Damascus - WEA

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On the Road to Damascus On the Road to Damascus - WEA

On the Road toDamascusWEATravelTTA183March 13th - 30th, 2010


Contact DetailsFor more information contact theWEA tours office during officehours.Phone: (08) 8223 1272Fax: (08) 8232 3690WEATravelWrite to:Tours Office,Box 7055 Hutt St PO,Adelaide 5000TTA183Overseas CulturalToursEmail: tours@wea-sa.com.auWeb Site: www.wea-sa.com.au


On the Road to Damascus”Jordan & Syria13 th March – 30 th March, 2010Visit the Middle East and relive the birth of history’s greatest civilisations.Follow the traces of the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Byzantines. Walk thepaths of the Arabs, Umayyads and the Abbasids and trace the footsteps of theCrusaders, Mamlukes and the Ottermans through these fascinating lands.This tour will take you to sites that will amaze you with new experiences everyday; Amman, a city of many faces, Jerash, the best preserved example of aRoman provincial city in the Middle East and Damascus, one of the oldestcontinually inhabited in the world.Marvel at Petra, the ‘Red Rose City’, travel along the Kings Highway, whichruns through some of the finest classical sites of antiquity and passes throughthe old Biblical Kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom. Visit Krac desChevalier, (French for Fortress of Knights) a World Heritage Site and theepitome of childhood dream castles. In northern Syria we stay in Aleppo thesecond city and famed for it prosperity since the 3 rd millennium. See Palmyra(Tadmor in Arabic) in the heart of Syrian Desert, it is often described as the‘bride of the desert’. For thousands of years, Syria and Jordan controlled theinland caravan routes along which goods were transported from the Orient tothe Mediterranean and Palmyra was an important staging post for the caravanson the Old Silk Route to China and India.TOUR LEADER:Robert Stone is an archaeologist who has been working at Pella in Jordansince 1997 and has travelled extensively in the Near East. He has led a numberof WEA tours to Egypt and Vietnam.


ItineraryDAY 1Saturday 13 MarchDepart Adelaide domestic airport to Melbourne International Terminal wherewe board our direct Emirates flight to Dubai. After a short layover in Dubai wecontinue on our flight to Amman.(Meals in flight). Overnight in flight.DAY 2Sunday 14 MarchWe arrive early morning and transfer to our hotel for the next three nights, theAmman Crown Plaza. You have some free time to spend the remainder of theday exploring the city of Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom ofJordan. Nearly half of Jordan’s population lives in Amman. The history of thiscity dates back 9000 years and was an important location on trade routes. Overthe millennia the city has been ruled by many kingdoms. Amman returned toprominence when the city was rebuilt and renamed Philadelphia by PtolemyII (285-247 BC). Absorbed by the Roman Empire it became the southern mostcity of the Decapolis.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Amman.DAY 3Monday 15 MarchThe day is spent visiting the major historical sites of Amman. From thecolonnade street we visit the second century Roman theatre, built by theemperor Marcus Aurelius, which is estimated to hold 6000 people; there aretwo small museums in the theatre. Adjacent to the theatre is the restored Odeonand nearby is the Nymphaeum which is still being excavated and restored.Next we visit the citadel which is dominated by the remains of the Temple toZeus and the restored Umayyad Palace (720-750 AD) which is to the rear of themuseum.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Amman.DAY 4Tuesday 16 MarchDotted through the steppe-like terrain of eastern Jordan can be found numeroushistoric ruins. These are collectively know as the ‘Desert Castles’ and includeruins such as castles, forts, towers, baths, caravan inns and fortified palaces.Today our full day tour will include visits to: Qasr al-Mushatta; Qasr al-


