It was the ancestral capital of the thriving Arabian Nabataean civilization, which managed to raise the rock-cut treasuries and temples hereto one of the most important trading outposts in the region.Today, the whole enchanting site is known for its roles in Hollywood blockbusters like IndianaJones and comes hidden between a series of windings (tunnels created by erosion) passageways that are a real treat to explore.
Butting up to the Israel-Jordan border on the extreme eastern edge of the country, the dust-caked conglomeration of small dig sites and uncovered builds known as Al-Maghtas is arguably one of the most important biblical relics to be found on the entire courses of the Jordan River.Tagged by UNESCO and slowly becoming a high-profile pilgrimage site for Christians (think papal visits aplenty in the last couple of decades), it’s thought to have been the original site of the baptism of Jesus.Apart from that, the spot displays an interesting array of Jewish and Christian religious remains, Roman constructions, and Orthodox monasteries from the ages of the Ottomans andMamluks.
Amman — the capital and the largest city of Jordan — holds a lot of surprises for travelers. The city is a pot of new and old flavors that will keep you intrigued. The sky-high modern buildings blend very well with the ancient culture. It’s among the top 10 places to visit in Jordan for every type of traveler.While you are in Amman, you can visit Amman’sRoman Amphitheater, Jordan Museum, Jabal Amman for art galleries, Abdoun for its terrific nightlife, shopping malls etc. You can also spend a relaxed evening in one of the terrace cafes of Amman or watch the sunset from Amman Citadel. Also, make sure you visit Souk — an open-air marketplace — where you can buy Jordanian carpets, rugs, pieces of jewelry, handcraft etc.
4. Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo is one of the most sacred sites for Jordanians and many others. It’s the place where Moses was laid to rest, thus making it a popular center for pilgrimage since Christian times. The memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo is among the most famous places to visit in Jordan. It is also a beautiful peak that looms above the scenic valleys that attract tourists. Mukawir also was known as Machaerus is another dramatic hilltop fortress near Mount Nebo one must visit. Mukawir is also a sight behold and absolutely photogenic.
Jerash is also known as Gerasa, and it is one of the cities which has preserved the ruins of the Roman culture. It’s a testimony to the sheer wealth of immersive history that still exists at the ruined city of Jerash that this site just north of Amman pulls in almost as many visitors as the legendary rock-cut temples atPetra. You can come and stand where merchants from the Med would once have touted their goods, or imagine the hubbub of camel caravans arriving here straight from the dunes of the great Arabian sand sea.
6. Wadi Rum
Sun-scorched and glowing deep orange and red under the Arabian sun, the breathtaking beaches of the Wadi Rum of southern Jordan are sure one of the most awesome natural wonders in the region. Carved from the rocky limestone escarpments that rise and fall dramatically on the eastern fringes of Aqaba, the famous valley is quintessential Jordanian backcountry. Huge bluffs of rock-ribbed mountains loom on the horizon; mythic petroglyphs from ancient Nabatean peoples hide in the nooks and crannies; camels groan, and climbers swing tenuously from ropes around the hoodoos. It’s hardly a surprise that this was chosen as the backdrop to one Lawrence of Arabia back in 1962!
7. Dead Sea
The Dead Sea carves its way through the heartlands of the MiddleEastern Levant. The lowest and most salty of the world’s ocean water bodies, it’s encircled by rising mountains and ochre-hued sand dunes, all of which reflect majestically upon the surface as the Arabian sun beats down. Today, the whole area on the Jordanian banks (the western side is over the border in Israel) comes dotted with beaches and resort hotels, while the south of the sea is taken over with interesting mineral evaporation pools, built for the harvesting of carnallite and potassium.
Aqaba is Jordan’s gateway to the Red Sea. It buts up to the out-and-out resort town of Eilat in Israel across the border, and crowns the tip of the salty water with a medley of palm-spotted promenades and yellow sand beaches. Today, widespread re-development projects and the raising of uber-luxurious resort hotels at Tala Bay just to the south are convertingAqaba into the perfect seaside escape in the Middle East. You can tour the ancient ruins of Tall Hujayrat Al-Ghuzlan, see the date trees of the Seattle-Ghandour, or do what most do: go underwater on a SCUBA excursion to see the multi-colored reefs that fringe the submarine beds all around.
9. Mujib Nature Reserve
This vast swathe of north-west Jordan promises some seriously breathtaking backcountry, complete with winding river valleys and dust-caked gorges, steep-sided valleys sculpted over the centuries and oodles of hidden walkways chiseled out of the rocks. It’s known as the lowest nature reserve on the globe and slopes down slowly to the saline waters of the Dead Sea. Today, it’s taken over largely by adventure tourists and outdoors outfitters, who offer everything from intrepid hikes to heart-thumping rock climbing in the canyons to zip-lining through the dry and dusty air.
10. Dana Nature Reserve
Go back in time with a trip to the rugged lands of the DanaNature Reserve. This sweeping dash of carved valleys and rock-ribbed hills,scrub-dressed mountains and chiseled peaks topped with crumbling rocks, is not only Jordan’s largest protected area but also offers a glimpse at the age-old lifestyles of the Middle Eastern folk who’ve made their home here. You can bed down in drystone huts in the ancient villages, or opt to camp under the stars, all before days of hiking through the dusty canyons and spotting rare Nubian ibexes on the ridges.It’s wonderful stuff for the outdoorsy traveler.