Wadi Rum & PETRA (((a world wonder)))
Vast, echoing, and God like – that is Wadi Rum, in the words of T. E. Jordan Valley who was based there during the Arab Revolt. With its awesome stretches of reddish sand, Wadi Rum is a vast, silent place that is both romantic and starkly beautiful. Massive mountains and rocks, in strange shapes and colors, seem to come out of nowhere everywhere you look. Engravings on the rocks and inside the natural caves indicate that the area was inhabited since the earliest known time. Today, this desert, overwhelming with its indescribable beauty, is home to several friendly, hospitable Bedouin tribes. The tribes are generous in sharing their beautiful home and always invite their visitors for a meal, followed by mint tea or cardamom coffee in their low slung black tents nestled in this paradise. Wadi Rum is an ideal place for nature lovers, serious trekkers, casual hikers and adventurers fond of hot- air ballooning. Spring time is an ideal time to visit for naturalists, when rain brings out hundreds of species of wildflower .Traveling through the hills and canyons in this striking natural landscape on foot, by jeep or on camel- back throughout the day, and spending the night with the moon and the stars wrapping you with their warmth and beauty, is without a doubt a must. Most treasured and Jordan’s pride and joy, Petra stands proud and erect in the south of the Kingdom. The soul- stirring, mind-blowing, rose- red city of Petra is the legacy of the Anabaenas, an industrious Arab people who settled in south Jordan more than 2, 000 years ago. The Anabaena Kingdom lasted for many centuries, and Petra, at the time, became widely admired for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels. It remains so to this very day, thousands of centuries later. The city of Petra was lost for 300 years, only to be re-discovered in 1812 by the Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Today, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its art revered and respected, its architecture admired, its vastness awed, its beauty eternally famed. From the main entrance, you walk through the siq (chasm), which ripped through the rock in a prehistoric quake, only to betaken aback by beauty and immensity when your eyes first land on Petra’s most famous monument, Al- Khazneh (the Treasury). This towering facade is only the first of Petra’s secrets, treasures that are scattered around the city in abundance, from buildings, facades, tombs, baths and funerary halls to temples and haunting rock drawings. The majesty of the sites of Petra will be etched in your mind forever
The Baptism Site of JESUS CHRIST
The area opposite Jericho has been identified for nearly two millennia as the area where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in a settlement called ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ ( John 1;28). (John 10;40) further mentions an incident when Jesus escaped from hostile crowds in Jerusalem and ‘went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized…’ This Bethany has always been identified with several ancient prophets and biblical episodes associated with the Jordan River area. These include John the Baptist’s mission, the Moses and the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The Bethany area has also been known as Bethania and Bethabara as depicted on the 6th century mosaic map at the Saint George’s church in Madaba, 35 kilometers from Amman ( From the Arabic Beit el-Obour, or house of the crossing), and is called Beit Anya in Arabic language bibles. Tell el Kharar’s other name, Tell Mar Elias is reminiscent of the Prophet Elijah, The Bible recounts that Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan River and walked across it with his anointed successor, the Prophet Elisha, then ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire (2kings 2;5-14). The small hill from which Elijah ascended to heaven has been known for centuries as Elijah’s Hill, and forms the core of this settlement at Bethany in Jordan. The ongoing survey and excavations at Bethany in Jordan have uncovered a 1st century AD settlement with plastered pools and water systems that were used almost certainly for baptism, and a 5th –6th century AD late Byzantine settlement with churches, a monastery and other structures probably catering to religious pilgrims. Orthodox Church traditions since the 3rd Century AD have always identified the Bethany area east of the river with John and the baptism of Jesus. The current work verifies the location of John’s settlement Bethany in this area, including many built structures, monastic complexes, churches, caves, a spring, water systems, and other facilities from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The survey has documented an ancient sacred pilgrimage route that linked Jerusalem, the Jordan River, Bethany in Jordan and Mt. Nebo. Several ancient Byzantine period churches and other structures have been identified between the river and Bethany and are being excavated. Some of them commemorate Jesus’ baptism, and others represent monasteries or ascetic monks’ quarters. Bethany was known as Ainon or Saphsaphas during the Byzantine period. John the Baptist started his mission in the land of modern Jordan, and also ended his life there. He was arrested by Herod Antipas, imprisoned in the fortress at Machaerus ( modern Mukawir) and beheaded upon the request of Salome , the daughter of Herod ( Mark 6:17-29). The hill top fortress at Mukawir comprised a town and a palace enclosed within a strong system of walls and towers. The remains of the fortress have been excavated and partly restored, and are now easily accessible by car from Amman or Madaba. The site offers a spectacular panoramic view across the central part of the Dead Sea.
