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Ajlun Nature Reserve was established in 1988 under the supervision of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). It is situated in the north of Jordan, very close to the Ajlun village of Umm Al-Yanabee’. It is an area of hills covered by dense woodlands of evergreen oak, interspersed with pistachio, carob, and strawberry trees. The Ajlun woodlands are typical of the original forest cover of Jordan. For centuries they have been important for local people for their wood, scenic beauty and, quite often, for medicine and food. The forest still supports many woodland mammals, including herds of wild boar, foxes, and the occasional wolf and hyena. Typical woodland birds are also numerous, especially the raucous, strikingly colored jays, which feed on the acorns of the Mediterranean oaks. In spring, the woodland floor is carpeted with drifts of multi-colored anemones, rockroses, and a host of other wild flowers. The Reserve is home to a herd of breeding roe deer. It is hoped this herd will be released into the forest in the near future to replace the original population that became extinct due to excessive hunting.


The ancient town of Anjara is located in the hills of Gilead east of the Jordan Valley. The town is mentioned in the Bible as a place where Jesus, his mother Mary and his disciples, passed through and rested in a nearby cave. The cave, which has long been a Holy place for pilgrims, has now been commemorated with a modern shrine / church of Our Lady of the Mountain. The cave was also designated by the Catholic Churches of the Middle East, as one of the five pilgrimage sites for the Year 2000. The others were Mount Nebo, Machaerus, Tall Mar Elias near Ajlun, and Bethany Beyond the Jordan.

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