10 places you must visit when you go to Jordan
Despite the constant turmoil in the Middle-East,
Jordan is definitely the safest, most stable country in the region. It’s
a beautiful country just waiting for travelers to come and discover its
treasures. Here are ten places you must go to if you ever come to Jordan (and you should):
The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value - as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man.
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed.
Petra the world wonder, is without doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
2- Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is a very spectacular desert resort that is situated in south of Jordan, about 70 km. to the north of Aqaba.
Wadi Rum is very famous for its high mountains and pink sand. Actually, its as famous as Petra, one of the world's seven wonders. It’s a popular tourist attraction for those whom nature provokes them to explore it and its desert beauty.
As a desert area, Wadi Rum is sometimes difficult to reach that is because it is about 30 Km. far from the main highway between Aqaba and Amman. However, this fact has given Wadi Rum its unique characteristic as a remote and peaceful area. Because it's located in the desert, you do not want expect to find luxurious hotels or spas in Wadi Rum.
The Dead Sea Mud is world renowned for it's properties
Unusually high salt content enables one to float effortlessly.
3- The Dead Sea
doubt, the world’s most amazing place, the Jordan Rift Valley is a
dramatic, beautiful landscape, which at the Dead Sea, is over 400 meters
(1,312 ft.) below sea level. The lowest point on the face of the earth,
this vast, stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers,
including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are
land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a
dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry,
agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.
The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar.
One of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, the Jordanian east coast of the Dead Sea has evolved into a major hub of both religious and health & wellness tourism in the region. A series of good roads, excellent hotels with spa and fitness facilities, as well as archaeological and spiritual discoveries make this region as enticing to today’s international visitors as it was to kings, emperors, traders, prophets and pilgrims in antiquity.
4- Amman & The North Amman
The capital since 1921, Amman contains about one-third of the population. It was formerly the Ammonite capital of Rabbath-Ammon and later the Graeco-Roman city of Philadelphia. Often referred to as the ‘white city’, Amman was originally, like Rome, built on seven hills which still form its natural focal points. With extensive modern building projects, Amman is now very well equipped with excellent hotels and tourist facilities, especially in the jabal (hill) areas. The central market (souk) is lively and interesting and provides a taste of a more traditional city.
Remains from Roman, Greek and Ottoman Turk occupations are dotted around the city, the main attraction being the Roman amphitheater from the second century AD in the center of the city. There is also the Jebel el Qalat (citadel) which houses the Archaeological Museum; the National Gallery of Fine Arts and the Popular Museum of Costume and Jewelry.
Owing to Jordan’s small size, any destination within the country may be reached by road from the capital, Amman, in one day.
Ruins of Umm Qais
5- Um Qais
Historically known as Gadara, Um Qais is one of Jordan's most unique Greco Roman Decapolis sites. Tucked away in the hillside, at a height of 378 meters above sea level, Um Qais offers an incomparable panoramic view. An exciting walk through the ages is in store for the visitor.
Remnants of civilizations past solidly stand side by side; as stone, placed by ancient hands, tells of many travelers who entered its ancient gates. The Greeks were the first to marvel at the breathtaking view and established their acropolis. Later, Romans, Byzantine and Ottomans would follow, leaving their own marks on this site. The most northerly of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's touristic sites, Um qais, throughout time, has continuously offered its visitors an unforgettable experience.
Um Qais is famous for its legacy of ancient civilizations. Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture and artifacts produced in this ancient city can be found throughout the site. Um Qais is a testament of a chronological settlement of ancient cultures in this strategic location.
Nestled in the hillside, Um Qais offers unparalleled breath taking panoramic view. Standing on the terrace, the blue green Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) and the majestic Syrian mountains of the Golan can be seen. On a clear day the snow capped Mount Hermon appears in the distance. This ancient acropolis also offers a serene view of the fertile northern Jordan valley. Breathing in the fresh air , one is impressed with the magnificent landscape surrounding the remnants and ruins.
The Cathedral at Jerash
close second to Petra on the list of favourite destinations in Jordan,
the ancient city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation
dating back more than 6,500 years.
Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities, the Decapolis League.
The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
its external Graeco - Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a subtle
blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect
a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted, The
Graeco - Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of
the Arab Orient.
