While we all know about the pyramids in Egypt and have heard about the ancient Roman ruins in Syria and Lebanon, there is one middle eastern country that remains quiet and modest and doesn’t betray the precious gems that are in its territory. We invite you to check out the 10 most amazing and fascinating places in the Kingdom of Jordan, from the mountainous, green and verdant north to the vast desert south, which will reveal to you it’s true and hypnotic beauty.
Wadi Ram is considered one of the most beautiful and unique national parks in the Middle East. This rope of desert, which lies adjacent to the Arabian Peninsula, is adorned with granite cliffs rising high above and red dunes, which together give it a strange and space-like look that also led to its being called the "Valley of the Moon". The wonderful scenery is complemented by the wandering Bedouin tribes, who make their living mainly from incoming tourism through overnight stays, guided walking tours, jeep tours and more.
To date, Jerash, located north of Amman, is the second most important tourist site in the entire Kingdom of Jordan. The main reason for this lies in the remains of an ancient Roman city from the second century CE, where visitors can see an ancient racetrack and Hadrian's arched archway, 11 meters tall, which was built in honor of a visit from the Roman emperor Hadrianus in 129. In addition, the city itself offers a visit to the archeological site with an amazing collection of local archeological findings.
The southern city of Karak is known as one of the largest fortresses of the Christian community in Jordan. Silent evidence of this can be found in the Karak castle, a former Crusader castle overlooking the desert landscape of the region from about 800 meters above sea level. This castle has remained deserted and ruined for about 500 years, but today, after impressive restoration work, it is open to the general public and even includes a museum on its lower part that depicts local history.
About 40 km from Amman lies the small southern town of Madaba, known for its ancient and modest construction, which allows visitors to be exposed to the Jordanian rural lifestyle, as well as to its lively and colorful market. Among the many ancient structures, the church of St. George is the most famous and fascinating tourist attraction in the town due to a Byzantine mosaic from the 6th century that presents the map of Jerusalem and other holy sites for Christianity.
Aqaba, Jordan's only port city, offers its visitors a unique blend of old and new with a 14th-century port on the one hand and luxurious hotels on the other. However, most of its beauty derives from its enchanting and isolated beaches, which look out over the Red Sea and which have not yet been filled with many tourists. The wonderful scenery is complemented by palm trees scattered along the coastline and the many coral reefs nearby.
The northern city of Ajloun is known for its relatively high precipitation compared to the rest of Jordan and is considered one of the most picturesque and green areas in the kingdom. This wonderful landscape picture is completed by the Ajloun Castle, a 12th-century Muslim fortress built by the nephew of the famous Muslim ruler Saladin to control the rebellious Bedouin tribes in the region. The fortress is located on Mount Ajloun and the access path to it, as well as the fortress itself, offers visitors spectacular panoramic views of the mountainous and forested countryside.
Amman, the capital, is considered the largest city in Jordan and the cultural and economic center of the kingdom. But among its busy, bustling streets, this city also holds some of the oldest and most preserved Roman buildings in the region. One of the most prominent examples of this is the great Roman theater, which was built during the reign of Antoninus Pius in the 2nd century CE. The ancient building underwent considerable renovations in the late 1950s and is now capable of seating about 6,000 people.
East of Amman, in the heart of the Jordanian desert, lie some of the most beautiful and isolated reminders of the glory days of the Muslim empire in the form of ancient desert fortresses. This network of fortresses was built by the Umayyad dynasty, which ruled throughout the empire between the 7th and 8th centuries CE, and it served it for defensive purposes and for providing accommodation services to merchant delegations. One of the best-known fortresses is the Qasr Kharana, which was built in the early 8th century and is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture in the region.
Petra is undoubtedly one of the most famous tourist sites in Jordan. This ancient city, which served as the capital of the Nabatean kingdom from 312 BCE, is best known for its impressive burial palaces in red sandstone, which also gave it its nickname the Rose City. It’s amazing to learn that this ancient civilization was forgotten for many hundreds of years and was rediscovered only in the 19th century. Today, it is now possible to embark on guided tours and to be impressed by the ancient architecture of the area.
The Dana Biosphere Reserve is located in the southeastern valleys to the Dead Sea, offering its visitors spectacular nature tours filled with impressive rocky canyons and wide valleys. The name of the reserve is derived from the ancient village "Dana" located next to it, which offers accommodation and guided tours to the width and length of unforgettable landscapes.