Attractions and Activities
This is, without a doubt, one of the world’s truly unique sites. The Jordan
Rift Valley is a dramatic beautiful landscape, which at the Dead Sea, is over 400m
(1,312 ft.) below sea level. At the lowest point on the face of the earth, this
vast stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River
Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere
to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals
that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.
The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem
to the west, giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated
and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical
cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela).
One of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, the Jordanian
east coast of the Dead Sea has evolved into a major hub of both religious and health
and wellness tourism in the region. A series of good roads, excellent hotels with
spa and fitness facilities, as well as archaeological and spiritual discoveries
make this region as enticing to today’s international visitors as it was to
kings, emperors, traders, prophets and pilgrims in antiquity.
The leading attraction at the Dead Sea is the warm, soothing, water itself –
some ten times saltier than sea water, and rich in chloride salts of magnesium,
sodium, potassium, bromine and several others. The unusually warm, incredibly buoyant
and mineral-rich waters have attracted visitors since ancient times, including King
Herod the Great and the beautiful Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. All of whom have luxuriated
in the Dead Sea’s rich, black, stimulating mud and floated effortlessly on
their backs while soaking up the water’s healthy minerals along with the gently
diffused rays of the Jordanian sun.
Petra - World Wonder
The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common
with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their
true value - as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by nature and man.
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing prepares you for its awe-inspiring
grandeur. It has to be seen to be believed.
Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure
and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer
rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than
2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other
trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece
and Rome. Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length,
which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. Just walking through
the Siq is an experience in itself. The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling.
As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh
This is an unforgettable experience. A massive façade, 30m wide and 43m high,
carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock-face and dwarfing everything around it.
It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king
and represents the engineering genius of these ancient people.
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique
blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the
fertile Jordan Valley.
In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants,
art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops
and tiny artisans’ workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city’s
much older past.
Due to the city’s modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half
of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential
suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost
uniformly white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all
buildings must be faced with local stone.
The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing
and selling everything from fabulous jewelry to everyday household items.
The people of Amman are multi-cultural, multi-denominational, welleducated and extremely
hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating
and vibrant city.
According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where the Hebrew prophet
Moses was given a view of the Promised Land that God was giving to the Hebrews.
“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah,
which is opposite Jericho.” (Deuteronomy 34:1).
According to Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses was buried on this mountain by
God himself, and his final resting place is unknown. Scholars continue to dispute
whether the mountain currently known as Nebo is the same as the mountain referred
to in the Torah. Islamic belief holds that Musa (Moses) was buried not on the mountain
but a few kilometers to the west, somewhere beyond the River Jordan.
On the highest point of the mountain, Syagha, the remains of a church and monastery
have been uncovered. The church, discovered in 1933, was constructed in the second
half of the 4th century to commemorate the place of Moses’ death. The church
design follows a typical basilica pattern. It was enlarged in the late 5th century
AD and rebuilt in 597 AD.
The church is first mentioned in an account of a pilgrimage made by a lady Aetheria
in 394 AD.
Six tombs have been found hollowed from the natural rock beneath the mosaic-covered
floor of the church. In the present presbytery you can see remnants of mosaic floors
from different periods. The earliest of these is a panel with a braided cross presently
placed on the east end of the south wall.
The site of John the Baptist’s settlement at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where
Jesus was baptized, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and
from the Byzantine and medieval texts.
The site has now been identified on the east bank of the Jordan River, in the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan, and is being systematically surveyed, excavated, restored, and
prepared to receive pilgrims and visitors. Bethany Beyond the Jordan is located
half an hour by car from Amman. The Bethany area sites formed part of the early
Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mount Nebo.
The area is also associated with the biblical account of how the Prophet Elijah
(Mar Elias in Arabic) ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire.
A close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan is the ancient
city of Jerash, which boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more
than 6,500 years.
Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins.
Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the
ten great Roman cities of the Decapolis League.
