An ancient tomb with fascinating oil frescoes on the walls of the chamber was discovered in Jordan in the northern town of Beit Ras and the news is enough to excite a flock of story seekers from India.
Jordan, over the last five years, has emerged as one of the most-visited secondary outbound destinations for Indian travellers. The increasing trend of independent travelling coupled with the surge in group trips from India is making the Jordan Tourism Board invest serious intent in the Indian market. While the tourism board reports the popularity of religious especially profuse biblical site visits by Indians, the recent excavation discoveries are surely going to garner more interest among the quintessential Indian travellers.
During an excavation project to expand a local waste-water sanitation network, the tomb was found which includes a cave with two burial chambers. The larger chamber contains a basalt stone rock-cut tomb decorated with raised etchings of two lion heads and with several human bones enclosed. The unique tomb is decorated with frescoes portraying human figures, horses and other mythological scenes, some of which have partly eroded but mostly remain intact, giving tourists a great insight into the burial rites of the past. The second chamber contains two more rock-cut tombs without any artefact.
These breathtaking frescoes include paintings of grape vines which represent the social and agricultural life prevalent during classical antiquity thought to most likely belong to the Hellenistic period/ Early Roman period. The inscriptions and some artefacts found in the tomb are being analyzed to give a more accurate time-frame of when this tomb was built and who it was built for.
Her Excellency Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ms Lina Annab, following a visit to the site, confirmed that the Department of Antiquities will continue to excavate, expand and prepare the site for future visitors. Her Excellency also confirmed that due to the tomb’s archaeological value, the site has been closed off to visitors and on-lookers to protect the archaeological integrity of the tomb as more tests are being run to attain more information about its significance.
Dr Munther Jamhawi, Director General of the Department of Antiquities pointed to the fact that the city of Beit Ras is one of the ancient Hellenistic/Roman Decapolis League cities, and was known during that time as Capitolias. This city was also mentioned in Arabic poetry as a unique location that included a theatre dated back to the second century and the remains of a Byzantine Church whose architectural styles were later used during the Islamic era and specifically during the early Umayyad period.
Jordan tourism, with their representations in India, is trying to promote a host of tourism offers in the country for the Indian travellers. Improving air connectivity and diversifying tourism products for varied traveller tribes from India, Jordan, the Western Asia is expected to see a huge Indian footfall in 2017.