JORDAN EXPLORED | 08 DAYS

ITINERARY

Day  01  :   Q.A.I. Airport – Amman
Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport. Transfer to your hotel in Amman for a two night stay.

Day  02  :   Amman – Jerash – Amman
After breakfast, tour the city of Amman. Start with the Downtown area where you will visit the Citadel, the Roman Theater & Jordan Museum. Proceed to visit the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman. Afternoon, drive north of Amman to visit the remarkably well preserved Roman city of Jerash. Return to Amman.

Day  03  :  Am – Nebo – Madaba – Petra – Cave Bar – Petra by Night
After breakfast, drive to Mount Nebo where you will visit the alleged burial place of Moses. Proceed to visit the 6th century AD mosaic map of ancient Palestine at St. George’s Church in Madaba & the Church of the Apostles. Arrive at Petra. Enjoy a drink at the Nabatean Cave Bar before joining the Petra by Night evening excursion.

Day  04  :  Petra
Explore the legendary city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago and has been recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Day  05  :   Petra – Wadi Rum
Morning at leisure. At noon drive to Wadi Rum; one of the most spectacular desert scenery in the world. Explore its stunning landscape by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles.  Enjoy dining in a Bedouin camp before driving to Aqaba.

Day  06  :   Aqaba
Day at leisure in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba; Jordan’s only coastal city famed for its remarkably rich marine life and renowned for its palm-fringed beach resorts.

Day  07  :   Aqaba – Wadi Araba – Dead Sea ( Swim )
Drive via Wadi Araba road along the Jordan Rift Valley to the Dead Sea for an overnight stay at the lowest spot on earth where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort.

Day  08  :   Dead Sea – Q.A.I. Airport…
Transfer to Queen Alia International Airport for departure…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF JORDAN

9D|8N

HIGHLIGHTS OF JORDAN

ARRIVAL FROM AMMAN & DEPARTURE FROM AQABA

09 Days / 08 Nights

[ 02 Nights Amman | 02 Nights Dead Sea | 02 Nights Petra | 02 Nights Aqaba ]

 

 

ITINERARY

DAY   01   :  Q.A.I. AIRPORT – AMMAN

Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport. Transfer to your hotel in Amman for a two night stay.

 

DAY   02   :  AMMAN – DESERT CASTLES s/s – AMMAN s/s

After breakfast, drive towards the magnificent Eastern Jordanian desert complexes, collectively known as the ‘Desert Castles’ where many intriguing caravanserais, ancient hunting lodges, bath houses, and ruins of fortified forts and palaces were built by the Umayyads, during the 7th and 8th century AD, to provide refuge to caravans crossing the harsh arid desert and as a testimony to the Umayyad princes’ love of hunting and leisure and as a retreat from city life. The mighty structure of Qasr el-Kharaneh with its imposing walls and narrow slits looks like a military fortress but experts believe that it was probably used as a caravansary, being set on the path of several ancient trade routes. Qasr Amra is the most charming of all the Umayyad buildings in Jordan, built as a bath-house around (AD 711). The real outstanding attraction of Qasr Amra is the frescoes adorning its interior walls and ceilings. They are of exceptional interest for what they portray of human life: men hunting, athletes competing, woman bathing and dancers. Qasr el-Azraq was built by the Romans as a military outpost. It was then used by the Byzantines, and later on by the Umayyad Caliphs for their hunting expeditions in and around the marshes. Qal’at el-Azraq is most famous for having been the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia in World War I during the Great Arab revolt against the Turks.

 

Return to the capital Amman for a city tour to include a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which reviews the eventful life of the late King Hussein through his cars and motorcycles, showcasing part of Jordan’s history and the Hashemite Dynasty. In the vicinity you may enjoy views of King Hussein Bin Tallal Mosque with its impressive modern Islamic architecture. Proceed to the

Downtown area (Balad), the oldest part of Amman, which is crowned by the ancient Citadel (Jabal al-Qala’a), offering a panoramic view of the whole downtown area. Here one can also see the ancient Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church & the domed Islamic Omayyad Palace. At the foot of the Citadel is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, still used today for cultural events. Visit Jordan Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which exhibits over 2,000 artifacts of Jordanian history and archaeology.

Drive up from the old downtown area to Jabal Amman which was once the elite’s neighborhood when the city was just a small town occupying the downtown valley floors. Explore on foot Rainbow Street renowned for its fine old villas dating from 1920, where some are now used as showrooms to promote local crafts such as Jordan River Foundation or turned to traditional street cafes, small antique stores or Hammam such as Al-Pasha Turkish Bath where you may enjoy a traditional bath or a glass of Karkadeh drink (hibiscus) in its beautiful garden courtyard. Stop at Wild Jordan with its spectacular views overlooking the downtown area, and which promotes items often produced by rural women in the different nature reserves of Jordan ranging from jewelry to painted ostrich eggs, organic herbs, dried fruits and soap.

 

DAY   03   :  AMMAN – JERASH s/s – UMM QAIS s/s – JORDAN VALLEY – DEAD SEA

After breakfast drive to one of the most splendid provincial cities anywhere in the Roman Empire, the remarkably well preserved 2,000 year old city of Jerash.

From the southern end walking past Hadrian’s Arch and alongside the impressive 244m long Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in antiquity, one enters the ancient city of Jerash, onto the lovely colonnaded Oval Plaza, connecting the Temple of Zeus, which overlooks it, with the main street, the Cardo, which is beautifully lined by Corinthian columns. Overlooking the Plaza is the extraordinarily well preserved and the most magnificent of all the city’s monuments, the South Theater, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the magnificent Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place and the Omayyad residential quarter. Further up is a 4th century AD Cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the impressively carved Nymphaeum (public fountain), an Omayyad mosque, the arches of the West Baths and the North Theater. One can also see the Temple of Artemis and the western churches.

 

Proceed to visit the Decapolis city of Umm Qais, which is not only popular because of its extensive ruins but because of its magnificent panoramic views over the Golan Heights, Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) and the Jordan Valley. The ancient city was known by the Romans as Gadara and is believed to be the site where Jesus Christ cast out demons from two men and forced the evil spirits to enter a herd of pigs, which in turn rushed down the steep slope and drowned in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew chapter 8, 28-34). Much of what can be seen today was actually constructed during the 2nd century AD. A visitor can observe the West Theater which was constructed from the black basalt, and once seated an audience of 3,000 people. Beside the West Theater, stand the black basalt Corinthian columns of the 6th century octagonal Byzantine church, and further west is a bath complex. Numerous Greco-Roman tombs and a colonnaded street can also be observed.

 

Continue along the fertile Jordan Valley, where early settlements were built 10,000 years ago and significant biblical events took place, to the Dead Sea for a two night stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY   04   :  DEAD SEA

Day spent at leisure in the Dead Sea; the lowest spot on earth where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort. The extraordinarily unique healing and beautifying powers along with the relaxing feeling that this salt lake imparts, makes it an exceptional natural spa with exclusive benefits, ranging from the oxygen-rich atmospheric haze which filters out harmful ultra-violet sunrays to the soothing and therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich salty waters and mud.

 

DAY   05   :  DEAD SEA – MOUNT NEBO s/s – MADABA s/s – WADI EL MUJIB – KERAK s/s – PETRA

After breakfast, drive to the rose-red city of Petra for a two night stay, along one the oldest continuously used routes in the world; the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway. En route visit Mount Nebo which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC and is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and from where he viewed the Holy Land. On the top of the 1000m hill are the ruins of Moses Memorial Church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. Inside, are the remains of magnificent mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and herding scenes but unfortunately the church is now momentarily closed for renovation. From a viewing platform in front of the church and looking out towards the Holy Land, a visitor may see a an Italian-designed bronze memorial of a snake on a cross which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mount Nebo commands excellent sweeping views over the Dead Sea and the entire Jordan Valley and on a clear day one can also see the rooftops of Jerusalem (46km) and Bethlehem.

 

Drive on to Madaba the “City of Mosaics” which is renowned for its magnificent collection of lavish Byzantine mosaics found in its churches and homes. The most famous and significant of all the city’s treasures is one of the oldest maps of ancient Palestine, the 6th century AD mosaic map which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, depicting the major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine. The extraordinary map offers a historical insight into the surrounding region and was depicted in the past for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The River Nile, Mount Sinai, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Gaza, Bethlehem and the detailed Holy City of Jerusalem where one can still clearly make out the city walls, gates, the main street (cardo) and the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The City of Mosaics has an interesting Archaeological Park which houses a rich collection of ruins and mosaics from the area, and a Folklore Museum housed at the Madaba Museum, which displays a collection of ancient artifacts, pottery, jewellery and traditional costumes.

 

Continue through the spectacular canyon of Wadi el-Mujib to the Crusader stronghold of Kerak where you will visit the imposing fortified castle which was built in AD 1142 and had witnessed many battles between the Crusaders and Saladin’s Muslim armies until its surrender to the Arabs after more than a one year of siege. Visitors will be amazed by the network of the dimly lit vaulted rooms and long winding corridors, which lead into each other through heavy arches and doorways. Also of interest, are the narrow arrow slits in the walls, to prevent invaders from climbing up the steep rocky slope to the castle.

 

 

DAY   06   :  PETRA s/s – CAVE BAR – THE ROCK CAMP ( DINNER )

After breakfast, explore the legendary city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago and has been recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The breathtaking ancient city is accessed by foot through the magnificent 1.2 km narrow Siq (gorge), which leads to Petra’s most famous 1st century BC monument, the spectacularly carved Treasury which appears dramatically as you enter the hidden city at the end of the Siq. The numerous stunning ruins of tombs, known as the Street of Facades, lead your way into the remarkable 3,000 seat rock carved Theatre, and the impressive collection of Royal Tombs. The once bustling colonnaded market street, leads to the Great Temple, the beautiful 5th century AD Byzantine Church and to the mighty Qasr el-Bint Faroun. Should you wish to explore Petra further, a flight of about 900 steps cut into the colorful rock, takes you up to the gigantic 1sth century AD monument of the Monastery, with its stunning views over Wadi Araba.

 

In the evening enjoy a drink at the rock carved Nabatean Cave Bar before driving to The Rock Camp in Little Petra area which is set on an ancient site of a Nabatean winery and where 2,000 year old water channels are still visible. The camp offers an insight into the Bedouin’s way of life. Enjoy their hospitality while dining under lamp-lit, hand woven tents. Share in authentic Shraak bread baking, and relax around the campfire under the starlit skies. Tantalize your senses with the taste of fresh cardamom-spiced coffee grinded and roasted in front of you. Get adorned with temporary Henna tattooing; traditionally thought to have magical powers & Kohl eyeliner, still popular amongst the Bedouins as a natural protection against the harsh desert sun. Return to your hotel.

 

 

DAY   07   :  PETRA s/s – WADI RUM ( 4X4 ) ( DINNER ) – AQABA

After breakfast return to Petra for a second half day visit in the morning where you may climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice; the most significant sacred site chosen for devotion and sacrifice where animal offerings were made at the rock carved sacrificial alter.

 

Drive to Wadi Rum best described by Lawrence of Arabia as ‘vast, echoing and God-like’ for its stunning natural beauty, and known by the Arabs as the Valley of the Moon for its moonscape terrain of ancient riverbeds, soaring wind carved rocks and smooth golden dunes, offering the most spectacular desert scenery in the world. Explore its stunning landscape and venture far into the magnificent desert by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles while marveling at the massive mountains, beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring rock formations and remarkable desert sunset. Enjoy dining in the desert before driving to Aqaba for a two night stay.

 

 

DAY   08   :  AQABA

Day at leisure in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city famed for its remarkably rich marine life and renowned for its palm-fringed beach resorts. Possibility to relax at the beach or to enjoy the different water sports activities or a trip on the semi-submersible submarine to explore the wanders of the Red Sea.

 

DAY   09   :  HOTEL – AQABA AIRPORT…

After breakfast transfer to Aqaba Airport to connect flights in Amman.

 

 

JORDAN MARVELS

13D|12N

 

JORDAN MARVELS

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE FROM AMMAN

13 Days / 12 Nights

[ 04 Nights Amman | 02 Nights Ma’in | 02 Nights Petra | 02 Nights Aqaba | 2 Nights Dead Sea ]

 

 

ITINERARY

DAY   01   :  Q.A.I. AIRPORT – AMMAN

Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport. Transfer to your hotel in Amman for a three night stay.

 

 

DAY   02   :  AMMAN s/s

After breakfast, tour Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Start with a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum which reviews the eventful life of the late King Hussein through his cars and motorcycles, showcasing part of Jordan’s history and the Hashemite Dynasty. In the vicinity is King Hussein Bin Tallal Mosque with its impressive modern Islamic architecture.

 

Proceed to the

Downtown area (Balad), the oldest part of Amman, which is crowned by the ancient Citadel (Jabal al-Qala’a), offering a panoramic view of the whole downtown area. Here one can also see the ancient Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church, the domed Islamic Omayyad Palace, and the National Archaeological Museum which, although small, houses a good collection of the antiquities of Jordan. At the foot of the Citadel is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, still used today for cultural events. Visit Jordan Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which exhibits over 2,000 artifacts of Jordanian history and archaeology. Stroll through the old bustling downtown souk (market) which offers everything from a fruit market to tiny artisans’ workshops and clothes. Enjoy the sights of authentic souvenirs, the glittering gold souk, the smell of spices and stop at Habiba pastry shop, most famous for serving “knafeh” traditional dessert.

 

Drive up from the old downtown area to Jabal Amman which was once the elite’s neighborhood when the city was just a small town occupying the downtown valley floors. Explore on foot Rainbow Street renowned for its fine old villas dating from 1920, where some are now used as showrooms to promote local crafts such as Jordan River Foundation and stop at Wild Jordan with its spectacular views overlooking the downtown area, and which promotes items often produced by rural women in the different nature reserves of Jordan ranging from jewelry to painted ostrich eggs, organic herbs, dried fruits and soap.

 

Drive to Abdoun, a contemporary residential area which boasts some of the best modern architecture, and very popular amongst the locals for its numerous restaurants and cafes.

 

 

DAY   03   :  AMMAN – JERASH s/s ( RACE ) – UMM QAIS s/s – AMMAN

After breakfast, drive north of Amman to visit one of the most splendid provincial cities anywhere in the Roman Empire, the 2,000 year old city of Jerash. From the southern end walking past Hadrian’s Arch and alongside the impressive 244m long Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in antiquity, one enters the ancient city of Jerash, onto the lovely colonnaded Oval Plaza, connecting the Temple of Zeus, which overlooks it, with the main street, the Cardo, which is beautifully lined by Corinthian columns. Overlooking the Plaza is the extraordinarily well preserved and the most magnificent of all the city’s monuments, the South Theater, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the magnificent Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place and the Omayyad residential quarter. Further up is a 4th century AD Cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the impressively carved Nymphaeum (public fountain), an Omayyad mosque, the arches of the West Baths and the North Theater. One can also see the Temple of Artemis and the western churches.

 

Enjoy the Roman Army And Chariot Experience ( RACE ) show in Jerash (subject to cancellation) which features forty-five legionaries in full armor in a display of Roman Army drill and battle tactics, ten gladiators fighting “to the death” and several Roman chariots competing in a classical seven lap race around the ancient hippodrome.

 

Drive on to the Decapolis city of Umm Qais, which was known by the Romans as Gadara and was famous for the richness of its intellectual life. Not only popular because of the extensive ruins but because of its magnificent panoramic views over the Golan Heights, Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) and the Jordan Valley. The ancient city of Gadara is also believed to be the site where Jesus Christ cast out demons from two men and forced the evil spirits to enter a herd of pigs, which in turn rushed down the steep slope and drowned in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew chapter 8, 28-34). Much of what can be seen today was actually constructed during the 2nd century AD. A visitor can observe the West Theater which was constructed from the black basalt, and once seated an audience of 3,000 people. Beside the West Theater, stand the black basalt Corinthian columns of the 6th century octagonal Byzantine church, and further west is a bath complex. Numerous Greco-Roman tombs and a colonnaded street can also be observed. Return to Amman.

 

 

 

DAY   04   :   AMMAN – DESERT CASTLES s/s – AZRAQ WETLAND RESERVE – AMMAN – TURKISH BATH 

After breakfast, drive towards the magnificent Eastern Jordanian desert complexes, collectively known as the ‘Desert Castles’ where many intriguing caravanserais, ancient hunting lodges, bath houses, and ruins of fortified forts and palaces were built by the Umayyads, during the 7th and 8th century AD, to provide refuge to caravans crossing the harsh arid desert and as a testimony to the Umayyad princes’ love of hunting and leisure and as a retreat from city life. The mighty structure of Qasr el-Kharaneh with its imposing walls and narrow slits looks like a military fortress but experts believe that it was probably used as a caravansary, being set on the path of several ancient trade routes. Qasr Amra is the most charming of all the Umayyad buildings in Jordan, built as a bath-house around (AD 711). The real outstanding attraction of Qasr Amra is the frescoes adorning its interior walls and ceilings. They are of exceptional interest for what they portray of human life: men hunting, athletes competing, woman bathing and dancers. Qasr el-Azraq was built by the Romans as a military outpost. It was then used by the Byzantines, and later on by the Umayyad Caliphs for their hunting expeditions in and around the marshes. Qal’at el-Azraq is most famous for having been the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia in World War I during the Great Arab revolt against the Turks.

 

Drive to Azraq Wetland Reserve which contains several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland and a large mudflat known as Qa’at Azraq. Scores of birds flock to the reserve each year, on their winter migration route from Europe to Africa, they include larks, finches, warblers, eagles, raptors, harriers, plovers and ducks. The reserve is also home to the wild water buffalo that live in the marshland. Lizards, foxes and jackals are sporadically seen in the late evening.

 

Return to Amman and experience a delightful traditional ritual at hammam Al-Pasha Turkish Bath where your whole body would be rejuvenated.

 

 

DAY   05   :  AMMAN – BETHANY s/s – MOUNT NEBO s/s – MADABA s/s – MA’IN

After breakfast drive to Bethany, the most important and extraordinary biblical site in Jordan. It marks the place in el-Kharrar Valley (Saphsaphas), East of the Jordan River, where our Lord Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, to be baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist “Then  cometh  Jesus  from  Galilee  to  Jordan  unto  John  to be  baptized  of him” (Matthew 3: 13), and where Prophet Eiljah is said to have ascended into heaven in the 9th century BC, on a chariot of fire from Elijah’s Hill which is located at the eastern edge of the valley. Recent excavations at the Baptism site has revealed caves, where monks and hermits used to live, remains of churches with mosaics and marble floors dating back to the Byzantine era, and some to the late Roman era, along with ancient baptismal pools, where pilgrims descended through the marble steps into the water to be baptized.

 

Proceed to Mount Nebo which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC and is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and from where he viewed the Holy Land. On the top of the 1000m hill are the ruins of Moses Memorial Church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. Inside, are the remains of magnificent mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and herding scenes but unfortunately the church is now momentarily closed for renovation. From a viewing platform in front of the church and looking out towards the Holy Land, a visitor may see a an Italian-designed bronze memorial of a snake on a cross which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mount Nebo commands excellent sweeping views over the Dead Sea and the entire Jordan Valley and on a clear day one can also see the rooftops of Jerusalem (46km) and Bethlehem.

 

Drive on to Madaba the “City of Mosaics” which is renowned for its magnificent collection of lavish Byzantine mosaics found in its churches and homes. The most famous and significant of all the city’s treasures is one of the oldest maps of ancient Palestine, the 6th century AD mosaic map which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, depicting the major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine. The extraordinary map offers a historical insight into the surrounding region and was depicted in the past for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The River Nile, Mount Sinai, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Gaza, Bethlehem and the detailed Holy City of Jerusalem where one can still clearly make out the city walls, gates, the main street (cardo) and the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

 

Continue to Ma’in, which is set dramatically amidst the mountains around a series of hot springs and waterfalls, for a two night stay.

 

 

DAY   06   :  MA’IN ( FREE ) 

Day at leisure to enjoy the therapeutic properties of the hot springs and hyper-thermal waterfalls of Hammamat Ma’in that cascade into natural mineral-rich hot pools, making it a wonderful retreat in the colder months.

 

 

DAY   07   :  MA’IN – WADI EL MUJIB – KERAK s/s – PETRA – CAVE BAR ( DRINK ) – PETRA BY NIGHT s/s

After breakfast, drive to the rose-red city of Petra for a two night stay, along part of one the oldest continuously used routes in the world; the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway. Pass through the spectacular canyon of Wadi el-Mujib to the Crusader stronghold of Kerak where you will visit its imposing fortified castle which was built in AD 1142 and had witnessed many battles between the Crusaders and Saladin’s Muslim armies until its surrender to the Arabs after more than a one year of siege. Visitors will be amazed by the network of the dimly lit vaulted rooms and long winding corridors, which lead into each other through heavy arches and doorways. Also of interest, are the narrow arrow slits in the walls, to prevent invaders from climbing up the steep rocky slope to the castle.

 

Arrive at Petra and check in at your hotel.

 

Enjoy a drink at the Nabatean Cave Bar before joining the Petra by Night evening excursion where the ‘rose-red’ city is transformed into a world of magic with only the flickering light of candles to guide you way to the Treasury (Petra by Night operates on Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays).

 

 

 

 

DAY   08   :  PETRA s/s – THE ROCK CAMP ( DINNER )

After breakfast, explore the legendary city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago and has been recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The breathtaking ancient city is accessed by foot through the magnificent 1.2 km narrow Siq (gorge), which leads to Petra’s most famous 1st century BC monument, the spectacularly carved Treasury which appears dramatically as you enter the hidden city at the end of the Siq. The numerous stunning ruins of tombs, known as the Street of Facades, lead your way into the remarkable 3,000 seat rock carved Theatre, and the impressive collection of Royal Tombs. The once bustling colonnaded market street, leads to the Great Temple, the beautiful 5th century AD Byzantine Church and to the mighty Qasr el-Bint Faroun. Should you wish to explore Petra further, a flight of about 900 steps cut into the colorful rock, takes you up to the gigantic 1sth century AD monument of the Monastery, with its stunning views over Wadi Araba.

 

Drive to The Rock Camp in Little Petra area which is set on an ancient site of a Nabatean winery and where 2,000 year old water channels are still visible. The camp offers an insight into the Bedouin’s way of life. Enjoy their hospitality while dining under lamp-lit, hand woven tents. Share in authentic Shraak bread baking, and relax around the campfire under the starlit skies. Tantalize your senses with the taste of fresh cardamom-spiced coffee grinded and roasted in front of you. Get adorned with temporary Henna tattooing; traditionally thought to have magical powers & Kohl eyeliner, still popular amongst the Bedouins as a natural protection against the harsh desert sun. Return to your hotel in the evening.

 

 

DAY   09   :  PETRA ( FREE ) – WADI RUM ( 4X4 ) ( DINNER ) – AQABA

Morning at leisure.

 

At noon drive to Wadi Rum best described by Lawrence of Arabia as ‘vast, echoing and God-like’ for its stunning natural beauty, and known by the Arabs as the Valley of the Moon for its moonscape terrain of ancient riverbeds, soaring wind carved rocks and smooth golden dunes, offering the most spectacular desert scenery in the world. Explore its stunning landscape and venture far into the magnificent desert by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles while marveling at the massive mountains, beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring rock formations and remarkable desert sunset. Enjoy dining in the desert before driving to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba for a two night stay.

 

 

DAY   10   :  AQABA ( FREE ) – SUBMARINE ( TRIP )

Morning relax at the palm-fringed beaches of Aqaba.

 

Afternoon, enjoy a trip on the semi-submersible submarine to explore the wanders of the Red Sea, famed for its remarkably rich marine life.

 

 

DAY   11   :  AQABA – WADI ARABA – MUJIB NATURE RESERVE ( HIKE ) – DEAD SEA ( FREE )  

After breakfast, drive via Wadi Araba road along the Jordan Rift Valley to the Dead Sea for a two night stay at the lowest spot on earth.

 

En route stop at the Mujib Reserve, one of the most enchanting nature reserves in Jordan and enjoy a delightful adventurous hike along its water filled canyons, crystal-clear pools and waterfalls (open between 1st of April and 31st of October).

 

 

DAY   12   :  DEAD SEA ( FREE )

Day at leisure in the Dead Sea, where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort. The extraordinarily unique healing and beautifying powers along with the relaxing feeling that this salt lake imparts, makes it an exceptional natural spa with exclusive benefits, ranging from the oxygen-rich atmospheric haze which filters out harmful ultra-violet sunrays to the soothing and therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich salty waters and mud.

 

 

DAY   13   :  DEAD SEA – QUEEN ALIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 

Transfer to Queen Alia International Airport for departure…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOURNEY THROUGH JORDAN

14D|13N

 

JOURNEY THROUGH JORDAN

ARRIVE FROM AMMAN & DEPARTURE FROM AQABA

14 Days / 13 Nights

[ 03 Nights Dead Sea | 03 Nights Amman | 02 Nights Ma’in | 02 Nights Petra | 03 Nights Aqaba ]

 

 

ITINERARY

DAY   01   :  Q.A.I. AIRPORT – DEAD SEA

Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. Transfer to the Dead Sea for a three night stay at the lowest spot on earth.

 

 

DAY   02   :  DEAD SEA ( FREE )

Day at leisure in the Dead Sea, where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort. The extraordinarily unique healing and beautifying powers along with the relaxing feeling that this salt lake imparts, makes it an exceptional natural spa with exclusive benefits, ranging from the oxygen-rich atmospheric haze which filters out harmful ultra-violet sunrays to the soothing and therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich salty waters and mud.

 

DAY   03   :  DEAD SEA – BETHANY s/s – MUJIB NATURE RESERVE ( HIKE ) – DEAD SEA

After breakfast drive to Bethany, the most important and extraordinary biblical site in Jordan. It marks the place in el-Kharrar Valley (Saphsaphas), East of the Jordan River, where our Lord Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, to be baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist “Then  cometh  Jesus  from  Galilee  to  Jordan  unto  John  to be  baptized  of him” (Matthew 3: 13), and where Prophet Eiljah is said to have ascended into heaven in the 9th century BC, on a chariot of fire from Elijah’s Hill which is located at the eastern edge of the valley. Recent excavations at the Baptism site has revealed caves, where monks and hermits used to live, remains of churches with mosaics and marble floors dating back to the Byzantine era, and some to the late Roman era, along with ancient baptismal pools, where pilgrims descended through the marble steps into the water to be baptized.

 

Proceed to the Mujib Reserve, one of the most enchanting nature reserves in Jordan and enjoy a delightful adventurous short hike along its water filled canyons, crystal-clear pools and waterfalls (open between 1st of April and 31st of October). Return to the Dead Sea.

 

DAY   04   :  DEAD SEA – JORDAN VALLEY – UMM QAIS s/s – JERASH s/s – AMMAN 

After breakfast, drive north along the fertile Jordan Valley, where early settlements were built 10,000 years ago and significant biblical events took place, to the Decapolis city of Umm Qais, which was known by the Romans as Gadara and was famous for the richness of its intellectual life. Not only popular because of the extensive ruins but because of its magnificent panoramic views over the Golan Heights, Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) and the Jordan Valley. The ancient city of Gadara is also believed to be the site where Jesus Christ cast out demons from two men and forced the evil spirits to enter a herd of pigs, which in turn rushed down the steep slope and drowned in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew chapter 8, 28-34). Much of what can be seen today was actually constructed during the 2nd century AD. A visitor can observe the West Theater which was constructed from the black basalt, and once seated an audience of 3,000 people. Beside the West Theater, stand the black basalt Corinthian columns of the 6th century octagonal Byzantine church, and further west is a bath complex. Numerous Greco-Roman tombs and a colonnaded street can also be observed.

 

Proceed to one of the most splendid provincial cities anywhere in the Roman Empire, the 2,000 year old city of Jerash. From the southern end walking past Hadrian’s Arch and alongside the impressive 244m long Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in antiquity, one enters the ancient city of Jerash, onto the lovely colonnaded Oval Plaza, connecting the Temple of Zeus, which overlooks it, with the main street, the Cardo, which is beautifully lined by Corinthian columns. Overlooking the Plaza is the extraordinarily well preserved and the most magnificent of all the city’s monuments, the South Theater, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the magnificent Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place and the Omayyad residential quarter. Further up is a 4th century AD Cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the impressively carved Nymphaeum (public fountain), an Omayyad mosque, the arches of the West Baths and the North Theater. One can also see the Temple of Artemis and the western churches.

 

Drive on to Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for a three night stay.

 

DAY   05   :  AMMAN s/s

After breakfast, tour Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Start with a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which reviews the eventful life of the late King Hussein through his cars and motorcycles, showcasing part of Jordan’s history and the Hashemite Dynasty. In the vicinity is King Hussein Bin Tallal Mosque with its impressive modern Islamic architecture.

 

Proceed to the

Downtown area (Balad), the oldest part of Amman, which is crowned by the ancient Citadel (Jabal al-Qala’a), offering a panoramic view of the whole downtown area. Here one can also see the ancient Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church and the domed Islamic Omayyad Palace. At the foot of the Citadel is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, still used today for cultural events. Visit Jordan Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which exhibits over 2,000 artifacts of Jordanian history and archaeology.

 

Stroll through the old bustling downtown souk (market) which offers everything from a fruit market to tiny artisans’ workshops and clothes. Enjoy the sights of authentic souvenirs, the glittering gold souk, the smell of spices and stop at Habiba pastry shop, most famous for serving “knafeh” traditional dessert.

 

Drive up from the old downtown area to Jabal Amman which was once the elite’s neighborhood when the city was just a small town occupying the downtown valley floors. Explore on foot Rainbow Street renowned for its fine old villas dating from 1920, where some are now used as showrooms to promote local crafts such as Jordan River Foundation and stop at Wild Jordan with its spectacular views overlooking the downtown area, and which promotes items often produced by rural women in the different nature reserves of Jordan ranging from jewelry to painted ostrich eggs, organic herbs, dried fruits and soap.

 

Drive to Abdoun, a contemporary residential area which boasts some of the best modern architecture, and very popular amongst the locals for its numerous restaurants and cafes.

 

 

DAY   06   :   AMMAN – DESERT CASTLES s/s – AZRAQ WETLAND RESERVE – AMMAN – TURKISH BATH 

After breakfast, drive towards the magnificent Eastern Jordanian desert complexes, collectively known as the ‘Desert Castles’ where many intriguing caravanserais, ancient hunting lodges, bath houses, and ruins of fortified forts and palaces were built by the Umayyads, during the 7th and 8th century AD, to provide refuge to caravans crossing the harsh arid desert and as a testimony to the Umayyad princes’ love of hunting and leisure and as a retreat from city life. The mighty structure of Qasr el-Kharaneh with its imposing walls and narrow slits looks like a military fortress but experts believe that it was probably used as a caravansary, being set on the path of several ancient trade routes. Qasr Amra is the most charming of all the Umayyad buildings in Jordan, built as a bath-house around (AD 711). The real outstanding attraction of Qasr Amra is the frescoes adorning its interior walls and ceilings. They are of exceptional interest for what they portray of human life: men hunting, athletes competing, woman bathing and dancers. Qasr el-Azraq was built by the Romans as a military outpost. It was then used by the Byzantines, and later on by the Umayyad Caliphs for their hunting expeditions in and around the marshes. Qal’at el-Azraq is most famous for having been the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia in World War I during the Great Arab revolt against the Turks.

 

Drive to Azraq Wetland Reserve which contains several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland and a large mudflat known as Qa’at Azraq. Scores of birds flock to the reserve each year, on their winter migration route from Europe to Africa, they include larks, finches, warblers, eagles, raptors, harriers, plovers and ducks. The reserve is also home to the wild water buffalo that live in the marshland. Lizards, foxes and jackals are sporadically seen in the late evening.

 

Return to Amman and experience a delightful traditional ritual at hammam Al-Pasha Turkish Bath where your whole body would be rejuvenated.

 

 

DAY   07   :  AMMAN – MADABA s/s – MOUNT NEBO s/s – DEAD SEA PANORAMIC COMPLEX s/s – MA’IN

After breakfast, drive to Madaba the “City of Mosaics” which is renowned for its magnificent collection of lavish Byzantine mosaics found in its churches and homes. The most famous and significant of all the city’s treasures is one of the oldest maps of ancient Palestine, the 6th century AD mosaic map which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, depicting the major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine. The extraordinary map offers a historical insight into the surrounding region and was depicted in the past for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The River Nile, Mount Sinai, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Gaza, Bethlehem and the detailed Holy City of Jerusalem where one can still clearly make out the city walls, gates, the main street (cardo) and the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

 

The City of Mosaics has an interesting Archaeological Park which houses a rich collection of ruins and mosaics from the area, and a Folklore Museum housed at the Madaba Museum, which displays a collection of ancient artifacts, pottery, jewellery and traditional costumes.

 

Proceed to Mount Nebo which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC and is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and from where he viewed the Holy Land. On the top of the 1000m hill are the ruins of Moses Memorial Church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. Inside, are the remains of magnificent mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and herding scenes but unfortunately the church is now momentarily closed for renovation. From a viewing platform in front of the church and looking out towards the Holy Land, a visitor may see a an Italian-designed bronze memorial of a snake on a cross which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mount Nebo commands excellent sweeping views over the Dead Sea and the entire Jordan Valley and on a clear day one can also see the rooftops of Jerusalem (46km) and Bethlehem.

 

Drive on to the Dead Sea Panoramic complex with its spectacular views over the Dead Sea and the Holy Land and where you will visit the Dead Sea Museum which exhibits samples of rocks and minerals and displays the unique geological features of the Dead Sea and the Rift Valley.

 

Continue to Ma’in, which is set dramatically amidst the mountains around a series of hot springs and waterfalls, for a two night stay.

 

 

DAY   08   :  MA’IN ( FREE ) 

Day at leisure to enjoy the therapeutic properties of the hot springs and hyper-thermal waterfalls of Hammamat Ma’in that cascade into natural mineral-rich hot pools, making it a wonderful retreat in the colder months.

 

 

DAY   09   :  MA’IN – WADI EL MUJIB – KERAK s/s – PETRA – CAVE BAR – PETRA BY NIGHT s/s ( Mon, Wed & Thu )

After breakfast drive to the rose-red city of Petra, for a two night stay, along part of one the oldest continuously used routes in the world; the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway. Pass through the spectacular canyon of Wadi el-Mujib to the Crusader stronghold of Kerak where you will visit its imposing fortified castle which was built in AD 1142 and had witnessed many battles between the Crusaders and Saladin’s Muslim armies until its surrender to the Arabs after more than a one year of siege. Visitors will be amazed by the network of the dimly lit vaulted rooms and long winding corridors, which lead into each other through heavy arches and doorways. Also of interest, are the narrow arrow slits in the walls, to prevent invaders from climbing up the steep rocky slope to the castle.

 

Arrive at Petra and check in at your hotel.

 

Enjoy a drink at the Nabatean Cave Bar before joining the Petra by Night evening excursion where the ‘rose-red’ city is transformed into a world of magic with only the flickering light of candles to guide you way to the Treasury (Petra by Night operates on Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays).

 

 

DAY   10   :  PETRA s/s – THE ROCK CAMP ( DINNER )

After breakfast, explore the legendary city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago and has been recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The breathtaking ancient city is accessed by foot through the magnificent 1.2 km narrow Siq (gorge), which leads to Petra’s most famous 1st century BC monument, the spectacularly carved Treasury which appears dramatically as you enter the hidden city at the end of the Siq. The numerous stunning ruins of tombs, known as the Street of Facades, lead your way into the remarkable 3,000 seat rock carved Theatre, and the impressive collection of Royal Tombs. The once bustling colonnaded market street, leads to the Great Temple, the beautiful 5th century AD Byzantine Church and to the mighty Qasr el-Bint Faroun. Should you wish to explore Petra further, a flight of about 900 steps cut into the colorful rock, takes you up to the gigantic 1sth century AD monument of the Monastery, with its stunning views over Wadi Araba.

 

Drive to The Rock Camp in Little Petra area which is set on an ancient site of a Nabatean winery and where 2,000 year old water channels are still visible. The camp offers an insight into the Bedouin’s way of life. Enjoy their hospitality while dining under lamp-lit, hand woven tents. Share in authentic Shraak bread baking, and relax around the campfire under the starlit skies. Tantalize your senses with the taste of fresh cardamom-spiced coffee grinded and roasted in front of you. Get adorned with temporary Henna tattooing; traditionally thought to have magical powers & Kohl eyeliner, still popular amongst the Bedouins as a natural protection against the harsh desert sun. Return to your hotel in the evening.

 

 

DAY   11   :  PETRA ( FREE ) – WADI RUM ( 4X4 ) ( DINNER ) – AQABA

Morning at leisure.

 

At noon drive to Wadi Rum best described by Lawrence of Arabia as ‘vast, echoing and God-like’ for its stunning natural beauty, and known by the Arabs as the Valley of the Moon for its moonscape terrain of ancient riverbeds, soaring wind carved rocks and smooth golden dunes, offering the most spectacular desert scenery in the world. Explore its stunning landscape and venture far into the magnificent desert by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles while marveling at the massive mountains, beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring rock formations and remarkable desert sunset. Enjoy dining in the desert before driving to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba for a two night stay.

