Cresset Travel Blog |

May/10

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Places To Visit in Jordan

Ajloun: The Islamic castle Ajloun stands on top of the 1123 meter high Jabel Auf and is embedded in a nice environment. It was built in the 12th century by a general of the famous sultan Salah ad-Din to protect the country against the Crusader attacks and to secure the pilgrim routes.

Amman: Situated on several hills the capital of Jordan houses almost half of the country’s population. Worth seeing in the so-called white city is the Citadel hill, once an important military and religious site. Here you see for example the remains of the Temple of Hercules. Interesting place are the Roman Theater, the King Abdullah Mosque and the Abu Darweesh Mosque.

Aqaba at the Red Sea: The small Red Sea port of Aqaba is famous for its unique coral reefs and so a paradise for diving and snorkeling in clear waters. Many other aquatic activities are possible like sailing, wind surfing or water skiing. The tourist city is also attractive due to its status as Special Economic Zone offering duty free shopping.

Azraq Oasis: Azraq is located about 110 kilometers east of Amman. Once a large wetland area, nowadays only 12 square km of parklands and pools are left as a result of the growing water demand of cities like Amman. But still Azraq is the oasis in the eastern desert, home to some water buffalos and important for birds migrating between Africa and Europe.

Bethany – Baptism Site: On the east bank of the Jordan River not far away from Amman you find Bethany beyond the Jordan, the place where John the Baptist lived and baptized Jesus. Many Christians pilgrimage to this holy place, which is located in a nice surrounding. Besides the Baptism Site of Jesus you see a new golden-roofed church, the remains of Byzantine churches and baptism pools.

Dana: The Dana Nature Reserve, composed of mountains and wadis, reaches a total height of more than 1600 meter ranging from the tops of the Rift Valley to desert lowlands. Here you find diversified landscape like green areas with trees, desert and rocks as well as various plants and animal species.

Dead Sea: The salt lake between Israel and Jordan is the lowest point on earth with about 400 m below sea level. The Dead Sea is mainly supplied by water from the Jordan River. It is an experience to bath without being able to sink. But the mineral-rich Dead Sea offers more, it was one of the first spas in the world. Herod the Great, king of Judaea already used it in the 1st century BC as health treatment. The water and the special conditions of the area have positive effects on dermatological and rheumatic diseases.

Desert Castles: The most remarkable buildings in the eastern Jordanian desert are the palaces built by the Umayyad caliphs in the 7th and 8th century. Most of the castles can be visited within one day in a loop from Amman via Azraq: the originally Roman Qasr al-Hallabat and Qasr al-Kharanah with its high walls and four corner towers. Besides are the large black fortress Qasr al-Azraq and Qasr Amra, the most charming of the desert castles due to its fresco paintings.

Jerash: The best example of a Roman provincial city in the Middle East is Jerash, 50 km north of Amman. It was initially built by Alexander the Great in 332 BC and started to prosper after the Roman conquest in 63 BC. The Artemis Temple, the theatres, the Colonnaded Street and many other ancient buildings give you the feeling of the great civilization and the history of the region.

Kerak: Situated on the King’s Highway the city was the ancient capital of the Moabites, but the most visitors come to see the Crusader castle on the hilltop. The castle was built in the 12th century and ruled by Payen le Bouteiller, the Lord of Transjordan (Oultrejordain).

Madaba: The town Madaba is well known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics. Popular is especially the 6th century mosaic map of Palestine in the floor of the orthodox St. George’s Church. Other magnificent mosaic masterpieces from the Madaba area, mostly found in old churches, can be seen in the Archaeological Park.

Mount Nebo: Not far from Madaba Mt. Nebo is located, from where Prophet Moses overlooked the promised land and died. In 1933 remains of a church from the 4th century and a monastery with magnificent mosaics had been discovered here. From the mountain you have a panorama of the Holy Land; usually Jericho is visible and on clear days also Jerusalem.

Pella: Pella is located in the Jordan Valley and in nice surroundings visitors see ancient ruins from Roman and Byzantine period. Pella was like the city of Gadara a member of the Decapolis, a union of cities in Palestine, Jordan and southern Syria which were centres of Greco-Roman culture.

Petra: In the south of Jordan, in the mountains of Edom, the famous rock city Petra is located. 2000 years ago the Nabataeans, Arab nomads, carved magnificent temples, tombs and houses in the red-rose sandstone. Since 1985 Petra belongs to the World Heritage Sites and since 2007 it is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Salt: In the ex-capital of Jordan you get a feeling for the architecture of the Ottoman period, if you walk through picturesque narrow streets and watch the houses with long-arched windows. In the town exists a Handicraft School where you can see traditional skills of ceramics. Within Jordan Salt is known for its quality of vegetable and fruit harvest.

Shaumari Wildlife Reserve: Close to Azraq the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, founded 1975, covers 22 square km and offers home for gazelles, wild donkeys and Arabian oryx. The oryx is also Shaumari’s great success story. This antelope species was almost extinct and by means of breeding programs it recovered again.

Shobak (Montreal): The Crusader castle is perched on top of a small hill northeast of the town of Shobak in southern Jordan. Like Kerak it was built by Baldwin I. of Jerusalem. Inside the fortress are two churches, ruins of baths, cisterns, archways, old Islamic inscriptions and brave people can follow over 300 steps down in a well.

Umm Quais (Gadara): From the ruined Graeco-Roman city Gadara, today named Umm Quais, visitors have an amazing view over the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Still to see are the remains of theatres, temples, a colonnaded street, a basilica and a museum.

Wadi al-Mujib: The lowest nature reserve in the world is Wadi al-Mujib near the Dead Sea. The area about 220 square km reaches the highest level in 900 meter, the lowest in 400 meter below sea level and offers a variety in nature and wildlife. The so-called Grand Canyon of Jordan is a good place for adventures. Visitors can hike, swim in pools and rivers and abseil from rocks.

Wadi Rum: In Jordan’s south you find this dramatic desert landscape with its beautiful rock formations. Visitors can enjoy a Jeep tour to visit astonishing rock bridges or enjoy silence and pure nature during a hike or on back of a camel. A wonderful experience is to spend a night under the starry sky in the wadi.

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