Jordan Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia (4K)


The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is just a
three-hour flight from Dubai, and a two-hundred-thousand year journey through
the history of humankind. More than a country, Jordan is one of the world’s epic stories. Our Palaeolithic ancestors
wandered north from Africa and made their homes in the cool canyons and
caves of this sun-baked land. The smoke of Bedouin campfires has drifted into the
Arabian nights for over nine millennia. Prophets wandered these mountains and deserts, receiving visions that shaped
three of the world’s great faiths. Greek, Roman, Crusader and Arab
armies have thundered across these sandy plains, leaving their mark
at thousands of archaeological sites, and in every fibre of Jordan’s cultural DNA. Today, Jordan is the
calm heart of a sometimes-restless region. Jordan’s capital, Amman, was known by the ancient Greeks as Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, and that spirit
of tolerance continues to this day. Overlooking downtown Amman
from its highest hill is the Citadel, the city’s ancient core. Standing tall over the Citadel are the two remaining
pillars of The Temple Of Hercules, a Roman temple that in its day,
dwarfed many in Ancient Rome. Beneath the pillars, follow the shadows as they
sweep across the Citadel’s many layers of history, from the Bronze Age to Byzantine times. At the Citadel’s base, take in the views from the 6000-seat Roman Theatre, and watch the day-to-day
dramas of Amman unfold below. Journey deeper into Jordanian history and
culture at Amman’s museums and galleries. While much of the kingdom’s story is rendered in stone, at The Royal Automobile Museum,
Jordan’s modern history gleams, in shining chrome. Jordan’s hospitality is legendary, and you’ll find that
welcoming spirit all over Amman. You’ll find it through the open doors of
the Duke of Mukhyber’s Residence, where the aromas of
vintage books and faded furnishings will transport you back to the 1940s. It’s in the hands of street vendors and cooks, for whom tradition and pride are
the most essential ingredients of all. And you’ll find it in the evening breeze
which invites the Ammani into the cool streets and souks,
just as it has for centuries. After a day or two in Amman, follow the winds 30 miles north,
to the ancient Greco-Roman city of Jerash. Enter the city’s monumental gateway and
imagine the scarlet and gold spectacle, which heralded the arrival of
Emperor Hadrian’s in the 2nd century. Walk out upon the Hippodrome
where the roar of fifteen-thousand Romans and the thunder of chariot wheels
could be heard for miles. Rest in the shade of the South Gate, then make the short climb
to the Temple of Zeus, and look down upon this imperial city. Take a seat in the South Theatre,
where even in the highest row, the soft strains of the
Jordanian bagpipes are inescapable. Wander across the Oval Forum, where the city once gathered for monthly festivals, tedious decrees, and the gladiators’ bloody dance. Follow the Cardo Maximus north, and you will soon understand that there are few things straighter than a Roman road. The stalls which once lined this half-mile colonnade may long be gone, but the daily operetta of commerce lingers
amid the ruins of the central market. As the sun beats down, envy the Roman shoppers
who once paused under the cooling mists of Jerash’s fountains as they
returned to home and family. Climb the steps to the Temple
of Artemis, where priestesses danced as she-bears before the goddess of hunting and fertility. Artemis, the daughter of
Zeus, was the protector of Jerash, until the 4th century when the Roman gods toppled before the teachings of a Jewish carpenter. Just a thirty-minute drive to the northwest of Jerash, experience another great clash of faiths,
on the ramparts of Ajloun Castle. Built in the 12th century, Ajloun was one of a
string of Arab castles raised by Saladin to halt the Crusader armies as
they rode down Jordan’s northern valley, hell bent on Jerusalem. The Crusaders have long been vanquished, leaving these hills once
more to the herders and their flocks who graze amid the ruins of ancient cities like Pella. Just an hour’s drive east from Amman, you’ll find even more
stillness on the endless gravel plains of the Eastern Desert. Follow the Desert Castle Loop to Qasr Kharana, where Bedouin chieftains emerged from the
shimmering horizons to settle tribal scores within the cool confines
of its courtyard and 60 rooms. A few miles further is Qusayr Amra. The castle walls have long vanished,
but its fabulous bathhouse remains. Step inside from the blinding
desert glare to see frescos from the courtly world of early
Arabia materialize through the soft light. For many, the highlight of
the Eastern Desert is Qasr al-Azraq. During the Great Arab Revolt of 1916-18, T. E. Lawrence made the castle his winter headquarters. Step into his bedroom, where
the young British officer planned exploits which would be forever
immortalized in books and in film. After exploring the Eastern Desert,
travel southwest to Madaba, an ancient market town
famed for its Byzantine mosaics. Most famous of all is the Madaba Map, one of the first depictions of the Holy Lands, and a hallowed destination
for pilgrims throughout the ages. Today, workshops all over Madaba ensure the mosaic tradition will
endure for generations to come. Journey further south to explore
the Crusader Castles of the King’s Highway, an ancient trading route
which took Arabs to Mecca, and Israelites to the Promised Land. See the Promised Land for yourself from Mount Nebo, just six miles west from Madaba. Stand at the place where Moses first looked out across the Dead Sea to the
Land of Milk and Honey, Israel. After taking in the mosaics
at the Moses Memorial Church, follow the hairpin road down to
The Dead Sea; the lowest point on earth. Float upon the saline waters, …and cover yourself in the same healing
mud that once lured King Herod, The Queen of Sheba, and Cleopatra to these shores. Emerge from the waters renewed,
then relax at your resort and watch the lights of Jerusalem
and Bethlehem light up on the West Bank. Follow the Dead Sea Highway south to Wadi
Mujib, the Grand Canyon of Jordan. Take one of the many hikes into the lush gorge, and bathe in the cool breath of
this harsh, yet forgiving land. At the Dead Sea’s southern end, visit the cave Lot and his daughters called home after fire and brimstone scorched the
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from the face of the earth. One city which vanished from
the outside world for centuries, only to be rediscovered in 1812,
is the Nabataean city of Petra. Enter Petra through the Siq, a narrow rift through earth and time, where the modern world is left
further behind with each twist and turn. Emerge from the shadows of this
sacred way into the sunlight of Wadi Musa, and gaze up at The Treasury. Thanks to movies like Indiana
Jones and The Last Crusade, the world is now familiar with The Treasury’s grandeur, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Chiseled from the pink sandstone cliffs, The Treasury is the greatest of all Petra’s 500 tombs. But your adventure is just beginning. From here the canyon opens out
into the Street of Facades, …the vast Nabataean Theatre,…and the Royal Tombs. Petra’s treasures deserve at least a half day. But to really feel the magic
of this 100-square mile labyrinth of temples, tombs and caves, stay longer. For those who linger in the Rose City are rewarded by the new moods
and colours that each hour brings. From Petra, follow the desert
highway south for 70 miles, to Wadi Rum, the Valley of the Moon. Bathe your spirit in the smoke of a desert camp fire. And at dawn, rise,…to a place beyond words. From epic landscapes, to
the monumental ruins of empires, Jordan is a humble reminder that
our time on earth is only fleeting. Yet Jordan shows us that sometimes,
we can reach out and touch the eternal, and be at one with something
far greater than ourselves. The story of Jordon, is the story of us all.

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