Kaharaneh, one of the best-preserved Umayyad monuments in the Jordaniansteppe, Quasayr Amra, the best preserved of the desert castles, and probablythe most charming.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Amman.DAY 5Wednesday 17 MarchAn early start for the long drive along the desert highway to the spectacularNabataean city of Petra, know as the ‘Red Rose City’. Here we will spend thenext two nights at the Petra Palace Hotel, conveniently located adjacent tothe entrance to the archaeological site. After checking into the hotel we willwalk the 1½ kilometres through the crevice in the hills to al-Khazneh (theTreasury), which featured in the Harrison Ford movie ‘Indiana Jones and theLost Crusade’. From there we pass the theatre which has been carved from thehillside. There are two alternatives, climbing to the ‘high place’ or wanderingthrough the Nabataean tombs, Qasr al-Bint Temple and the Temple of theWinged Lion. The climb to the high place requires a medium level of fitness.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Petra.DAY 6Thursday 18 MarchToday we have another chance to explore the archaeology of Petra and themuseum on the way to the spectacular ad-Beir (the Monastery). The walkshould be taken at a leisurely pace in order to absorb the beautiful scenery. Thiswalk also requires a medium level of fitness, although for those feeling lessinclined to walk you can always hire a donkey!(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Petra.DAY 7Friday 19 MarchLeaving Petra, we travel along the Kings Highway to Madaba were we willspend the night at the Madaba Miriam Hotel. The scenic route of the KingsHighway was the ancient route of traders, armies and pilgrims; we will visita number of castles en route. Shobak castle was constructed in 1115 AD byBaldwin. Following that it was taken over by the Ayyubids and then theMamlukes. The remains of Kerak castle are mainly from the Mamluke period,although there is evidence of the Crusader period. From there we travel toMadaba. Resettled by the Christians in 18 th and 19 th centuries Madaba is nowthe centre of the Greek Orthodox Church. This city is famous for its mosaics,


especially the Madaba map in the Church of St George. Other stunning mosaicscan be seen in the Church of the Apostles located in the Archaeological Park.Madaba is also known for its beautiful rugs.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Madaba.DAY 8Saturday 20 MarchOur last day in Jordan is a busy one. We start early for our drive to Damascusin Syria where will spend the next three nights at the Talisman Hotel. En-routewe will visit Jerash, the rich provincial city of the Roman Empire. Enteringthe city through Hadrian’s Arch we pass the hippodrome then through thesouth gate to theatres, temples, churches and colonnaded streets; Jerash is notknow as the ‘Pompeii of the East’ for nothing. We then make a brief stop at thearchaeological site of Pella where Australians have been excavating for over30 years. We then make our way across the border into Syria and the city ofDamascus where we will spend three nights at the Talisman Hotel.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Damascus.


DAY 9Sunday 21 MarchDamascus is the capital of modern Syria and once the capital of the Umayyadcaliphate. We commence our tour at the National Museum of Damascus whichcontains world class archaeological and historical collections spread over twowings. Moving on we visit Umayyad Mosque, Saladin’s Mausoleum, St. Paul’sWindow, and St Ananias Chapel. In the afternoon we will see the fabulousSuq al-Hamediyeh. The suq was built during the Ottoman era and has beenrenovated several times over the years. Its shops offer the famous Damascenetextiles and antiques – a veritable shoppers paradise!, If time allows after ourvisit to the suq, we may visit the Hejez railway station.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Damascus.DAY 10Monday 22 MarchToday we have a full day excursion to the south of Damascus. We will visit:Shabba, the city of the Roman Emperor – Philip the Arab. Shabba has a small,but excellent mosaic museum; Sweida, also known as Dionysus during theRoman period with a reputation for its vineyards and wine. Some of the ancientNatatean temple columns can still be seen in the town as well as the remainsof a 6th century church; Qanawat (meaning canals in Arabic), renown forits impressive and richly decorated monuments; Borsa, an important city onthe crossroads of the caravan routes, is well known for its impressive Romanamphitheatre which could seat more than 15,000 people.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Damascus.DAY 11Tuesday 23 MarchWe depart for Aleppo and visit the magnificent castle of Krac des Chevalier enroute. An important castle during the Crusades and remodelled by the KnightsHospitallers into the massiveimpregnable structure that it istoday; it demands time to explorethe castle. On to Aleppo where wewill spend two nights at the AleppoDar Zamaria.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner).Overnight Aleppo.


