For most people, the archaeological site of Petra is the definition of Jordan. While Petra is a marvel, one that people from all over the world travel to see, it is far from everything that this Middle Eastern country has to offer. Jordan happens to house a wide array of historical and natural sites, which attracts history lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Jordan’s capital Amman presents a beautiful blend of both modern and historical landmarks, ranging from the celebrated Roman Theater, to the Amman Citadel. The well-conserved city is a great place to experience Jordanian culture. Other important sites in Amman include Royal Automobile Museum, Darat al Funun art gallery, the Jordan Museum and the Mosque of King Abdullah I. Amman also presents itself as a central hub, enabling visits to various locations as day trips. Ajloun – located about 70km from Amman, is an ancient market town with a ruined castle and a 600-year-old mosque. On your way to Ajloun from Amman, don’t miss Jerash – a historical town that welcomes you with a 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch. The town’s impressive Roman architecture is some of the best-preserved in the Middle East.
From Amman, it is also possible to make a road trip to Madaba – an ancient town known for its excellent collection of 6th-century Byzantine-era mosaics of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. The town happens to be located about 30km away from the Dead Sea – the lowest point on the planet. This sea has a high salinity level, which makes swimmers float on the water without effort! Located in the Dead Sea region, the river canyon of Wadi Mujib offers some great day hiking opportunities. Further south lies the UNESCO world heritage site of Petra – the highlight of any trip to Jordan.
The lost city of Petra, which is partly hidden in the pink sandstone cliffs can be traced back to 300 BC. The 45m-high Al-Khazneh is the most popular historical landmark of Jordan’s Pink (Rose) City. It was once a lively capital of the Nabataean Kingdom with close to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak. On your way to Petra, you can make a pit-stop at the Crusader Castle in Karak, one of the largest in the Levant.
About 120km south of Petra lies the UNESCO world heritage site of Wadi Rum, which has been used as filming location for numerous movies including the Martian and Red Planet because of its Mars-like landscape. The closest one can get to an overnight planetary jaunt, camping in Bedouin tents in Wadi Rum is also the best way to experience the lives of the Bedouin people, which is a fascinating tale of hardship. From here, you can visit Aqaba – a coastal city on the Red Sea dotted with beaches and beautiful resorts.
Due to factors relating to geography and world politics, it becomes necessary to address the misconceptions about Jordan. It is one of the safest countries in the Middle East with friendly locals and delicious food. From exploring one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – Petra to floating on the lowest point on Earth – Dead Sea, Jordan is a truly remarkable place to spend a holiday.
The lost city of Petra can be traced back to the 300 BC when it was the lively capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom.