You will be immersed in ancient history traveling and exploring Jordan. The country is home to numerous and impressive archeological sites, natural wonders, a striking desert landscape that will take your breath away and seaside resorts. There is an array of things to discover in this beautiful country.
One of the most well known landmarks of Jordan is Petra, a vast city, carved into the rock walls by the Nabateans, and for thousands of years, has remained in great condition. You will be in awe with the architectural achievements and its famous Al Khazneh, also known as The Treasury, one of the most elaborate temples in Petra. Ruins are everywhere in Jordan, like in the city of Jerash, one of the best preserved Greco-Roman towns in the world where you'll walk through temple ruins, colonnaded streets and see the Forum, with the best views of it from the steps of the Temple of Zeus. Jordan also borders the Dead Sea, a salt lake that is famously known for its health benefits and its mineral-rich black mud used for therapeutic treatments.
Too many people have misconceptions of the Middle East. However, Jordan enjoys a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere among the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. There are endless ancient sites to visit that will amaze you. These 20 photos of places in Jordan shows how magical this country is and how these specific areas look more like they were photo shopped, but are indeed real places in Jordan.
Petra in Jordan is considered one of the New 7 wonders of the world and is one of the most popular sites in the country. Petra is known for it's elaborate rock-cut architecture with rocks giving way to the facade of the Treasury or Al Khazneh - a massive and detailed temple that is believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean king Arteas IV in the 1st century AD. It's also said that Al Khazneh also got its name from a legend about pirates hiding their treasures inside the enormous structure, while others believe that treasures from ancient pharaohs have been placed inside. This is certainly one of the most beautiful sites in Jordan and has become a national symbol of the country.
19 See It To Believe It
Petra is a great tourist attraction. People coming to see this wondrous attraction enter the city through the Siq, a narrow gorge, about a mile long, where you'll walk past impressive soaring high cliffs before getting a glimpse of the Treasury. The Treasury was hand carved into the red sandstone mountain and shows the extraordinary engineering by the people who carved it. The Petra valley is filled with architectural structures that will leave you in awe. There are hundreds of tombs carved from the mountains, a Roman-style theatre that could seat 3,000 people, and high above and overlooking the valley, a monastery.
18 The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is a salt lake, which borders Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is the lowest point on the earth's surface with the surface and shores of the sea being 1,388 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea is also 1,237 feet deep, making it the deepest hyper saline lake in the world. With the Dead Sea's high concentration of salt, it means that people can float freely without having to tread water due to the natural buoyancy.
17 The Dead Sea's Health Benefits
Thousands of people have made their way to the Dead Sea because of its health-giving properties. The Dead Sea Salt has been known to have a lot of benefits for treatments of acne, eczema and psoriasis. It is also believed that the Dead Sea helps to relieve arthritis. "This is because warmth and buoyancy reduce the release of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances present in a variety of tissues and body fluids that induce inflammation and therefore pain," states an article titled, "Why the Dead Sea is Good For You." It's also believed that the Dead Sea can cleanse the body of toxins and that even just floating in it can boost a person's energy.
Amman is the capital of Jordan and most populous of all the cities. There are numerous ancient ruins here as well as towering skyscrapers, making this a city a mix of old and new. There are plenty of attractions to keep you busy in Amman, including, the ancient Citadel where numerous excavations revealed Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic remains, the King Abdullah Mosque, the Roman Theatre, and the Jordan museum. After you've seen all of these ancient wonders, there are also markets that can be found in the historic town where you can get a true sense of how the people of Jordan live.
15 A Mix Of Old And New
It's amazing how a city has kept its ancient past while building new skyscrapers to create a more modern city. There are so many things to do in Amman as we mentioned above, but to really see how special this city is, one blogger writes that tourists should instead watch the sunset atop the Citadel, sit on the steps of the Roman Amphitheater, check out the street art in downtown Amman, visit the stunning Abu Darwish mosque and eat a delicious falafel in the downtown area. This city is full of wonders and its mix of old and new is something you don't see often on your travels.
14 Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is the most well known desert for a tourist to explore. The desert is absolutely stunning and is filled with rock formations, golden dunes and is most famously known as the romantic backdrop to David Lean's film, Lawrence of Arabia. Tours of Wadi Rum are given by camel rides, where tourists can sleep overnight right in the desert, chow down on delicious Jordanian food and explore the landscape. Wadi Rum's landscape is truly breathtaking and is a sight to see if visiting Jordan. It is just a four-hour drive from the capital of Amman, and a less than two-hour drive from Petra.
13 Wadi Rum Is Full Of History
While Wadi Rum is a filmmaker's favorite location to emulate the surface on Mars, it is also loaded with history. The Nabateans, who have left rock drawings, inscriptions and temples, once inhabited the area. Khazali Canyon is well known for Nabatean etchings of humans and animals and in 1970, archaeologists excavated the Nabatean Temple, the most famous temple in the area. Close to the temple, more ruins were found of what is believed to be the oldest baths in Jordan. The Nabateans were known for their skills as water engineers so you will find the remains of dams, channels and water reservoirs.
At Jerash, you'll find the largest ancient Roman site with amazing temple ruins, theatres, ceremonial gates and colonnaded streets. At the entrance of Jerash you'll see the Hadrian's Arch, behind the arch is the hippodrome, which hosted chariot races, a fountain named nymphaeum, which is dedicated to the water nymphs, the remains of the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Artemis, which towers of Jerash, which was reached by two magnificent gateways, the Forum, complete with a semi-circle of columns and the striking Roman Amphitheatre. Jerash is definitely one of the most and best-preserved Roman cities in the entire world.