DAY 12Wednesday 24 March.Aleppo was one of the Near East’sgreater commercial cities in the MiddleAges and is a hidden doorway into afabled past. Central to our tour of thecity is the citadel, then the archaeologicalmuseum and the suqs, parts of whichdate from the 13 th century, for some retailtherapy.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner).Overnight Aleppo.DAY 13Thursday 25 MarchAn early start as we have a long drive to the desert city of Palmyra, ‘the placeof palm’; en route we stop to visit the water wheelsat Hama. Palmyra was an important city in theHellenistic and Roman periods providing a saferoute for traders. Palmyra’s magnificent remainstell of a heroic history during the reign of QueenZenobia, who captured Syria, Arabia, Egypt andAnatolia. However, her rule was brief and she wasdefeated by the Romans who subsequently destroyedthe city. We will also visit the Arab castle of Qala’tIbn Maant for the panoramic view and to watch thesunset. We spend two nights at the Palmyra ZenobiaHotel, which is conveniently located adjacent to thearchaeological site.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Palmyra.Day 14Friday 26 MarchThe whole day will be spent exploringthe ancient city of Palmyra. Palmyrais Syria’s star tourist attraction andone of the world’s most splendidhistorical sites. Known to the localsas Tadmor (its ancient Semitic name),


Palmyra’s intriguing history, alongwith the profusion of colonnades,temple remains and funerary towers,in a mesmerising desert oasis setting,renders visitors speechless. We willvisit the impressive Tower Tombs,which rise from the desert sands, theTemple of Bel where the single mostimpressive part of these ruins and themost complete structure is this temple,also known as the Sanctuary of Bel. The Palymra Museum includes a largescalemodel of the Temple of Bel which gives a good impression of how thecomplex would have looked in its original state. The museum also containssome fascinating friezes depicting camel trains and cargo ships, attesting to theimportance trade played in the wealth of Palmyra.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Palmyra.Day 15Saturday 27 MarchA leisurely start to the day as we return to Damascus where the rest of the daywill be at leisure to explore the craft workshops near the Mosque or return tothe suq for some last minute shopping . For our final night we return to theTalisman Hotel.(Buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner). Overnight Damascus.Day 16Sunday 28 MarchThis morning you have some free time to do some of those last minute thingssuch as shopping or seeing for the last time one of the wonderful historicalsites in Damascus. Lunchtime we transfer to the airport for our flight to Dubai.(Buffet breakfast, meals in flight). Overnight Dubai.Day 17Monday 29 MarchMid morning flight from Dubai to Melbourne.(Meals in flight). Overnight in-flight.Day 18 Tuesday 30 MarchMid morning domestic flight from Melbourne to Adelaide Airport. ♦


Important NotesTour LeaderWEA tours provide quality personal experiences, which capture theessences of places visited. All WEA tours are fully escorted by ourTour Leaders who have a genuine love for arts, culture, architectureand history of the country they are visiting. Our educational toursgive you the opportunity to meet other enthusiasts and immerseyourself in valuable new information and experiences.Cost:Prices are based on twin share arrangements.• The inclusive Adelaide to Adelaide fee is $7880. (Subject toincreases levied by tour operators, airlines, hotels, governmentsand currency fluctuations). (May 2009.)• Single supplement is an additional $1426. (May 2009.)• Land only: $5700 (meet in Amman / leave in Damascus)• A deposit of $300 is to accompany the Tour Booking Form.• Final payment due by close of business Friday, 18th December,2009, with valid passport required from this date for obtainingvisas.Inclusions:• Fully escorted tour.• Return air travel Adelaide to Adelaide.• Twin share accommodation in tourist class hotels with privatefacilities.• Meals as per itinerary, in-flight meals and snacks servedaccording to airline policy.• All admission fees, transfers and tours as detailed in the itineraryunless specified as optional.• All Airport taxes.• Pre-tour Archaeology course with the WEA.• Pre-tour get-together with wine and cheese at the WEA Centre,Angas St, Adelaide.• Educational study notes.


