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Jordan is a land steeped in history. It has been home to some of mankind's earliest settlements and villages, and relics of many of the world’s great civilizations can still be seen today. As the crossroads of the Middle East, the lands of Jordan and Palestine have served as a strategic nexus connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe. Thus, since the dawn of civilization, Jordan's geography has given it an important role to play as a conduit for trade and communications, connecting east and west, north and south. Jordan continues to play this role today. Take a look at some of Jordan's historical treasures by clicking here or learn more about the history of Jordan's major attractions by selecting a destination from the list below
Dead Sea
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Dead Sea

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The most spectacular site, is the Dead Sea, which at 400 meters below sea level is the lowest body of water on earth. Surrounded by arid hills, as devoid of life as the sea itself, the Dead Sea glistens under a burning sun with barely a ripple disturbing its surface. The rocks that meet its lapping edges become covered with a snow-like thick gleaming deposit of white salt. It is this extremely high concentration of salt that gives the Dead Sea waters their renowned therapeutic qualities and their buoyancy. Because the salt content is eight times that of most world's oceans, you can float in the Dead Sea without even trying. Swimming in the Dead Sea is a truly unique experience not to be missed.

Amman
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Amman

Amman

Amman the capital of Jordan is a city which geographically straddles seven hills and historically sits astride many centuries. The city's modern buildings blend with the remnants of ancient civilizations. The profusion of gleaming white houses, kebab stalls with roasting meat, and tiny cafes where rich Arabian coffee is sipped in the afternoon sunshine, conjure a mood straight from a thousand and one nights. It is a city with a timeless ambiance, where a slight detour off the beaten track reveals the wonders of a Bronze Age settlement or a Byzantine monastery. .In its souqs (markets), you can bargain for fruit, perfume, gold or other exquisite luxuries of the Middle East. For Businessmen, Amman offers the most up-to-date convention and communication facilities. Its strategic position and convivial atmosphere, make it one of the foremost centers of finance & trade in the Middle East today Roman Theater: This magnificently restored theatre is the most obvious and impressive remnant of Roman Philadelphia, and is the highlight of Amman for most foreign visitors. The theatre itself is cut into the northern side of a hill, and has a seating capacity of 6000. The best time for photographs is the morning, when the light is soft � although the views from the top tiers just before sunset are also superb. The theatre was probably built in the 2nd century AD during the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD 138�61). It was built on three tiers: the rulers, of course, sat closest to the action, the military secured the middle section, and the general public perched and squinted from the top rows. Theatres often had religious significance, and the small shrine above the top row of seats once housed a statue of the goddess Athena (now in the Jordan Museum), who was prominent in the religious life of the city. Full restoration of the theatre began in 1957. Unfortunately, non-original materials were used, which means that the present reconstruction is partly inaccurate. However, the final product is certainly impressive, especially considering that the theatre has again become a place of entertainment in recent years. Concerts are sometimes put on here in the summer� check with the tourist office or ask at your hotel. Attractiomns: Citadel Mount: he area known as the Citadel sits on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel Al Qala�a (about 850m above sea level), and is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon. Occupied since the Bronze Age, it's surrounded by a 1700m-long wall, which was rebuilt many times during the Bronze and Iron Ages, as well as the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. There's plenty to see, but the Citadel's most striking sights are the Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad Palace. Artefacts dating from the Bronze Age show that the hill was a fortress and/or agora (open space for commerce and politics) for thousands of years. The two giant standing pillars are the remains of the Roman Temple of Hercules. Once connected to the Forum (downtown), the temple was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 161�80). The only obvious remains are parts of the podium and the columns, which are visible from around town. There�s also a rather touching remnant of a stone-carved hand, which shows the level of detail that would have adorned the temple in its glory days. Nearby is a lookout with sweeping views of the downtown area. The Citadel�s most impressive series of historic buildings is focused around the Umayyad Palace, behind the small (and rather old-fashioned) archaeological museum. Believed to be the work of Umayyad Arabs and dating from about AD 720, the palace was an extensive complex of royal and residential buildings and was once home to the governor of Amman. Its lifespan was short � it was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 749 and was never fully rebuilt. Coming from the south, the first major building belonging to the palace complex is the domed audience hall, designed to impress visitors to the royal palace. The most intact of the buildings on the site, the hall is shaped like a cross, mirroring the Byzantine church over which it was built. After much debate as to whether the central space had originally been covered or left open to the elements, consensus came down on the side of the ceiling dome, which was reconstructed by Spanish archaeologists. A courtyard immediately north of the hall leads to a 10m-wide colonnaded street, lined with numerous arches and columns, and flanked by residential and administrative buildings. Further to the north is the former governor�s residence, which includes the throne room. East of the audience hall is the Umayyad Cistern, an enormous circular hole with steps leading down to the bottom, which once supplied water to the palace and surrounding areas. The small disc on the floor in the centre once supported a pillar that was used for measuring water levels. Near the museum to the south is the small Byzanrine Basillica, most of which has been destroyed by earthquakes. It dates from the 6th or 7th century AD, and contains a few dusty mosaics. The only access roads to the Citadel are from Al Malek Ali Bin Al Hussein St. It�s better to hire a taxi for the trip up (around JD1 from downtown) and save some energy for the recommended walk down. Steps lead from east of the Citadel complex, past a viewing platform to Hashemi St, opposite the Roman Theatre. This makes a fine start to a walking tour of downtown. Jordan Museum: The Jordan Museum, located next to the City Hall, is one of the best in the Middle East. Housed in a grand modern building, a series of beautifully presented and informative displays tell Jordan's historical epic from the first people through the Nabataean civilisation to the cusp of the modern era. Highlights include the oldest-known human statues (the spookily modern 9500-year-old plaster mannequins of Ain Ghazal), Jordan's share of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a host of remains from Petra and surrounds. Darrat Al Funnon: On the hillside to the north of the downtown area, this cultural haven is dedicated to contemporary art. The main building features an excellent art gallery with works by Jordanian and other Arab artists, an art library, and workshops for Jordanian and visiting sculptors and painters. A schedule of upcoming exhibitions, lectures, films and public discussion forums is available on the website. Almost as significant as the centre�s artistic endeavours are the architectural features of the site. At the base of the complex, near the entrance, are the excavated ruins of a 6th-century Byzantine church. Buildings further up the hill are mostly restored residences from the 1920s in the lovely Mediterranean-Venetian style that was popular in the region in the 1920s. There is also a peaceful cafe and gardens with views over Amman. Access is easiest on foot. From near the southern end of Al Malek Al Hussein St, head up the stairs under the �Riviera Hotel� sign. At the top of the stairs, turn immediately right onto Nimer Bin Adwan St and walk uphill for 50m where you need to take the left fork. The entrance gate (no English sign) is on the right after a few metres. Royal Automobile Museum: You really don't have to be a car enthusiast to enjoy this museum, which displays more than 70 classic cars and motorbikes from the personal collection of King Hussein. It's something of a gem, and a great way to recount the story of modern Jordan. Vehicles range from pre-1950s glories to modern sports cars, taking in chrome-clad American cruisers to regal Rolls-Royces along the way, with accounts of presidential visits, Hollywood stars and defunct Middle Eastern monarchies enlivening the narrative. The final display of suitably dusty rally cars is a neat rejoinder to the polish and chrome of the rest of the vehicles, while outside Matt Damon's ruggedly cool Martian rover from The Martian (filmed in Wadi Rum) gives a vision of possible future road trips. The museum is in the northwestern suburbs, north of 8th Circle. King Abdullah Mosque: Close to the Jordanian Parliament, capped by a beautiful blue, mosaic dome, is one of the most famous and most recognizable structures in Amman: the King Abdullah Mosque. It was built by the late King Hussein between 1982 and 1990 � as a memorial to his grandfather and can accommodate thousands of worshipers. An Islamic museum is located within the mosque. As a reflection of the city�s cosmopolitan character, it is very close to a Coptic church.

Petra
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Petra

Petra

Hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains, the rock-carved city of Petra is full of mysterious charm. The approach through the cool gloom of the Siq, a long narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun, provides a dramatic contrast with the magic to come. Suddenly the gorge opens into a natural square dominated by Petra's most famous monument, the Khasneh, whose intricately carved facade glows in the dazzling sun. More facades beckon the visitor on until the ancient city gradually unfolds, one monument leading to the next for kilometer after kilometer. The sheer size of the city and the quality of beautifully carved facades is staggering and leads one to reflect on the creativity and industry of the Nabateans who made Petra their capital more than 2,000 years ago. From their capital at Petra the Nabateans had established an elaborate network of caravan routes which brought spices, incense, myrrh, gold, silver and precious stones from India and Arabia, to be traded onto the west. From the wealth they acquired, they adorned their city with palaces, temples, and arches. Many that were free-standing have largely disappeared but many were carved into the rock i.e. the treasury, the monumental tombs, the high place of sacrifice. These still remain today in a condition of perfection so staggering that you feel you must have entered a time wrap. Petra is an enchanting place that captivates and excites the senses. Its overwhelming size, rich textures and stunning surroundings create an ambiance almost impossible to describe. As you set off from the City's entrance gate, at this stage the valley is quite wide and open. This section is the approach to the narrow gorge and is know as Bab Es-Siq, gateway of the siq. The first monuments you pass are the curious Djinn Blocks, a cluster of three free standing rock cubes just to the right of the track. Continuing along the path you come to the Obelisk Tomb, carved out of the cliff. At one point the passageway goes from a wide breach to a dark chasm not more than a few feet across. Suddenly in the space of a few footsteps, you get your first glimpse of Petra's most fabled achievement, El-Khazneh (the Treasury), which looms up in the brilliant sunshine, carved from the rock, defiled by man. At the outer siq's widest point a gully runs abruptly off to the south. The path takes you to the high place: an ancient Nabatean sacrificial site with an Altar cut from the rock. For those who can stand the strenuous climb, the sweeping view of Petra is well worthwhile. Past the altar the track continues leading to the garden Tridinium (the garden temple complex). There are two free-standing colonnades, in front of which are a remnants of a shrine. Continuing on, one passes dozens of wall niches, before arriving at the Roman Soldier's Tomb, and a further Triclinium. Petra has dozens of sacred sites. On a windswept ridge high above the city, the Nabatean people extolled their gods at the High Place known as El-Madbah in Arabic. In an area known as the street of facades, many classical Nabatean ruins can be seen. The Outer siq makes a sudden turn northwards and leads to the Roman Theatre which was built in typical Roman style. The substantial building Qasr El Bint Faroun (Palace of the Pharoa's daughter'), demonstrates that the Nabateans were capable of creating free-standing building. Petra's second most spectacular construction after the treasury is El-Deir (The Monastery). For a feeling of Petra's immensity and the sheer power of the rock, the trip is essential. Across from the Qasr Bint a jumbo of steps lead up to Petra's Museum. The room housing the small collection is the most monumental exhibit of all.

Jerash
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Jerash

Jerash

A visit to the spectacular Roman ruins of Jerash immediately transports the visitor two thousand years back in time. The city�s many splendid monumental remains, still retain the atmosphere of the once thriving metropolis, famous in its own time for magnificent temples, amphitheaters, and plazas. From the buildings and the many other well preserved structures, it is easy to imagine the city in its heyday: Down the colonnaded streets, chariots would have trundled, their wheels etching ever deeper the already well-worn grooves. The little shops that line the streets would have stocked exotic goods brought in from Persia, and Egypt, and the bustle of the city would have been punctuated by other sounds; the gentle splash of water flowing from the fountains of the Nymphaeum; The tapping of builders and masons at work; and the occasional roar of a satisfied crowd being entertained in the amphitheaters. Although now in ruins the spirit of Roman Gerasa lives on The city�s golden age came under Roman rule 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 theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. Beneath 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 ancient traditions of the Arab Orient. The Jerash festival, held in July every year, transforms the ancient city into one of the world�s liveliest and most spectacular culture events. The festival features folklore dances by local and international groups, ballet, concerts, plays, opera, popular singers and sales of traditional handicrafts, all in the brilliantly floodlit dramatic surroundings of the Jerash ruins.

Desert Castles
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Desert Castles

Desert Castles

Desert Castles Stretching east from Amman is a desert region bewildering in its size and ruthless climate; a place of sand and barren basalt landscapes which bear witness to anciant glories. The Ummayed Caliphs of the early Islamic era, out of sofio economic and political concernswho cherished the hard desert life, built a string of palaces, hunting lodges, baths, meeting places, caravanserias and fortresses, in what were then the farthest corners of the desert. Known collectively as the Desert Castles or Desert Palaces, (Qasr in Arabic), the constructions demonstrate the best of early Islamic Architectural ingenuity. QASR HALLABAT One of the easiest of all the Desert Castles to reach from Amman is situated north-east of the capital, just off the main road that links Zarqa with Azraq. The fortress is the most ostentatious and complete of all the Ummayed compounds in Jordan. Its traditional square shape with square corner towers, was constructed on the site of an earlier bastion of second century AD origin. Some scholars have suggested that this fort was erected by the Nabateans. An inscription reveals that the main fortifications were put up during the rule of Caracella (AD 198-217). However, the Ummayed overhaul of the site tore down most of the Roman and Byzantine craftsmanship, replacing it with ornate frescoes. QASR AZRAQ Crafted from the region�s black basalt rocks, the town�s ancient fortress, with its ominous ambiance, has taken advantage of Azraq�s important strategic position. It is thought to have been initiated by the Roman�s during the last years of the 3rd Century AD. Numerous remodellings and rebuildings continued as the castle changed hands. Its location protected the town�s key water source. It was redesigned by the Mamlukes in AD 1237, and was also used by the Byzantines, Ummayeds and Mamlukes. It is almost square-shaped with walls 80 meters long encircling a central courtyard. At each corner is an oblong tower. The primary entrance is through a small doorway, protected by a basalt hinged door. Inside is a cool chamber that leads into the central courtyard. Various rocks in this vestibule are inscribed with Greek and Latin. Within the main courtyard is a mosque and beside it is the main well. QASR AMRA BATH HOUSE Amra is 85 km (19 miles) south west of Azraq. Of all Ummayed buildings in eastern Jordan, Amra is the most loved, and charming. Amra gains its fame from the outstanding frescoes adorning its interior walls and ceilings. They are thought to be the earliest example of pictorial art made in the Islamic era, having been painted during the middle years of the 8th Century AD if not earlier. The designs have stood the passage of time remarkably well. QASR MUSHATTA Qasr Mushatta is extraordinary because of its grandeur and construction, its colossal size and its amazing location. Mushatta is square in shape with its immense yellow brick walls stretching 144 meters (158 yards) in each direction. At least 23 round towers nestled along the walls. The palace is usually attributed to the Ummayed Caliph Walid II, who would have constructed it between AD 743 and AD 744. It was never completed. QASR MUWAQQAR It is no more than about 14 km (9 mile) north-east of Qasr Mushatta. The palace once stood on a peak above the cross roads of several ancient desert tracks. We know, from the Kufic-inscribed water gauge, once in a huge cistern rear by, that Muwaqqar was constructed by the Ummayed Caliph Yazid II Ibn Abd el Malik. Alas, almost nothing remains today of the palace. QASR KHARANA Qasr Kharana is located 55 km (34 miles) east of Amman with its imposing walls, and panoramic views, it looks like a castle, but experts think that it was built as a palace. It is maintained that Kharana was probably not a caravanserai as there was no substantial water source or major trading route passing by. Instead, it is suggested that Kharana was conceived as a lavish meeting place for Ummayed leaders. QASR AIN ES SIL Like several of the Qasers of Jordan�s eastern desert, Qasr Ain es Sil was never used as a palace. It was a farming estate with a bathing complex attached. QASR AL QASTAL Qastal which gives its name to the modern village adjacent to it, is one of the oldest of Ummayed palaces. The remains include a complete range of buildings and facilities, such as a mosque, central palace, cemetery, small houses, baths, a reservoir and even a dam. Ummayed ingenuity becomes apparent when you realize that the dam area was formed from the quarry which itself supplied the stone for Qastal�s palace.