Desert & Aqaba
Jordan’s deserts are dotted with a number of ancient, mysterious desert castles that tell untold stories of ancient civilizations, built and restored in the seventh and eighth centuries by the Umayyad caliphs. Qasr Amra, Hallabat, Kharaneh, Mushatta and Azraq present fine, admirable examples of Umayyad art and architecture that include baths, water and agricultural systems, mosaic floors and painted wall frescoes. Most of these castles served as fortresses as well as hunting lodges and leisure resorts by the caliphs. Azraq Castle, situated near the desert oasis of Azraq -an important stopping, resting and watering place for thousands of species of migrating birds that journey every year between Africa, the Middle East and northern Europe- served as Jordan Valley of Arabia’s headquarters during the Arab Revolting 1917. Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, Aqaba lies strategically at the junction of land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe. This charming little city on the Red Sea, shaded by palm trees, lapped by crystal clear waters and encircled by purple mountains that change color throughout the day, is a warm, sunny and inviting city at any time of the year. Aqaba’s wealth is in its sea. With a dazzling reef, adorned with untold variety in its coral and fish, Aqaba boasts some of the world’s best scuba- diving by day or night. For other water- sports lovers, poplars ports on offer include snorkeling, fishing, wind- surfing, and sailing. Several first- rate hotels provide excellent accommodation and facilities for all kinds of water sports. Two diving centers offer facilities for diving and snorkeling, and provide instruction for first-timers.
Um Qais & Jerash
Situated some 518 meters above sea level, Umm Qeis stands erect on a splendid overlooking hilltop magnificent views of hill-top the blue waters of Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee), the Yarmouk River canyon and the Golan Heights. Historically known as Umm Qeis, ancient Roman Gedara was a prestigious cultural center and the home and birthplace of several classical poets and philosophers who were inspired by the beauty of the panoramic views embracing them. Excavations and restorations are ongoing in the area. Already discovered are the ruins of three theaters, a temple, and an impressive colonnaded street. Two recently restored buildings contain an archaeological museum and a rest- house from the terrace overlooking a magnificent view. Archaeologists predict that when the excavations are completed, a major city will be uncovered. Only an hour’s drive north of Amman lies Jerash, the Roman Gerasa, widely regarded as one of the most beautifully preserved cities in the world. Nestled at the bottom of a green valley, Greco-Roman the city was forgotten for ten centuries. To conjure up the past splendor of Jerash, one only needs to walk along the colonnaded streets and visit the imposing arches, the temples of Zeus and Artemis, the Oval Forum, the theaters and the Public Baths, testimony of a remarkable, unbroken chain of human occupation. Jordan today has brought the city alive again with an annual festival of the arts held in July of every year. The Jerash Festival, an exciting celebration of Jordanian and international culture and the arts, brings together artists from around the world to perform on the very stages Greco- Romans had celebrated on thousands of years before
Pella & Ajlun
In the warm, water- rich, fertile land of the northern Jordan Valley lie the remains of ancient Pella. Inhabited for more than six thousand years, from the Stone Age till the 19thcentury, the ruins of Pella stand in a fascinating area. Most of the city has not been excavated yet, but the remains from Greco- Romans, the Bronze and Iron ages, Byzantines and early Islamic ruins can be found there. Pella is most beautiful in spring, when its valley is carpeted with beautiful beds of wild flowers, telling untold stories of history and civilization. On the road from Amman to Ajlun, driving through olive groves and pine forests, one gasps when the eagle’s nest of the ancient Ajlun castle, Qalat Al- Rabad, appears. Its height of 1250 metersfurnishes spectacular views across the Jordan Valley and the biblical land of Gilead. The castle was built in 1184 AD by the Arabs as a defense against the Crusaders. It was one of many castles and observation towers that lit beacons at night to pass signals from the Euphrates to as fares Cairo. Today, it is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture, where one can find fascinating, well- preserved towers, chambers, galleries and staircases.