Exclusions:• A Passport with 6 months validity, with at least 2 blank pages isrequired.• All visas – WEA will arrange where necessary (Jordan $63, Syria $100).• Travel insurance must be obtained and sighted by the WEA traveloffice on or before final payment - refer clause 12 of Terms andConditions.• Gratuities and tips.• Personal items and drinks with meals.• Single room supplement does not include stopovers provided bythe airlines between connecting flightsE&OEThe WEA regularly organises tours to many parts of the worldincluding “developing” destinations. Travel to such destinationscan require special considerations. The WEA urges you to attendany pre-tour briefing that may be arranged. You are also urged tostudy the tour enrolment conditions following.The Department of Foreign Affairs has daily updatesof Travel Advisories on their internet site:www.smarttraveller.gov.auSpecial Note:Travellers with passports bearing used or unused Israeli stamps orvisas, or exit stamps from Jordanian or Egyptian border crossingswith Israel, will not be admitted into Syria, even if carrying a validSyrian visa.


Terms and ConditionsThese TERMS AND CONDITIONS are to be read in conjunction withand deemed to form part of the TOUR BOOKING FORM. This form mustbe signed by you to enable your booking in the tour described herein. Theconditions form part of your offer to WEA and of your contract with WEA.Please read them carefully.1 TOUR FEE1.1 Subject to condition 9, the cost of the tour shall be $7,880 which is hereaftercalled ‘the tour fee’.1.2 The prices quoted in this brochure are in Australian dollars and are based on therates of exchange at the time of costing the tour. Prices are subject to change dueto international currency fluctuations and other factors beyond our control. Asthis tour is sold as a package tour, no itemisation of costs can be given. EconomyClass air travel is utilised. All charges are subject to a final audit.2 DEPOSIT2.1 Upon enrolment, a deposit of $300 shall be paid immediately to WEA.2.2 The deposit will not be accepted unless it is accompanied by a completed TOURBOOKING FORM2.3 After acceptance by WEA of your booking, the deposit WILL NOT be refundedby WEA under any circumstances.2.4 We strongly advise that travel insurance is taken out on payment of your depositto avoid unnecessary losses.3 CONFIRMATION OF ENROLMENT3.1 Upon receipt of the TOUR BOOKING FORM and the deposit, WEA willconfirm in writing the acceptance or non acceptance of the booking – this shalltake the form of a Booking Confirmation Receipt.3.2 It is only upon the confirmation of acceptance of the booking that a contract shallcome into existence.3.3 The date of formation of acceptance of the contract and the acceptance of theenrolment shall be the date shown on the Booking Confirmation Receipt ofacceptance to be issued by WEA3.4 WEA reserves the right to refuse to accept any booking and shall not be bound togive any reason for its refusal.3.5 Where possible the WEA will attempt to match singles wishing to share, however,this cannot be guaranteed and the single supplement will apply should no matchbe possible.


4 PAYMENT OF BALANCE4.1 The balance of the tour fee shall be paid by the close of business on Friday,18 th December, 2009 at the offices of WEA at 223 Angas Street, Adelaide 5000.4.2 Bookings in relation to which payments are received by WEA after that date mayor may not be accepted by WEA at its absolute discretion.5 EFFECT OF NON-PAYMENT OF BALANCEBoth non-payment of the balance of the tour fee by the due date and non-acceptance byWEA of a late payment of the balance of the tour fee will result in:5.1 The forfeiture of the deposit paid by you; and5.2 Cancellation of your enrolment so that there shall thereafter be no furthercontractual relationship whatsoever between you and the WEA.6 CANCELLATIONS6.1 Cancellations will be accepted after your deposit and booking is confirmed.Where early payment has been paid prior to the balance due date, a refund of theamount paid less the deposit will be provided.6.2 No cancellation of any nature whatsoever will be accepted after payment of thebalance of the tour fee and the passing of the balance due date. 100% of the tourfee will be forfeited.7 CANCELLATION OF TOUR BY WEA- REFUND OF MONEYS7.1 WEA may, at its discretion, cancel the tour prior to the date of commencementthereof. Upon your request the WEA will provide reasons for its decision tocancel the tour.7.2 WEA shall be entitled to cancel the tour after its commencement if, in the opinionof WEA or the tour leader:(i) the continuation of the tour would for any reason jeopardise the safety of theparticipants;(ii) the continuation of the tour would for any reason make the tour financially(iii)burdensome to WEA or the Tour Leader:the continuation of the tour would for any reason violate any law or direction ofany government authority and the re-routing of the tour is impracticable.7.3 Upon cancellation of the tour, WEA will repay to you in full any monies paid byyou pursuant to this contract to the extent that they have not been paid by WEA tothird parties.7.4 WEA shall not be bound to seek to recover moneys paid by WEA to third parties,but if indemnified by you, will lend its name to an action for the recovery ofmoneys against such third parties.