The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.
its wealth of other attractions, Jordan’s splendid Red Sea resort is
often overlooked by modern-day visitors. But apart from being a
delightful place for discerning holidaymakers, this is actually a great
base from which to explore various places of interest in southern
Aqaba is a fun place. It is a microcosm of all the good things Jordan has to offer, including a fascinating history with some outstanding sites, excellent hotels and activities, superb visitor facilities, good shopping, and welcoming, friendly people, who enjoy nothing more than making sure their visitors have a good time.
But perhaps Aqaba’s greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience some of the best snorkeling and diving
in the world. The temperate climate and gentle water currents have
created a perfect environment for the growth of corals and a teeming
plethora of marine life. Here you can swim with friendly sea turtles and
dolphins as they dart amongst the schools of multicolored fish. Night
dives reveal the nocturnal sea creatures, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, as
they search for a midnight snack.
There are several dive centers in Aqaba. All offer well-maintained diving equipment, professional instructors, and transport by boat to a variety of dive sites.
as far back as five and half thousand years ago Aqaba has played an
important role in the economy of the region. It was a prime junction for
land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, a role it still plays
today. Because of this vital function, there are many historic sites to be explored within the area, including what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world.
Aqaba International Airport is situated just a 20-minute drive from the town centre and services regular flights from Amman as well as from several European cities. From the town centre, the borders of Israel, Egypt’s Sinai and Saudi Arabia are no more than a 30-minute drive.
Feminine Personification of the Sea Mosaic at Madaba
Just 30 kilometres from Amman,
along the 5,000-year-old Kings´ Highway, is one of the most memorable
places in the Holy Land. After passing through a string of ancient
sites, the first city you reach is Madaba, known as the “City of
Best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, Madaba is home to the famous 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of vividly colored local stone, it depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.
Madaba Mosaic Map covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St.
George, which is located northwest of the city centre. The church was
built in 1896 AD, over the remains of a much earlier 6th century
Byzantine church. The mosaic panel enclosing the Map was originally
around 15.6 X 6m, 94 square meters, only about a quarter of which is
Other mosaic masterpieces found in the church of the Virgin and the Apostles and in the Archaeological Museum, depict a rampant profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and the everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Literally, hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba's churches and homes.
In line with Jordan's commitment to restoring and preserving its mosaic masterpieces, Madaba’s extensive archaeological Park and Museum complex encompasses the remains of several Byzantine churches, including the outstanding mosaics of the Church of the Virgin and the Hyppolytus Hall, part of a 6th century mansion.
you approach Karak from the ancient Kings Highway to the east, or from
the Dead Sea to the west, the striking silhouette of this fortified town
and castle will instantly make you understand why the fates of kings
and nations were decided here for millennia.
An ancient Crusader stronghold, Karak sits 900m above sea level and lies inside the walls of the old city. The city today is home to around 170,000 people and continues to boast a number of restored 19th century Ottoman buildings, restaurants, places to stay, and the like. But it is undoubtedly Karak Castle which dominates.
The town is built on a triangular plateau, with the castle at its narrow southern tip. The castle is some 220m long, 125m wide at the north end, and 40m wide at the southern end where a narrow valley deepened by a ditch separates it from the adjoining and much higher hill – once Saladin's favourite artillery position. Throughout the castle, dark and roughly shaped Crusader masonry is easy to discern from the finely crafted blocks of lighter and softer limestone used in later Arab work.
The marvels of nature and the genius of medieval Arab military architecture have given northern Jordan two of the most important ecological and historical attractions in the Middle East: the sprawling pine forests of the Ajloun-Dibbine area, and the towering Ayyubid castle at Ajloun, which helped to defeat the Crusaders eight centuries ago.
Ajloun Castle (Qal'at Ar-Rabad) was built by one of Saladin's generals in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajloun, and to deter the Franks from invading Ajloun. Ajloun Castle dominated the three main routes leading to the Jordan valley and protected the trade and commercial routes between Jordan and Syria, it became an important link in the defensive chain against the Crusaders, who, unsuccessfully spend decades trying to capture the castle and the nearby village.
The original castle had four towers; arrow slits incorporated into the thick walls and it was surrounded by a moat averaging 16 meters in width and up to 15 meters deep.
Ajloun is just a short journey from Jerash through pine forest and olive groves and boasts scores of ancient sites, including water mills, forts and villages, all in the beautiful hills and valleys of north Jordan.
Nearby is the Ajloun Nature Reserve, a 13 square kilometre protected area of outstanding beauty and diverse wildlife. Within the reserve are two nature trails and chalet-style accommodation. The reserve is managed and maintained by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).