Jordan
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The Best of Jordan


One of the Middle East’s best kept secrets that rivals the historical, cultural and archaeological treasures of its neighbors. This itinerary is available for individuals and groups, with guaranteed departures.  

Day 1 – Depart U.S. on overnight flight to Amman, Jordan. 

King's MosqueDay 2 - Amman - Welcome and Assistance at Amman Airport - Transfer to hotel in Amman. Amman has a very high percentage of tourists visiting the city focused in the older downtown area, which is centered around the old souk (a colorful traditional market) and the King Hussein Mosque. The downtown area (known locally as the Balad) has been completely dwarfed by the sprawling urban area that surrounds it. Despite the changes, much remains of its old character. For those seeking the atmosphere of the Old City, it is best to venture to the district east of Jabal Amman. There, in the bustle of daily life, you can explore the capital's greatest souks, fine museums, ancient constructions, monuments, and cultural sites. The Citadel, towering above Amman, is the site of ancient fortifications where numerous excavations have revealed remains from the Neolithic period as well as from the Hellenestic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages. These structures include the Temple of Hercules, the Omayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. At the foot of the Citadel lies the 6000 seat Roman Theatre, a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and still used for cultural events. Three museums found in the area offer a glimpse of history and culture, they are the Jordan Archaeological Museum, The Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Tradition.

Hadrian's ArchDay 2 - Jerash & Madaba - Jerash is known for the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the "Pompeii of the Middle East or Asia", referring to its size, extent of excavation and excellent level of preservation (Jerash was never buried by a volcano).  A large number of striking monuments include the Corinthium column, Hadrian's Arch, a circus/hippodrome, two immense temples (to Zeus and Artemis), the Forum, surrounded by a fine colonnade, a long colonnaded street or cardo, two theatres (the Large South Theatre and smaller North Theatre), two baths, a scattering of small temples and an almost complete circuit of city walls. Between AD 400-600, more than thirteen churches were built, many with superb mosaic floors. A cathedral was built in the fourth century. An ancient synagogue with detailed mosaics, including the story of Noah, was found beneath a church. 







Map of Madaba
The town of Madaba was once a Moabite border city, mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21:30 and Joshua 13:9. Its most notable historical artifact is the Madaba Map, part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George. This mosaic is the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. It dates to the 6th century AD. In 1967, excavations in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem revealed the Nea Church and the Cardo Maximus in the very locations suggested by the Madaba Map.
 




Desert CastleDay 3 - Tour Desert Castles.  Jordan's desert castles, beautiful examples of both early Islamic art and architecture, stand testament to a fascinating era in the country's rich history. Their fine mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carvings and illustrations, inspired by the best in Persian and Graeco - Roman traditions, tell countless stories of the life as it was during the eighth century. Called castles because of their imposing stature, the desert complexes actually served various purposes as caravan stations, agriculture and trade centers, resort pavilions and outposts that helped distant rulers forge ties with local bedouins. Qusair Amra, one of the best preserved monuments, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with lively frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colorful mosaics. Qasr Mushatta, Qasr al - Kharrana, Qasr at -Tuba and Qasr al - Hallabat have been restored and are all in excellent condition. The black basalt fort at Azraq, in continuous use since Late Roman times, was the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt. 

Day 4 - Day at the Dead Sea to relax and swim. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.

PetraDay 5 - Petra – The ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Jordan's national treasures and by far its best known tourist attraction. Petra is the legacy of the Nabataens, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Much of Petra's appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge. The site is accessed by walking through a long chasm (or siq), with walls soaring 200 meters upwards. Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the siq. Used in the final sequence of the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", the towering facade of the Treasury is only one of myriad archaeological wonders to be explored at Petra. Various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, colonnaded streets and haunting rock drawings - as well as a 3000 seat open air theatre , a gigantic first century Monastery and a modern archeological museum, all of which can be explored at leisure. A modest shrine commemorating the death of Aaron, brother of Moses, was built in the 13th century by the Mamluke Sultan, high atop mount Aaron in the Sharah range.






PetroglyphsIn the afternoon we go to Wadi Rum for a sunset Jeep Tour. 
Wadi Rum is a unique desert valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southwest Jordan. The name consists of Arabic word for valley ('wadi') and Rum is assumed to come from an Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated'. It is the largest wadi in the country. Some of the ridges are 1000 feet high and topped with domes worn smooth by the desert winds. Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, all of them leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. In the pre-Islamic era the area served as the gathering place for the tribes of Ad, Thamud, Lihyan and Main. Fresh water springs made Rum a meeting center for caravans heading towards Syria and Palestine from Arabia. Throughout the valley there are scattered slabs of rocks with inscriptions in early Thamudic writing, recording the names of travelers who passed through centuries ago.



 

Aqaba fortDay 6 - Free Day in Aqaba. Famed for its preserved coral reefs and unique sea life, this Red Sea port city was, in ancient times, the main port for shipments from the Red Sea to the Far East. The 16th century Mameluk Fort is one of the main historical land marks of Aqaba. Square in shape and flanked by semicircular towers, the fort is marked with various inscriptions marking the latter period of the Islamic dynasty. The current excavations revealed a gate and city wall along with towers, buildings and a mosque. The museum houses a collection of artifacts collected in the region, including pottery and coins. Aqaba also hosts the house of Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, the great grandfather of King Abdullah II. Other places of interest include the mud brick building thought to be the earliest church in the region. Aqaba is well known for its beach resorts and luxury hotels, which service those who come for fun in the sand as well as watersports like windsurfing and Scuba diving. It also offers activities which take advantage of its desert location. Its many coffee shops offer mansaf and knafeh, and baqlawa desserts. Another very popular venue is the Turkish Bath (Hamam) built in 306AD, in which locals and visitors alike come to relax after a hot day.

MonasteryDay 7 -
St Catherine Monastery on Mount Sinai.  The monastery was built by order of Emperor Justinian I between 527 and 565, enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush ordered to be built by Helena, the mother of Constantine I, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush; the living bush on the grounds is purportedly the original. It is also referred to as "St. Helen's Chapel." The site is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

Day 8: Transfer to Amman Airport for Departure. This itinerary offers guaranteed departures every week.  







Tour price includes: 
4 nights in Amman at 4-star accommodations
3 nights in Aqaba
Guided tours to sites listed on itinerary 

Tour price does not include:
International airfare
Guide Tips

Price per person, double occupancy: $1,065. This itinerary has guaranteed departures with a minimum of two people.


Contact us for rates and availability