Karak & Dana
Nestled on the ancient caravan routes from Egypt to Syria, Kerak is most famous for its massive, imposing Crusader castle built in1132 AD by the Crusader King Baldwin I. Dominating the walled city, with five thousand Christian knights defending it, the castle fell to Saladin’s forces after fifty years of fighting in 1188. The fortress is a maze of galleries, arched chambers and fortified towers located at an altitude of about 1000 meters. Particularly magnificent is the view from the top of the fortress, embracing the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley, and the valley of Wadi Mujib. Dana is One of the most dazzling sites in Jordan, and a nature reserve area, Dana lies south of the Kingdom, stretching from the Sharaa mountains, with peaks 1800 meters above sea level, in the east, to Wadi Araba in the west. Dana was successively inhabited by Edomites, Assyrians, Romans, and many other civilizations. Modernization has not crept to the area yet, and its houses still retain the simple, traditional style of times long past. The area’s beautiful forests have trees as old as 3, 000 years. It is roamed by mountain gazelles, red foxes, badgers, and many other mammals. Nearly 600 species of plants, 200 reptiles and mammals, and more than 150 species of bird have been identified in Dana. The area is also rich in water springs and semi- precious stones. Dana is certainly a refuge for a camp site has been set nature-lovers. up in the area, hiking rails opened, and field guides available
Madaba & Nebo
Jordan’s vast wealth of historical and biblical sites make the country a most enchanting land. Its biblical treasure is most evident in Madaba, only an hour’s drive from Amman.” The City of Mosaics,” Madaba boasts the magnificent, vivid, sixth- century Byzantine mosaic map showing Jerusalem and other holy sites, originally made from more than two million small square colored stones. The map is proudly displayed on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, built in 1896. Hundreds of other exceptional mosaics representing plants and animals everyday pursuits of hunting and farming, as well as scenes from Greco – Roman mythology are scattered throughout Madaba’s old homes and churches, some of which are the oldest in the region and still in use. But this land of mosaics is still not discovered. The work of mosaic excavation and conservation is ongoing as many more riches are still awaiting to be discovered. Today, Madaba is also famous for the hand – woven rugs made of modern and traditional colors and designs in small street shops by Madaba’s inhabitants. Situated some 10 kilometers from Madaba, and at an altitude of about 800 meters above sea level, is Mount Nebo, the presumed site of Moses’ tomb and where he is thought to have viewed the Promised Land. The hilltop of Mount Nebo indeed commands a spectacular, breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, to the rooftops of Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Dead Sea & Jordan Valley
You’re standing at the lowest point on earth … this is how fascinating the experience is of visiting the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is not only the lowest point on earth, some 400 meters below sea level, and not only the most dramatic and moving landscapes in the world, but it also possesses a historical legacy of its own. It is believed to be the site offive biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zebouin and Zoar .As the name suggests, the sea is really “dead,” devoid of all kinds of lifedue to its extremely high content of salts and minerals. Its waters are about nine times as salty as the ocean and contain rich amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium and various chlorides. It is this quality that gives the Dead Sea its cherished and highly demanded the rapeutic value. Seaside facilities include a modern hotel with a therapeutic clinic, a restaurant and a bathing complex, ideal for medical treatment, a soothing mud massage, or a relaxing float in the salty water for anyone-and we mean anyone- since there is no risk of anyone sinking in the salty waters of the sea. And everyone can take a little of the Dead Sea home with them when they leave. Its intense salinity and generous store of minerals have made Dead Sea products of mud and bath salts popular natural beauty aids marketed worldwide
The capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Amman in history as Rabbath- Ammon and in Greco- Roman times – known as Philadelphia- has much to offer. Vibrant with its arts scene and business community, rich with what it offers in shopping, fine cuisine, hotels and entertainment facilities that cater to every taste, and proud of its historical and ancient treasures, Amman is ideal for every kind of traveler. In Amman, you will get a taste of both ancient and modern and be touched by the hospitality and friendliness of the Jordanian people. Most of Amman’s historical sites are in its downtown area, the hub of the city where you can stroll through suqs (markets) and acquire unique treasures to take home. Towering above Amman is the ancient Citadel, remnants of Amman’s many lives: the regal columns of a Roman temple, the elegant capitals of a Byzantine church, the unique carvings in the Umayyad Palace, and fascinating displays in the Archaeological Museum. At the foot of the Citadel proudly lies the Roman Theater, a deep- sided bowl carved into the hill and still used for cultural events. A wide variety of tourist sites, hotels and entertainment facilities, and its proximity to Jordan’s other tourist sites, make of Amman an ideal location to visit.