Jordan tends to conjure up repetitive images of vast deserts, camels and ancient hillside carvings, but the country itself offers so much more than that. There are jagged mountain peaks rising from stunning sandy beaches lapped by the azure waters of the Dead Sea, ornate antique churches, Roman temples, city ruins and theatres, crusader castles and vibrant cities whose denizens are urbane and welcoming. Between sights such as the bewildering lost city of Petra and the sprawling King’s Highway, you’ll stumble into uncountable religious sites, colourful coral reefs, thriving wetlands and some of the Middle East’s best restaurants.
Time difference: GMT +3 Hours
Flight time: Approx 5 hours
Visa Required: Yes
Currency: Dinar (JOD)
Tel Code: +962
Population: 9.456 million (approx)
Official Language: Arabic
Recommended Airlines: British Airways, Turkish Airlines
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When to go
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Start with a visit to Petra, the rose city, carved into the mountains in Jordan’s desert and then take a trip through the wilderness on camelback to Wadi Rum to watch the sunrise over the rocky red peaks of the desert, before spending a day or two in Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city. City lovers should arrange to see Amman – Jordan’s capital – to see the impressive ruins of the Roman Theatre, the Amman Citadel, and the city’s vibrant collection of mosques, modern coffee houses and boisterous souqs. History lovers will be spoiled for choice when it coms to seeking out archeological sites as there are hundreds from so many periods of human history – from the Greeks and Romans through to Muslim and Christian crusaders.
Back out in the desert you’ll find a plethora of treasures just waiting to be uncovered. Just east of Amman for example, there’s a large collection of Islamic hunting lodges and desert castles. Go to Qasr Amra to see the exceptional frescoes and then Qasr Al-Hallabat for the recently restored fort which was originally a Roman fortress constructed by the Emperor Caracalla to protect local Bedouin tribes. Nature lovers should visit the Azraq Wetlands to see the lowest nature reserve in the world and its stunning collection of flora and fauna – from hyenas to oryx. To see a different side of Jordan, head to the coast to spend a day or two floating in the waters of the Dead Sea, and if you’re the adventurous type, go diving at Aqaba to see the underwater treasures of the Red Sea.
Points to ponder
Your experience of Jordanian people is likely to be that they are, almost without exception, decent, honest, respectful and courteous. It seems only right that you should return some of that respect by showing a grasp of some basic aspects of Jordanian, Arab and Muslim culture.
Cuisine, for centuries Jordan has been a highway between Europe and middle east. This influx and mixing of people over the century has contributed to a diverse of food culture. Many Dishes, Such as Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, tabbouleh, Felafel and Kebabs all share the same Arabic and Mediterranean culinary roots.
The Dead Sea – Bordering Israel, The west bank and Jordan – is a salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, The lowest point on dry land. Its famously hyper saline water makes floating easy, and its mineral rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetics treatments at area resorts, The surrounding deserts offers many oases and historic sites.
- Petra – Wadi Musa
- Wadi Rum
- Al Salt
- Wadi Rum Village