11 Jerash Is The Most Interesting Site In Jordan
It will take you a few hours to see all the striking Roman ruins at Jerash. This once great Roman city houses some of the finest Greco-Roman architecture in the entire world. It's hard to miss any of the important sites here, especially the ones we mentioned above. The main attraction is by far the Forum, bordered by 160 columns, and while you are there, climb to see the remains of the Temple of Zeus and you'll also see an amazing panorama view of the Forum. Also, don't forget to check out the Jerash Archeological Museum, which is a small museum of ancient coins, statues and sarcophagi found after numerous excavations.
Aqaba is Jordan's resort city that sits on the Red Sea and has a series of hotels with breathtaking views and large ports. If you are a fan of snorkeling, there is nothing better than going snorkeling in the beautiful Red Sea and exploring its coral reef and you won't believe what you'll see under water if you go diving here. Aqaba is a booming tourist town, but also holds its own history. The Mamluk Fort, also known as the Aqaba Castle, includes a prison and execution chamber and later, see the Ruins of Ayla the first Islamic city outside the Arabian Peninsula. Aqaba is fairly easy to explore and while the beach is enjoyable, the ocean is so much better.
Madaba is another ancient town in Jordan and is best known for its Byzantine-era mosaics. This small town is known for its intricate mosaics and the people living here and its local artists are continuing to preserve the town's artistic traditions. When the first mosaics were found during the building of new buildings, the people made sure to keep the mosaics in tact and the northern part of the city turned out to be the area with the greatest concentration of mosaics. Literally, there are hundreds of mosaics from the 5th through the 7th century scattered throughout Madaba's homes and churches.
8 The Church Of Saint George
One of the main attractions in Madaba is the Madaba Mosaic Map, which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. The church was built in 1896 AD, and displays a detailed map of the Middle East from ancient times. On the map, a tourist can spot Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem and the Mediterranean Sea. It is the world's oldest map depicting the holy land and gives us a glimpse of the Middle East during biblical times. While the map covers areas from Egypt to Lebanon, the gem is the detailed representation of Jerusalem, showing structures and streets in the city including Damascus Gate, the Church of the Holy Sepulchers, and the Tower of David.
Al-Karak, Jordan is most known for its Crusader Castle depicted above. It is one of the three largest castles in the region, with the other two in Syria. According to ancient history, the castle was a place of legend in the battles between the Crusaders and the Islamic armies of Saladin. Walking to the fortified castle will make you feel like you're in the past with a maze of stone-vaulted halls and endless passageways. The Kerak Castle is an example of one of the first castle built by the Franks that was used as a fortified structure and shows Crusader architecture, with a mixture of west European, Byzantine and Arab designs.
6 Umm Qais
Located in the northwestern corner of Jordan, in the hills above the Jordan Valley, are the ruins of the ancient Gadara, one of the cities of the Decapolis, now known as Umm Qais, and in the Bible, the place where Jesus cast out the devil from two men into a heard of pigs. With its high vantage point, you can see Lake Tiberius and the Golan Heights. Standing at the very top, you can also see three countries: Jordan, Syria and Israel and the Palestinian Territories. "Gadara was renowned for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, attracting an array of writers, artists, philosophers and poets," one article states. If you want breathtaking views, there is no better place than visiting Umm Qais.
Anjara, Jordan is known as the biblical city, famous for its religious tours among Christians and Catholics. Visitors who travel here go to see the shrine of the Lady of the Mountain at the Roman Catholic Church. The small church welcomes pilgrims who honor the statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus placed within a grotto. "It is believed that Jesus Christ and his disciples including Virgin Mary passed through Anjara once and rested in a cave there during a journey between Jerusalem and Galilee." Unlike places like Aqaba or Wadi Rum, Anjara is known for its important religious history.
4 Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo is considered another one of Jordan's Holy Lands. It is said that after 40 years of leading the Israelites out of the desert, Moses stood on the summit of Mount Nebo and was granted a view of the Promised Land. It is one of Jordan's most sacred destinations and because of ancient traditions; it is a significant place of Christian pilgrimage. Mount Nebo sits 700m above the Jordan Valley and offers spectacular views. On the platform of the summit is a sculpture, which represents Moses' staff and Jesus' words, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up."
3 Kings Highway
If you're looking for more adventure and a road trip, drive through Kings Highway, where you'll see beautiful landscapes of rolling plains and views of the Dead Sea. This road is historic, once traveled by kings, conquerors and Crusaders. Kings Highway can take you to many of Jordan's most popular attractions such as the Treasury in Petra, the Dana Nature Preserve, made up of 115 miles of mountains to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba, the Kerak Castle, which towers over its town, and Amman, the country's capital, a busy and bustling city that also holds a ton of history.
2 Wadi Musa
Wadi Musa, also known as the Valley of Moses, is a city built on hills and is the nearest town to the city of Petra. It is said that Moses passed through the valley and struck water from the rock followers at the site of Ain Musa, "Moses' Well." Wadi Musa is also nicknamed the "Guardian of Petra," because it is close to the city that holds some Jordan's most popular attractions. With a population of just 17,000 people, the city has a number of hotels, restaurants and bars that a perfect for tourist after they are done exploring the ancient ruins.
There are a plethora of religious sites in Jordan and Al-Maghtas is by far possibly the most notable. It is said that John the Baptist at this site baptized Jesus Christ and it has become a site of pilgrimage for the Christian community. You can find numerous natural pools here and an ancient site that contains the ruins of a monastery, which is located on a mound known as Jabal Mar-Elias (Elijah's Hill). The "Baptism site" also has a number of ancient churches, chapels, caves, and the natural pools were used to celebrate baptisms. People from around the world come to see this special and religious site.