Ulysses, the pleasure of discovery 2023 from tonight on Rai1: Alberto Angela talks about Jordan and Petra

From tonight on Rai1 the adventure of Ulysses – The pleasure of discovery 2023 returns, in the first episode Alberto Angela talks about Petra and Jordan: previews and guests of 7 September.

Ulysses, the pleasure of discovery 2023 from tonight on Rai1: Alberto Angela talks about Jordan and Petra

A welcome return to tonight on Rai1: at 9.25pm Alberto Angela will bring its loyal audience to the discovery of Ulysses – The pleasure of discovery 2023the new season of the now historic Rai Cultura program dedicated to dream places and characters from the past with exciting stories.

Previews for September 7th

In the first episodebroadcast today, Thursday 7 Septemberwe go to discover Petra, the fascinating city of the Nabataeans, forgotten for centuries and rediscovered only at the beginning of the nineteenth century. After passing through a narrow gorge, with very high walls, you arrive at the so-called Treasury, a magnificent monument carved into the rock and in front of it the extraordinary valley in which the city stood, lined with more than eight hundred buildings that change color at sunset. Here you can observe the unique way in which temples, funerary monuments and palaces were literally extracted from the rock walls, and you will understand why historians speak of Petra as an ancient Las Vegas.

But Petra is only the starting point for an itinerary to discover the Jordan, a land of merchants, of prophets, of kings. It is here, in a corner of the Jordan River, that Jesus was baptized; from the top of Mount Nebo Moses looked at the promised land without being able to reach it; and here stood the mythical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah sunk into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is undoubtedly one of the country’s major attractions: it is located more than 400 meters below sea level and its salt-covered shores dazzle the view. Too bad that such a fascinating place runs the risk of disappearing in the near future.

There are many surprises that this strip of the East reserves. Who could ever think of the presence on the spot of one of the best preserved Roman cities – Jerash, the ancient Gerasa. You are greeted by the imposing Hadrian’s arch and then by an oval square surrounded by columns that even brings to mind the colonnade of St. Peter. And then a spectacular sanctuary with a colossal temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, and two perfectly preserved theatres.

An authentic discovery is the stony expanse of Um Ar-Asas, the remains of a Roman castrum transformed into a Byzantine city, where precious mosaics are hidden under a layer of sand. Equally surprising are the numerous constructions improperly called desert castles. One in particular – Amra – amazes for its particular shape and for the presence of female nudes, prohibited by Islam. In reality it was a small spa building privately owned by the caliph of Damascus who could therefore use it as he pleased.

There are many mythical characters in the history of Jordan, but one in particular stands out in the collective imagination thanks also to a splendid film: Lawrence of Arabia. It is impossible to travel through the bewitching desert of Wadi Rum without continually thinking of him. It is here that Lawrence transformed himself from English into Arab, managing to unite the Arab tribes against the Ottoman Empire; it is here that he took refuge and directed the assault on the train crossing the desert. But Wadi Rum is anything but a desert area. For millennia it was crossed by caravans of merchants who left traces in many rock carvings. And it is here, as the sun goes down, that you find yourself in the silence alone with your thoughts, imagining a different life, admiring a world still capable of surprising with its wonders.


The restorer Franco Sciorilli participates in the episode, illustrating the Madaba mosaic, the oldest map of the holy places, and the actor Filippo Timi who in the theater of Jerash interprets a passage from a letter from Seneca to Lucilius.

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