The Middle Eastern nation of Jordan is situated at the crossroads between Asia and Europe. Despite all the chaos (for lack of a better word) that surrounds it, this country feels liberal, progressive, and safe compared to its neighbors. From ancient cities to spectacular natural scenery, here are the Top 10 places to visit in Jordan:
This small town lies to the south of the Jordanian capital, Amman. It’s known for its religious structures and ancient art. The most noteworthy piece of art you can find in the town is the Madaba Map, which is a mosaic from the 6th Century that depicts Jerusalem and other holy sites. The map can be found in St. George’s church.
9. Dana Nature Reserve
If you happen to enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll love this place. You start walking through the reserve at the 15th Century village of Dana, which is largely original in terms of its architecture. There are also restaurants and accommodations if you decide to stay overnight. The reserve is home to slot canyons and valleys in what is a beautiful, pristine landscape so you can take some spectacular nature shots.
Aqaba is the only port city in Jordan despite the country also bordering the Dead Sea. In addition to its unique standing within the country, it’s also remarkable for its blend of old and new, being home to many luxurious five-star resorts, as well as a 14th Century fort. A 6th Century settlement called Ayla also lies close by, and the city is also popular with scuba divers wishing to explore the underwater delights of the Red Sea.
Al-Karak is a city in southern Jordan that’s home to the Citadel of Kerak, which was once a Crusader stronghold. At a point in its history, the castle was ransacked and left in ruins for the better part of half a millennium. Some parts of the magnificent structure have been restored, and you can tour these parts, as well as visit the Karak Archaeological Museum.
Amman is the capital city of Jordan. It's also the country’s political, economic, and cultural center. If you visit the country, you’re more than likely to at least pass through Amman, if not stay there. The city is particularly noteworthy due to the large amount of Roman ruins it contains, such as an amphitheater and nymphaeum.
5. Desert Castles
After you visit Amman, be sure to travel to the nearby Eastern Desert. There you’ll find a collection of castles that are just begging to be explored. They were constructed by the Umayyads, who used them for defense and to shelter their Caliph (an Islamic civil and religious leader) when he was visiting. These structures allowed the Umayyads to thrive in the unforgiving desert.
4. Dead Sea
One of the two small pieces of coastline that Jordan has is along the Dead Sea. The salt lake is 9.6 times as salty as the Earth’s oceans, which means that swimmers can float in it effortlessly. Numerous historic and religious sites can be found on the Dead Sea’s shores, close to the place where Jesus was allegedly baptized by St. John the Baptist. The water is full of minerals that revitalize your body and mind, so you should definitely give it a visit.
Most of us picture destinations in Europe when we think of Roman ruins, however Jordan’s Jerash has some spectacular Greco-Roman ruins of its own. In the city, you can visit Hadrian’s Arch and the Hippodrome, which is one of the smallest Roman hippodromes ever built. Start your tour at the Jerash Archaeological Museum, because it boasts a spectacular collection of artifacts and charts the rise of the city through the centuries.
2. Wadi Rum
This breath-taking desert valley is uninhabited aside from a few Bedouin and other nomadic tribes that occasionally pass through it. Wadi Rum boasts sandstone mountains and towering granite cliffs, as well as the Umm Fruth Rock Bridge, which is remarkable to behold in person. The landscape’s otherworldly look has led to several science fiction movies being filmed here over the decades. You can also visit Lawrence of Arabia’s house!
The rock-cut architecture of Petra is world-famous, and the archaeological city has also been designated one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Known as the Red City or the Rose City, Petra was once the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom before becoming part of the Roman Empire. Sadly, the city was abandoned and forgotten about for many centuries, only to be rediscovered in the early 19th Century.