The city of Sodom is in the imagination of many people and stories are told and written about it that may or may not be true. Until now no archaeological evidence had been found that this city actually existed.
Now there are researchers who claim to have finally found a site that matches the Biblical descriptions of Sodom: the Tall el-Hammam site in Jordan. Could it immediately be a new place on the bucket list for travellers?
After decades of excavations, some researchers believe they have finally found the ruins of the Biblical city of Sodom. Experts conducting research in Jordan's Tall el-Hammam region are convinced that the remains of the 'great Bronze Age city' match the Biblical description of the city that was allegedly destroyed by God.
Sodom is often mentioned together with Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah belonged to the 'pentapolis' (Greek for 'five city'), along with the cities of Adama, Zeboim and Bela, according to the Bible. Much the same description of the cities and events is given in the Quran. Sodom and Gomorrah were - according to the Bible and Quran - notorious for the 'depravity' of the inhabitants. From the name Sodom came the term sodomy, an expression for 'sinful', forbidden sexual contacts. And much later it was narrowed down to 'homosexuality', in some countries homosexuality is still the same as sodomy.
Bible and Quran
The destruction of Sodom along with Gomorrah was recorded in many parts of the Bible, including Genesis and the New Testament, as well as in the Quran. The Old Testament story describes how God destroyed the 'wicked sinners' of Sodom with fire and brimstone. The city now found would have been destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
The two cities would have been kingdoms located on the Jordan River and just north of the Dead Sea. Situated on a common trade route, they were described by their size as two cities heavily fortified with watchtowers and high thick walls. The Tall el-Hammam site which is dated to between 3500 and 1540 BC fully matches the descriptions of Sodom.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible and the Quran is about atrocities such as rape, theft, exploitation and inhospitality. And not specifically about 'homosexuality'. In the Old Testament Sodom is not accused of (aggressive) homosexuality, but inhospitality, abuse of the poor, adultery and lying. The so-called sexual acts spoken of in the Quran are performed against the will of people. If you check several historical books, you can indeed see that it was common practice to rape someone who did something wrong as punishment. So if you read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah carefully, it becomes very clear that this is indeed not a voluntary, but a forced act. And 'rape' is not the same as 'homosexuality'.
Regardless of the different interpretations and opinions of the story, this place in Jordan will become a tourist attraction when the ruins open up. And if this city turns out to be Biblical Sodom, Tall el-Hammam will be even more crowded because it appears in both the Bible and the Quran. We immediately look at LGBTQ people, firstly because they travel more than the average straight person and secondly, regardless of the negative connotation, this place will always have a mythical attraction.
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