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Travel Directory / Middle East / Jordan

Jordan Travel Guide

A magical kingdom in the desert, it has long conquered the imagination of the Western World as a land of ancient wonders and modern innovations, biblical sites and sunny beaches. It's the land of the River Jordan, where John the Baptist baptized Jesus; the land of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the planet; and the land of one of the seven new wonders of the world, Petra.

Amman, the Jordan's capital, is a cosmopolitan hub of shopping malls, hotels, souks, theatres, ancient buildings, churches and mosques. Much of Amman's "old atmosphere" can be found in the area east of Jabal Aman, where much of the city's rich historical pasts can be seen in the museums, old buildings, and other cultural sites. It is also the place to shop, where the colorful marketplaces called souks are concentrated.

Jordan's capital has been inhabited for millennia, and during the time of the Roman Empire temples, forums and even a Roman amphitheatre was built on Amman's hills. The amphitheatre is still in use today for sporting events and cultural shows, and some of the Roman temples are still standing.

Amman is also home to several mosques and churches, like the magnificent King Abdullah I mosque, a huge structure with a blue mosaic dome. Another mosque of note is the Abu Darweesh Mosque, situated on the highest point in the city with a unique black and white checkerboard pattern on its dome.

Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World as chosen by a worldwide vote in 2007, is a city carved right out of the red rock of the desert. Made famous by the movie Indiana Jones and the last crusade, the breathtaking Eastern entrance to Petra is though a narrow gorge between eighty meter high cliffs called the Siq that leads right to the building known as the Treasury. Petra is a city complex that includes lavish tombs, an amphitheatre, and a monastery, among other amazing structures. This ancient capital of the Nabataeans is described in poetry as "a rose red city half as old as time".

Another world famous site is Jordan is the Dead Sea. The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest point on the planet located on dry land. The Dead Sea is thus named because of its extreme salinity, where fish and other aquatic life can't survive in it. Only bacteria and other microscopic life live in the Dead Sea. Its extreme salinity also causes unusual buoyancy, making anything in its waters float. The unique geography of the Dead Sea makes it a top destination for health research and treatment. Aside from its salinity, its higher atmospheric pressure and lower ultraviolet due to its low elevation have specific health benefits.

Also in Jordan is Mount Nebo, the site where tradition says Moses died before reaching the Promised Land. On the highest point of the mountain are the remains of a church and a monastery. It was built in the early centuries of Christianity to commemorate Moses' final resting place. A sculpture known as the Brazen Monument, a combination of the bronze serpent that Moses created in the wilderness and the cross that Jesus was crucified with, is also found on Mount Nebo.


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