Med Pearls presents Deir ‘Alla in Jordan, a place of agriculture, history and warm weather
Deir ‘Alla is an ancient Near Eastern town situated in the Jordan Valley about eight kilometres east of the Jordanian river. This palm haven was selected as one of the Med Pearls Project pilot areas because it is an extraordinary agricultural area; it is most famous for producing dates locally as well as citrus fruits, and other products. Moreover, with its pleasant warm weather all year round, along with its very friendly local community, Deir ‘Alla is a perfect destination to introduce and promote diverse slow tourism activities such as cycling, hiking, and experiencing the life of farmers, in addition to date harvesting, sorting and packaging.
During the past century, the area has undergone major developmental processes with substantial impacts on the local nature and ecology. Those processes include establishment of new communities and infrastructure, new industrial facilities, and transformation of natural land into agriculture land.
Date palm cultivation in the Jordan Valley started in the 1990s when only 2,000 dunums were planted with the fruit. Now, there are over 30,000 dunums of land planted with more than 500,000 palm trees in the Jordan Valley. Nearly half of the palm trees in the Jordan Valley produce Medjool and Berhi dates, which are the most preferred choices to consumers; Medjool, known also as the king of dates, is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and fibre in addition to that it strengthens the immune system.
Deir ‘Alla is not only about agriculture, as it was the first Bronze Age city excavated in Jordan, an impressive temple was built on the hill of Deir Alla around 1500 BCE, and it is likely that this ancient cultic and market center was the biblical Succoth, visited by Gideon as he chased the Midianites back to the east (Judges 8: 5-16).
The sanctuary was in use until about 1200 BCE, when it was destroyed — probably either by an earthquake or by the legions of Pharoah. Moreover, Deir ‘Alla harbours many habitation layers dating back to the Middle Bronze Age, it is most famous for the Iron Age text relating to the biblical diviner Balaam, found written in a form of a beautiful Aramaic script on a plastered wall in one of the Iron Age buildings.