Jordan – POINTS OF INTEREST – Cities – Irbid

IrbidIrbid, Arabella, the ancient city of the Aramics, now the 2nd city of Jordanian Arabs. The city lies in midst of the country side that used to be a legendary scene of vast wheat fields in the northern region of Jordan. The “Bride of the North” Jordanians call it well meaning that they consider it the “Pride” of their north as well. Before Islam, Irbid was famous for some of the best wines in the ancient world. Made from rich transparent and honey-toned, green, red, or black grapes. Nourished by extremely fertile deep-brown soil, growing under beautiful horizons, dominated by an assuring presence of  Jabal El-Shiekh, the all seasons snow tipped mountain of the Middle East. Warmed by the pleasant sun of a lovely mediterranean moderate climate. After Islam Arabella became known as Irbid, and continued with the wheat but took to great olive oil instead of wines. However, Irbid has her claim to Islamic fame and glory, In her rich long history, written with blood and sacrifice. Irbid takes a fare share in thrilling epics of longing heroes, and memory dwelling laments of poets. No worthy historian managed to leave Irbid – the ancient Arabella of the Aramics’ – unmentioned,  because of the Yarmouk battle, a decisive heroic battle that took place across the banks of the Yarmouk river some 30 kilometers to the north of Irbid. Yarmouk battle, was between the new young power, Islam, against the ancient world dominating superpower, Rome. It is a landmark of the history of both, Rome and Islam, and a landmark in the history of Irbid, as well. The outcome of Yarmouk battle changed the course of history. A small Muslim Arab army, brave with young faith, defeated the huge Roman army, hundreds of times the man and fire power, but far much less in  moral values. From there, Roman empire went down into the dark ages, and Islam began its legendary spread-out. Thousands of years of history are evident in the fertile soil of Irbid, so deep in her sacrificial tones, that some citizens of Irbid believe it is the blood of martyrs that gives their soil its deep brown and scarlet mix of colors. However, the visitor unaware of history will just find a modern city bursting with business and hiding its history behind busy daily life and modern vitality. Irbid is the city which holds a world record in the number of internet cafes per capita ! No street anywhere in the whole world has internet cafes more than Irbid’s University street, particularly in the section between Naseem circle and University circle. Some quite luxurious Internet cafes can be found there too. Irbid has accomplished a surprise transformation into a bursting modern commerce city, crowded with businesses, industries, and offices, after 1991. But the academic character of Irbid is still strong with Yarmouk university, and four other universities in her vicinity. The growth of Irbid in the second half of the 20th century is nothing but admirable: From a small town of the Ottoman, to a country-side hub, to an academic center, to a full modern city, all in 50 years. in the  21st century, Irbid is doing even better. True to her ancient name, Arabella, Irbid is quite involved in Arab affairs. There is hardly a major event in the history or current affairs of Arabs that has no fingerprints left on Irbid. One just has to be sensitive, and find the right people for good insiders insights. Alas ! unlike ancient Arabella,  the modern Irbid has abandoned pride in rich wheat fields and deep fertile soil, which were once earned her the title: ” The Grains Reservoirs of the Empire”, and  accepted a modern “reality of the concrete”. In an environmental disaster, huge fields of the best and most fertile soil are now covered with concrete buildings, and asphalt streets, under the sprawling and crowded noisy modern city, busy with commerce and catching up with high-tech endeavors.

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        Internet Cafes