8 CHANGES TO STANDARD TOUR8.1 Any changes or extensions to the WEA Tour travel arrangements must be inwriting at least eight weeks before final payment date. An administration fee of$100 will be incurred for each change.8.2 No changes will be pursued if any variations to the standard tour cannot beconfirmed by the airline or other third party provider at the time of final payment.9 VARIATION OF TOUR FEE9.1 The tour fee has been calculated based on fees, fares and costs current as at timeof publication.9.2 Increases in fees, air fares and other tour costs of any nature whatsoever whichoccur at any time before the commencement of the tour are at your risk and willbe passed on to you.9.3 Increased fees, fares and costs being demanded are payable by you on the dateadvised by WEA.9.4 In the event of failure by you to pay increased fees, fares and costs by the dateadvised of demand and of demand being made for the same by WEA, you will bedeemed to have cancelled your booking and clause 5 shall apply. 100% of the tourfee and associated costs paid will be forfeited.10 VARIATION OF TOUR10.1 WEA reserves the right to change the itinerary of the tour:(i) when required to do so by events outside its control; or(ii) if it or the tour leader is reasonably of the opinion that the change or changesare in the best interests of the participants of the tour.10.2 No compensation shall be payable to you by WEA as a result of such changes.11 THIRD PARTY LIABILITIES11.1 All travel arrangements in relation to the tour (including arrangements for theissuing of tickets and the making or arrangements with travel agents, hotels,airlines, bus companies, railroad companies and other third parties) are made byWEA as your agent and not as agent for any third party.11.2 Accordingly, WEA is not liable for any act, omission or default of any such thirdparty (whether negligent or amounting to a breach of contract by the third partyor otherwise) nor is it responsible for any loss, damage, or injury caused by anysuch third party.11.3 In addition, you are subject to any conditions imposed by the third party on thetour arrangements.12 TRAVEL INSURANCE12.1 All tour participants MUST TAKE OUT personal travel insurance to cover thecosts and effects of personal injury, property loss or damage, tour delays and


cancellations (including cancellations before the tour commences), repatriation,and all other risks against which international travellers usually insure.12.2 WEA will require production of the insurance policy no later than the date of finalpayment of the tour.12.3 If you are unable to show to the satisfaction of WEA that such an insurance hasbeen issued to you, you will not be permitted to commence the tour.12.4 In that event, you will not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid by you toWEA pursuant to this contract.12.5 We strongly advise that travel insurance be taken out on confirmation of yourbooking by WEA to avoid unnecessary losses.13 EXCLUSION CLAUSE13.1 WEA does not accept any liability or responsibility for:(i) any loss, accident or delay however caused whether prior to, during orsubsequent to the tour; or(ii) loss or damage caused to you or your effects caused(a) by the acts or omissions of its employees, whether negligent or involvinga breach of contract or otherwise(b) by any act or omission of any nature by any third party.13.2 Without in any way limiting the generality of the foregoing, WEA shall not beresponsible for any injury or loss caused by political disputes, border closures,refusal of visas, industrial action, delayed transport, effects of climate, war,natural disaster or other events beyond the control of WEA.14 NECESSARY TRAVEL DOCUMENTSYou are responsible for ensuring that all necessary travel documents are current, validand effective. Including, but not limited to, passport, visas, certificates of vaccination(where and if required).15 AUTHORITY OF TOUR LEADER15.1 At all times before and after the commencement of the tour, the decision of WEA’sexpedition or Tour Leader or representative will be final on all matters pertinent tothe safety and well being of the tour participants.15.2 You must at all times strictly comply with the laws, customs and currency and drugregulations of all countries visited. Should you fail to comply with any such law,custom or regulation or should you interfere with the well-being of the group, WEA’sTour Leader or WEA representative may order you to leave the tour and in that eventyou will have no right to any refund from or any other recourse against WEA.16 DISCLOSURE OF MEDICAL CONDITIONS16.1 You are required to make full and true disclosure to WEA of all ailments andphysical or psychological impairments of which you are aware that may affect in


