Travel In Jordan
Amman is the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, known in history as Rabbath - Ammon and in Graeco - Roman times as Philadelphia. No more than four hours drive from anywhere in the country, Amman is a convenient base for any tour within the Kingdom. Your hosts, the Jordanians, are wonderfully gracious and welcoming and most will surprise you with their excellent English. The city is crowned by the Citadel, a hill with the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, and a museum with artifacts dating back to the earliest settlement in the region some 700,000 years ago. At the foot of the Citadel lies the 5,000 seat Roman Theater.
Only a short hour's drive north of Amman is the Graeco -Roman city of Jerash (Gerasa in ancient times). This ancient city of Jerash is remarkable for its unbroken chain of human occupation. At a well - watered site in the hills of Gilead, one will find remains from Neolithic times, as well as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Omayyad and others. Jerash's golden age, however, arrived with Roman rule, and today it is acknowledged as one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the World. One can walk beneath four imposing gates, or down the "Street of Columns" north from the Oval Plaza while stepping over the tracks of chariot wheels still visible in the paving stones.
Madaba & Mt. Nebo
The trip south of Amman along the 5,000 years old King’s Highway is one of the most memorable journeys in the Holy Land, passing through a string of ancient sites. The first city along the way from the north is Madaba, "the City of Mosaics" which has been intermittently inhabited for nearly 3,500 years. The chief attraction in this city is a wonderfully vivid, six-century Byzantine mosaic map showing Jerusalem and other holy sites; there are also literally hundreds of other mosaics scattered throughout Madaba's churches and homes. Ten minutes to the west is Mount Nebo, the memorial of Moses, the presumed site of the prophet's death and burial place. From a platform in front of the church one can enjoy a breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.
Jordan abounds in archaeological riches, from Neolithic ruins to the desert castles of Omayyad Princes. Chief among these national treasures is the soul stirring, rose - red city of Petra, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans, an industrious Arab people who settled in south Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Much of Petra's appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge. From the main entrance, the visitor travels on foot through the awesome "SIQ", an immense crack in the sandstone that winds for one kilometer between overhanging cliffs. Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the Siq and various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, facades, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples and a 3000 seat theater from the lst Century AD.
The Dead Sea is a destination for visitors from around the world due to its unique water qualities, climate and historical and spiritual legacy. This "Sea of Salt" sits amidst the sensational mountains of the Biblical Kingdoms of Moab, Ammon and Edom to the east, and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west. Enjoy a buoyant swim while reading a newspaper or just watch the thick, gleaming snow like rocks that give the area a strange surreal sense as if it were in another world. One should always remember that this is the lowest point on Earth and a place that is believed to be the site of five biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zebouin and Zoar.
Aqaba is the most cultural gem on the Red Sea. Its sandy beaches and coral reefs are the most pristine. Indigo colored deep-water lies just off shore bringing kaleidoscopic marine life within easy reach. It is the resort where fantasy, sun and sea meet the charms and atmosphere of antiquity. For water sports and winter warmth, Aqaba is mild, sunny and inviting, fringed with palm trees, lapped by the crystal clear waters of the gulf, cooled by a steady northerly breeze and ringed by mountains that change in color with the change of hours. Of special interest among the ancient and medieval archaeological sites are the early Islamic city called Ayla, the Aqaba Fort and a very fine museum.