Jordan: Tracking the historical and adventurous heritage

What comes to your mind when you think of Jordan? Petra, Jordan River, or Dead Sea? Well, all these are the min-blowing attractions of the Middle East. Petra is among the New Seven Wonders of the World, while the Jordan River was the site where Lord Jesus was baptized. Besides these, there are many more highlights here in the form of ruined Roman cities, forts, Crusader fortresses, and mighty biblical sites. For those who love adventures, they can head to the Dead Sea and Gulf of Aqaba for having fun under sun and with bun. Above all, the Middle East nation of Jordan is the safest place for a vacation.

I first visited the Citadel Hill that is the capital Amman. This is where you will know about the historic times of this city through the old ruins and artifacts of the Stone Age now housed in the Jordan Archaeological Museum. There are also other impressive structures like the Omayyad Palace (al-Qasr), the Great Temple of Amman, a Byzantine basilica, the Temple of Hercules, and the Jordan Archaeological Museum where there are artifacts that are over 700000 years old most probably of the earliest settlements here, Iron Age sarcophagi, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a model of the Mesha Stele.

Below the citadel is the Roman Amphitheater – a striking Roman structure that is of the old Philadelphia accommodating some 6,000 people. Even today, this one is live with the rocking events. Do not leave this site without taking a tour of two cultural museums: Jordan Folklore Museum dedicated to the traditions and the Museum of Popular Traditions showing off the traditional mosaics and robes of the 4th to 6th century Jordan churches.

Mt Nebo in Amman is the most sacred one in the nation where Moses is buried, the man who ascended the hill to look at the Promised Land wherein he can never go. Nestled at the plateau ridge and accessible from Madaba within 15 minutes, the mountain top is from where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of towards Jerusalem, Dead Sea, and the Jordan Valley. Look for a 6th century Byzantine monastery and the floor mosaics adorned with the symbolic Serpentine Cross adorning the floor.

Next, we chose to explore Jerash that is a famous Roman site situated at a distance of 50 km from the capital in the north. This ancient city is well preserved even though it was submerged in sand since centuries. Here, take a lovely tour of spectacular baths, arches, temples, theaters, streets adorned with the chariots of stone, and columns all forming a city in Roman Decapolis. As per the excavated relics that are from the Neolithic Age, Jerash is now over 6,500 years. This is an exciting fact that increases the eagerness to visit such an ancient town. Come here in July to celebrate its annual Jerash festival of Culture and Arts wherein the global artists come here to make you sing, dance, and play music. If you come from July to October, then attend a music and light show in the evenings.

I know we do not like a desert, but the Desert Castle Loop as an extensive desert expanse accessible from the east of Amman. Although it is a desert, you will enjoy discovering many ancient relics in form of baths, castles, palaces, and forts that are well preserved to be termed as the desert castles. Nothing much is known about them, but it is believed that the Umayyad caliphs made then for leisure hideaways in the 7th and 8th centuries. The biggest castle here is the Qasr Mushatta, but it is the incomplete one. Among the baths, the best one is the rich bathhouse of Qusayr ‘Amra adorned with a domed ceiling as well as multicolored frescoes and mosaics – certainly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some more worth visiting structures here are the black rock at Azraq, confusing Qasr al-Kharrana, the Qastal’s complex, and Qasr al-Hallabat’s relics. Just take a car or taxi for one day trip with an English driver right from your hotel in the capital to visit these amazing sights.

Wadi Rum at 68 km from Aqaba is the site of the most amazing desert scenery on Earth. On this thronged tourist land, giant mountains rise from the red dunes calmly whose Jabal Rum is known as the highest peak. The remarkable Rock Bridge is where you can go for mountaineering and climbing. Other highlights here are a camel trip, vehicle tour from the Government’s Rest House, and greeting the nomadic Bedouin families who offer a mint tea. Come with a taxi only.

The Dead Sea at 45 km from Amman is recognized as the lowest point on Earth and the one which has four times more salty water than any other water body. So, instead of plant or animal life, you will find unbelievably rich minerals that carry healing properties. Be on its resort area on the north shore at Sweimeh where the Government Rest House for JD2 provides restaurant, showers, beach, and an opportunity to indulge in the healing black mud. And yes, you can swim too here.

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