Who is Burchardt? Here is an excerpt from wikipedia:
Johann Ludwig (also known as John Lewis, Jean Louis) Burckhardt (November 24, 1784 – October 15, 1817) was a Swiss traveller and orientalist. He wrote his letters in French and signedLouis. He is best known for rediscovering the ruins of the city of Petra (today in Jordan)
Burckhardt’s journey took place around 1812. Before reaching petra, south of Jordan, Burckhardt had to pass through karak. In doing so, he visited the archaeological sites in the area. One of them, to my amazement, is Fort bashir. Although it is situated in a very isolated place, he visited it. Even today, 2010, the area around fort Bashir is still uninhibited by people. You can navigate around Fort Bashir in google earth. Yes, you can see Fort Bashir using google earth. If don’t have the program installed, visit the google maps website. It doesn’t require a program. Click here for the link and the instruction.
In record of his travels through the area, he wrote a book entitled “Travels in Syria & the Holy Land”. The whole book is availabe online for free. I borrowed the book from the Library of Mu’tah University. The online version, however, doesn’t contain some Arabic words that the paperback copy contains. Burkhardt worte some Arabic words in his book. I guess they were mainly the Arabic names of the locations which he visited. Click here to read the online free copy of “Travels in Syria & the Holy Land by John Burckhardt”.
Here are the exerts from Burchardt’s book when he passed and visited the Roman Fort shown in this photo; Fort Bashir. The following text was written in the early part of the nineteenth century, around 1812. This is exactly the text from the paperback book without any modifications from me! The Arabic words are from the author. I borrowed the book from the library of Mu’tah University, Karak:
[On the spot where we reached the highest banks of the Modjeb are the ruins of a place called Akeb El Debs(عقب الدبس). We followed from thence to the top of the precipice at the foot of which the river flows, in an eastern direction, for a quarter of an hour, when we reached the ruins of Arrayr (عرعاير) , the Aroer of the scriptures, standing at the edge of the precipice, from hence a foot path leads down to the river in the Koura, about one hour to the west of Arrayr, are some hillocks called Kesour el Basheir ( قصور البشير) …]
Burchardt doesn’t mention any further information about the site, as you can red, there are almost 3 sites in his few hours walk. If he was going to write in details about every ruin site he met, pages and pages will not be enough. I was even amazed to know that there are that huge number of ruins near my village. Of all the sites mentioned above, I only knew about Kesour el Basheir (Bashir), since it is visible from my house. Read how I took this photo. Click here.
For further information, I went to the very great site: www.vkrp.org. Virtual Karak Resources Project website is authored by American Archaeologists who did studies in the governorate of Karak. It gives very detailed information about the area. The site doesn’t only provide Archaeological studies about the area, but aslo, historical, environmental, and cultural. In a page, they write about Fort Bashir.
Another example of a castra is Qasr Bshir, a cavalry outpost located nine miles northeast of el-Lejjun. An inscription over the front entrance indicates a construction date of AD 293-305. [Photo ] It is a quadriburgium fort, which means it is square with large corner towers. It is a square trapezoid 0.31 ha (0.77 acres) in size. Four large towers (12 m2) project from the corners. They are three stories high and contain slit windows. Around the perimeter of the lower level were stables for animals. Above the stables were barracks, which could house 150 men. [Photo, Plan of Qasr Bshir – 80K ]
Wow! It was built almost 1700 years ago! This is why I love Archaeology!
# Read a very interesting article written by Written by Marc-Henry Saillard. The article is present in a Jordanian Blog called 7iber.com. Click here to read the article.
# More photos of Fort Bashir: