We travelled to Jordan for a one-week holiday taking in the most commonly visited places on our itinerary. It was our first visit to this country and we were certainly not disappointed!
Our first stop was the Castle of Ajloun, situated about 24km from Jerash. Qalat Rabadh or the Ajloun castle, is an Islamic fort built high on a hill with a magnificent vista of the entire Jordan Valley below. The castle was built from 1184-1185AD and is one of the very few Islamic castles built to protect the country against Crusader attacks.
Afterwards we visited the spectacular ruins of the Roman City of Jerash with its oval plaza area, theatres, colonnaded streets, temples and churches.
The second day started with a city tour of Amman after which we drove to Mount Nebo which is one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan. We found it to be a very poignant place. Its fame is derived from a biblical event which occurred on it – the death of Moses. A small Byzantine church was built there by early Christians6th-centuryin which has now been expanded into a vast complex. Impressive mosaics are on display.
We also visited Madaba to see the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.
Next on the itinerary was Petra. No matter how many times you see photos of the complex nothing prepares you for the real thing. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabateans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. We took a challenging trek up to the Place of High Sacrifice which was certainly worth the effort with spectacular views of the valley and beyond.
The following day after visiting Little Petra we made our way through some spectacular scenery (actually most of the scenery in Jordan is very spectacular) to WadSeai Rum, which must be experienced in person to be fully appreciated. We spent an amazing 24 hours in this area going for a drive through the desert and sleeping in a tent (if you can call an apartment with an ensuite bathroom a tent!)
Next stop was Aqaba on the Red Sea, where we unexpectedly (it was not on the itinerary) took the opportunity to go scuba diving and snorkelling. It was an interesting town in many ways, including the fact that both Israel and Egypt are visible from the shoreline.
The last stop was our hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth with water ten times saltier than seawater. Of course, having a swim and mud application was de rigeur!
Then it was back to Amman for the flight home after what had been a holiday to remember!
(All photos taken by Distant Horizons)