The city’s golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known
as Gerasa, 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
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 traditions of the Arab Orient.
The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and
new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself
develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.
Visitors to the Dead Sea should also take advantage of another nearby wonder, Hammamat
Ma’in (Ma’in Hot Springs). Popular with both locals and tourists alike,
the springs are located 264m below sea level in one of the most breathtaking desert
oases in the world. Thousands of visiting bathers come each year to enjoy the mineral-rich
waters of these hyperthermal waterfalls. These falls originate from winter rainfalls
in the highland plains of Jordan and eventually feed the hundred and nine hot and
cold springs in the valley. This water is heated to temperatures of up to 63°
Celsius by underground lava fissures as it makes its way through the valley before
emptying into the Zarqa River.
Situated in this exquisite spot is the 97 room Evason Ma’in Hot Springs &
Six Senses Spa offering a wide variety of professional services including mud wraps,
hydro-jet baths and showers, underwater massages, mud facials, electrotherapy and
This is a stupendous, timeless place, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive
forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering
skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as “vast, echoing and
A maze of monolithic rocks capes rises up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750m
creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers. Hikers can enjoy the tranquility
of the boundless empty spaces and explore the canyons and water holes to discover
4000-year-old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness
holds in store.
There are several options for exploring Wadi Rum. Visitors should head for the Visitors’
Centre where, apart from visitors’ facilities, they can hire a 4x4 vehicle,
together with driver/guide, and then drive for two or three hours into the Wadi
system to explore some of the best known sites.
Alternatively they can hire a camel and guide. The duration of the trip can be arranged
beforehand through the Visitors’ Centre, as can a stay under the stars in
a Bedouin tent, where they can enjoy a traditional campfire meal accompanied by
Once transport has been arranged, there are various excursions available - for example,
a trip to Burdah Rock Bridge, the highest in Wadi Rum, via the Seven Pillars of
Wisdom and many other interesting sights, is a full day by car or an overnight trip
by camel. There are many alternative routes and information on these is available
from your tour operator or from the Visitors’ Centre on-site.
The Bedouin people that inhabit the area still maintain their semi-nomadic lifestyle.
They are hospitable and offer a friendly welcome to visitors, often inviting them
to sit and enjoy a coffee or even a meal.
With its wealth of other attractions, Jordan’s splendid Red Sea resort is
often overlooked by modern-day visitors. But apart from being a delightful place
for discerning holidaymakers, this is actually a great base from which to explore
various places of interest in southern Jordan.
Aqaba is a fun place. It is a microcosm of all the good things Jordan has to offer,
including a fascinating history with some outstanding sites, excellent hotels and
activities, superb visitor facilities, good shopping, and welcoming, friendly people,
who enjoy nothing more than making sure their visitors, have a good time.
But perhaps Aqaba’s greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience
some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The temperate climate and gentle
water currents have created a perfect environment for the growth of corals and a
teeming plethora of marine life. Here you can swim with friendly sea turtles and
dolphins as they dart amongst the schools of multi-colored fish. Night dives reveal
the nocturnal sea creatures, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, as they search for a midnight
There are several dive centers in Aqaba. All offer well-maintained diving equipment,
professional instructors, and transport by boat to a variety of dive sites.
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, all the deep sea wonders can be viewed
through a glass-bottomed boat or by submarine, or you can just relax under the sun
on the resort’s sandy beaches. Plus, of course, there are plenty of other
water-sport activities available, as well as an extensive and interesting Marine
From as far back as five and a half thousand years ago Aqaba has played an important
role in the economy of the region. It was a prime junction for land and sea routes
from Asia, Africa and Europe, a role it still plays today. Because of this vital
function, there are many historic sites to be explored within the area, including
what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world.
Aqaba International Airport is situated just 20 minutes from the town center and
services regular flights from Amman as well as from several European cities.
For more information about places to go in Jordan please visit
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