any way you ability to undertake the tour without endangering your health, or thehealth or safety of other tour participants or the orderly progress of the tour.16.2 The WEA may at its discretion request a medical report from a medical practitionernominated by the WEA concerning your physical and or psychological medicalcondition. The reports will be provided to the WEA at your cost. Upon productionof the report the WEA may, at its discretion, terminate your booking. Upontermination in these circumstances the WEA is not bound to provide a reason forthat termination. If your booking is terminated in these circumstances the WEAwill (except where the tour is cancelled) fully refund to you all moneys paid byyou pursuant to this contract.17 EFFECTS OF ACTING ILLEGALLYShould you act in any way contrary to the laws of Australia or any other country duringthe course of the tour, you do so at your own risk and WEA is not obliged to provide legalor other assistance to you.18 LAWS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIAThis contract is subject to the law of South Australia and is to be interpreted in accordancewith that law. The parties shall submit to the jurisdiction of the Courts of South Australia.


Useful Information for TravellersPhotography: As a general rule if you want to photograph people it is always betterto ask first. Most importantly, do not take pictures of any government installations,buildings, or anything else that might be considered off-limits to visitors.SyriaSocial Conventions: While many Syrians do dress in Western style, most Syrians arequite conservative about dress. As with anywhere, take your cues from those aroundyou. A handshake is the most appropriate greeting in most occasions, although someultra-conservative people do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex.In such cases, an appropriate greeting is to smile, nod slightly, and place your righthand over your heart. Smoking is common and is acceptable in private homes and inpublic places throughout the country.Safety: Crime and theft are virtually non-existent in Syria, making it a very safeplace to travel. Furthermore, Syrians are modest and not aggressive, so travellersto Syria are unlikely to encounter people whose intentions are less than honest andfriendly. Because the Middle East is highly politicized, Syria is often portrayedunfairly in international media as an unsafe, terrorist country. Travellers who lookbeyond this and travel to Syria to see for themselves are always pleasantly surprisedto find that Syria is a fascinating, safe and hospitable place.JordanSocial Conventions: Jordan is socially conservative by Western standards, makingmodest dress a necessity for both men and women. Amman has a more relaxedWestern dress code at night and by the pool. Outside of Amman, however, customsbecome abruptly more conservative. Showing a lot of skin – whether you are male orfemale – is really embarrassing to most Jordanians.Greetings and all public interactions in Jordan are quite formal compared to manyparts of the world. People are very friendly and warm – but it is important to treateveryone, especially members of the opposite sex, with respect and care. Handshakesbetween men are acceptable. Between members of the opposite sex and betweenwomen it is suggested that you err on the side of politeness: nod courteously, extenda warm greeting in your own language and a smile – hard to misunderstand!Safety: Jordan is a safe and friendly place to travel. Jordanians are unfailingly helpfuland it is generally safe to walk around at any time of the day or night. It is, of course,sensible to take obvious precautions: look after your belongings and keep valuablesin the hotel safe.


WEA Travel: Jordan & Syria 2010Petra to PalmyraAncient Civilisations of the Fertile Crescent

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