Jordan is a modern country, a holy river, and an ancient culture – a timeless physical and spiritual panorama of prophets, miracles, and human faith. Situated as it was between the great civilisations of Egypt to the west and Mesopotamia to the east, Jordan was destined to be a busy crossroads. The very name of the country retains the unique baptismal aura of a holy river and a blessed land. Visitors and citizens daily walk through the plains, valleys, hills, mountains and streams whose names were forever fixed into human consciousness by the profound messages of prophets who walked this land and crossed its river during their missions on Earth. Many of the sites where they performed miracles or reached out to ordinary people have been identified and excavated, and are easily accessible to visitors.
Stand on top of Mount Nebo, from which Moses saw the Holy Land. Experience the glory and splendour of ancient Rome in Jerash. Follow the footsteps of Indiana Jones in Petra, the ancient rose-red city. Ride a camel or 4x4 through the alien landscape of Wadi Rum, the most beautiful desert in the world. Dive in Aqaba and see lots of multi-coloured corals and tropical fish. Float on your back in the Dead Sea reading a newspaper. Compare the Crusader castles with the Arabic castles built as defence against crusaders. Be invited by a Bedouin family for tea. Jordan is a magnificent country that has a lot to offer in the way of culture and adventure. Above all, as a privileged and honoured guest, delight in the friendship of the Jordanian people and the heritage and beauty of their land.
Our "Friends on the Ground" in Jordan are based in Amman but the office can assist with all your travel arrangements to the region include Israel and Lebanon.
Getting your Bearings
The first step to planning your holiday is to understand the regions and how to get there. There are a multitude of direct flight options from London Airports to Jordan on both British Airways and Royal Jordanian Airlines. Regional connections are available with one-stop options on a number of airlines. Our Travel Team will be happy to assist you with your flight reservations.
Where to Go
Jordan's position at the crossroads of the Middle East has provided a rich cultural historiy and stunning archaeological sites as well as natural beauty spanning mountains, desert and beaches. A highly developed infrastructure, excellent hotels and traditional Arab hospitality make the country a joy to travel through.
The best time to go is between September to May with June to September offering the best value.
Contact our Travel Team to get the ball rolling.
AMMAN - THE CAPITAL CITY
No more than five hours drive from anywhere in the country, the capital city of Amman is a convenient base for any tour. Business and the arts are thriving here, and there are first-rate hotels, restaurants, galleries and shops. High above the city, at the ancient Citadel, observe the traces of Amman's many lives: the regal columns of a Roman temple, the elegant capitals of a Byzantine church, endlessly inventive carvings in the Umayyad Palace, fascinating displays in the Archaeological Museum, and digs and ruins everywhere you step.
At the foot of the Citadel, take a seat in the Roman Theatre, a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and still used for cultural events. For a glimpse of recent history, take a ride on the Hijaz Railway. This famous train was repeatedly sabotaged by the troops of Sherif Faisal and Lawrence of Arabia to defeat the Ottomans. Stroll through shops and suqs (markets), pause in the coffeehouses for a game of backgammon, or savour the sweets and mezzeh (appetisers) of traditional Jordanian cuisine.
Located north of Amman in the biblical land of Gilead, Jerash lies sheltered in a fertile valley. The city flourished in the first century AD and at its height, Jerash was home to over 25,000 people. Theatres and temples were continuously built during this time. The south theatre, the biggest of Jerash's three amphitheatres, is still used for performances of international music and dance groups at the annual Jerash Festival every summer. In 330 AD Emperor Constantine announced that Christianity would be the new religion of the Roman Empire's eastern half, and Jerash fell into the newly formed Byzantine segment.
A spate of building ensued, some temples were transformed into churches, and many new churches were erected, with mosaic floors similar to those found at Madaba. The massive ruins are spread over a large area divided and crisscrossed by colonnaded streets whose pavements still show the grooves of chariot wheels. The city is so well preserved that it feels as if it was just recently inhabited.
THE DEAD SEA
Ever since the days of Herod the Great, people have flocked to the Dead Sea in search of its curative secrets. Due to high annual temperatures, low humidity and high atmospheric pressure, the air is extremely oxygenated. With the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, Dead Sea water possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and the dark mud found on the shores have been used for over 2,000 years for therapeutic purposes. The excavations conducted at Bethany have uncovered a first century settlement with plastered pools and water systems that were used almost certainly for mass baptisms, as well as a fifth to seventh century Byzantine settlement with churches, a monastery and other structures most probably catering to religious pilgrims.
A survey made about the site has documented its role as part of an ancient sacred pilgrimage route that linked Jerusalem, the Jordan River and Mount Nebo. John the Baptist started his mission in the land of modern Jordan and it was at Bethany that he baptised Jesus. Arrested by Herod Antipas, John the Baptist was imprisoned in the fortress of Machareus (modern Mukawir) before being beheaded upon the request of Salome, Herod Antipas' stepdaughter.
Mount Nebo is the mountain where Moses was allowed to see the Holy Land, but not allowed to enter it. Today the mountain is a memorial site and includes the "Church of Moses", built by the first Christians. Ever since the first days of Christianity this mountain has been a holy place and a destination for pilgrimage.
Like Moses, you can have a great view over Jordan, the Dead Sea and Israel. When the weather is clear, you should even be able to see Jerusalem, which is about 60 kilometres away. For the best chance of a great view, come early in the morning or late in the evening.
A World Heritage Site, over 800 monuments can be found in Petra. Known as "the red rose city half as old as time", Petra was built from 800 BC to 100 AD by Nabetean Arabs and covers an area of about 100 square kilometres. In this era Petra was a fortress, carved out of craggy rocks in an area which was virtually inaccessible. In the first and second centuries, after the Romans took over, the city reached the peak of its fame.
When shipping slowly displaced caravan routes, the city's importance gradually dwindled. It fell into disuse and was lost to the world until 1812, when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johan Ludwig Burckhardt. These days Petra is Jordan's premier number tourist attraction and the Khazneh (the treasury) starred in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The landscape of Wadi Rum with its immensity, colour and awe-inspiring shapes creates an almost supernatural atmosphere. Otherwise known as the "Valley of the Moon", it was the setting for the film Lawrence of Arabia and the actual location where T.E. Lawrence set his camp. Lawrence's book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom was named after the seven natural columns varying in height located en route to Wadi Rum.
Bedouin camps are present in the Wadi which is still home to a number of Bedouin families who welcome visitors with the hospitality and generosity that Bedouins are so famous for. Explore the desert with a 4x4 driven by a local Bedouin, or overnight in a real Bedouin tent, in the middle of the desert.
Aqaba is the name of the modern port of Jordan, built over the remains of several very ancient sites. After the discovery of a Chalcholithic site Tell Maquss, there have been extensive excavations on the sea front to unearth the remains of Ayla, likely to be the biblical port Salomon.
Apart from its long history, Aqaba is also renowned for its crystal clear, all year round warm waters with the most spectacular coral reef in the Red Sea.
Tour Ideas to get you thinking!
Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk. Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk. For further information, please visit our Travel Advice page. The advice can change so check regularly for updates.
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