Little Petra (Siq al-Barid)
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Little Petra (Siq al-Barid)

Petra

Petra's northern suburb of Siq al-Barid, 9km north of Wadi Musa town, is often touted to tourists as Little Petra which, with its short, high gorge and familiar carved facades, isn't far wrong. However, although it sees its share of tour buses, the place retains an atmosphere and a stillness that have largely disappeared from the central areas of Petra. Adding in its location in gorgeous countryside and its proximity to Beidha (a rather less inspiring Neolithic village), it's well worth half a day of your time. The route to Little Petra follows the road north from the Movenpick hotel.

Ma
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Ma'in Hot Springs - Spa

Dead Sea

Jordan is famous for its natural hot spring spa resorts open to guests for the purposes of treatment and bathing. There are 3 main resorts. The Dead Sea Spa Hotel, which is aimed at helping patients with skin diseases, using the natural healing power of the Dead Sea. Another resort famous for its healing properties is the Mai'n Spa Village which is set around a series of hot springs. One of the most popular facilities is the invigorating body mud pack treatment followed by a hot bath, a fascinating experience... And finally al Hemma, a tiny village with an unspoilt charm, due to its position at the end of the road. It was there that the famous Roman baths were situated at the hot springs which are still used today

Dead Sea Panoramic Complex
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Dead Sea Panoramic Complex

Dead Sea

Walk among cacti to this lookout, high above the Dead Sea, and then watch raptors wheel in the wadis below, and you will have to pinch yourself to think that you are standing at sea level. This museum and restaurant complex offers breathtaking views, especially on a crisp day in winter when the Judaea Mountains across the water seem as if they are just an arm�s stretch away. A short hiking trail called the Zara Cliff Walk (1.4km; easy) follows the edge of the wadi from the complex and highlights local flora and fauna. You will hear the Tristram�s Grackles before you see these birds as they screech across the wadi. Hyrax can also be spotted here. The complex is clearly signposted off the Dead Sea Highway, about 10km south of the Dead Sea Resorts. The Dead Sea Panorama makes a worthwhile stop on a day circuit from Madaba, Mt Nebo, Bethany, the Dead Sea and Hammamat Ma�in, either by hired car or taxi (JD50 through Charl at the Mariam Hotel). There is no public transport.

Wadi Jadid Dolmen Field
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Wadi Jadid Dolmen Field

Madaba

More terraced fields than wadi, Wadi Jadid is locally renowned for its remarkable collection of early Bronze Age burial chambers and stone memorials. Known as dolmens (�dolmen� means stone table), the latter date to between 5000 and 3000 BC and consist of two upright stones capped by a bridging stone. How the huge bridging stones were winched into position remains unknown: it�s little wonder that social anthropologists regard them as proof of early social cohesion. There are about 40 dolmens scattered across this unmarked site, with at least 12 in good condition, though some are badly graffitied. Some locals know the site as Beit Al Ghula (�House of Ghosts�). There are thousands more scattered across Jordan, especially around Ar Rawdah. From the road, it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the nearest dolmen and an hour to reach more distant groups. The site is near the village of Al Fiha, 10km southwest of Madaba, but you need to be in the know to find it. The best way to visit is by checking on directions with the Mariam Hotel in Madaba, downloading a map from its website or joining a tour (JD12, plus JD3 for each hour spent at the site). With your own vehicle, you can continue downhill to the Dead Sea (30 minutes) after Wadi Jadid. The road is narrow and potholed towards the end, but it threads through beautiful and varied terrain, with Bedouin camps, green valleys of grapevines, olive groves and citrus orchards. As it descends to the desert floor, the road passes a spring with a small waterfall � almost miraculous in the arid landscape.

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