 

 

DAY   12   :  AQABA ( FREE ) – SUBMARINE ( TRIP )

Morning relax at the palm-fringed beaches of Aqaba.

 

Afternoon, enjoy a trip on the semi-submersible submarine to explore the wanders of the Red Sea, famed for its remarkably rich marine life.

 

 

DAY   13   :  AQABA – PHARAOH’S ISLAND ( TRIP )

Join a full day cruise to Pharaoh’s Island in the Red Sea where you can explore the Crusader’s castle and enjoy a barbecue lunch aboard the yacht and snorkelling amongst the pristine reefs.

 

 

DAY   14   :  HOTEL – AQABA AIRPORT 

Transfer to Aqaba Airport for departure to Amman to connect flights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JORDAN ADVENTURE

15D|14N

 

JORDAN ADVENTURE

ARRIVAL FROM AMMAN & DEPARTURE FROM AQABA

15 Days / 14 Nights

[ 02 Nights Dead Sea | 01 Night Ajloun Nature Reserve | 02 Nights Amman | 01 Night Azraq |  01 Night Ma’in

01 Night in Rummana camp-Upper Dana |  01 Night in Feynan Eco Lodge-Lower Dana |  02 Nights Petra  |  01 Night Wadi Rum  |  02 Nights Aqaba ]

 

 

 

ITINERARY

DAY   01   :  Q.A.I. AIRPORT – DEAD SEA

Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. Transfer to the Dead Sea for a 2 night stay at the lowest spot on earth.

 

 

DAY   02   :  DEAD SEA ( FREE ) – MUJIB NATURE RESERVE ( HIKE ) – DEAD SEA ( FREE )

Morning at leisure in the Dead Sea, where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort. The extraordinarily unique healing and beautifying powers along with the relaxing feeling that this salt lake imparts, makes it an exceptional natural spa with exclusive benefits, ranging from the oxygen-rich atmospheric haze which filters out harmful ultra-violet sunrays to the soothing and therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich salty waters and mud.

 

Early afternoon, drive to one of the most wonderful nature reserves in Jordan, the enchanting Mujib Nature Reserve where you may enjoy a delightful adventurous hike along its water filled canyons, crystal-clear pools and waterfalls (open between 1st of April and 31st of October).

 

Return to the Dead Sea.

 

 

DAY   03   :  DEAD SEA – BETHANY s/s – AJLOUN CASTLE s/s – AJLOUN NATURE RESERVE

After breakfast drive to Bethany, the most important and extraordinary biblical site in Jordan. It marks the place in el-Kharrar Valley (Saphsaphas), East of the Jordan River, where our Lord Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, to be baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist “Then  cometh  Jesus  from  Galilee  to  Jordan  unto  John  to be  baptized  of him” (Matthew 3: 13), and where Prophet Eiljah is said to have ascended into heaven in the 9th century BC, on a chariot of fire from Elijah’s Hill which is located at the eastern edge of the valley. Recent excavations at the Baptism site has revealed caves, where monks and hermits used to live, remains of churches with mosaics and marble floors dating back to the Byzantine era, and some to the late Roman era, along with ancient baptismal pools, where pilgrims descended through the marble steps into the water to be baptized.

 

Drive on to Ajloun where you will visit the stronghold Castle of Ajloun, a fine example of Islamic architecture with remarkable commanding views. The impressive military castle was once surrounded by a sixteen-meter deep moat with a drawbridge, for defense purposes, along with towers that had narrow arrow slits and gaps in the stonework through which boiling oil was poured on assailants. The castle’s chambers were also filled with boulders for hurling at invaders by catapult.

 

Proceed to Ajloun Nature Reserve for the overnight in Ajloun’s remote highlands.

 

 

DAY   04   :   AJLOUN NATURE RESERVE ( HIKE ) – JERASH s/s – AMMAN

After breakfast enjoy a morning hike through the rolling woodland hills of Ajloun Nature Reserve amongst the evergreen Oak, Pine and Wild Pistachio tree forests and visit the surrounding villages of Rasun and Orjan where you may get to see the local women at their workshops making pure olive oil soap.

 

Drive on to Jerash, one of the most splendid provincial cities anywhere in the Roman Empire, built over 2,000 years. From the southern end walking past Hadrian’s Arch and alongside the impressive 244m long Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in antiquity, one enters the ancient city of Jerash, onto the lovely colonnaded Oval Plaza, connecting the Temple of Zeus, which overlooks it, with the main street, the Cardo, which is beautifully lined by Corinthian columns. Overlooking the Plaza is the extraordinarily well preserved and the most magnificent of all the city’s monuments, the South Theater, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the magnificent Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place and the Omayyad residential quarter. Further up is a 4th century AD Cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the impressively carved Nymphaeum (public fountain), an Omayyad mosque, the arches of the West Baths and the North Theater. One can also see the Temple of Artemis and the western churches.

 

Continue to Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for a two night stay.

 

 

 

 

 

DAY   05   :  AMMAN s/s – TURKISH BATH

After breakfast, tour Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Start with a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which reviews the eventful life of the late King Hussein through his cars and motorcycles, showcasing part of Jordan’s history and the Hashemite Dynasty. In the vicinity is King Hussein Bin Tallal Mosque with its impressive modern Islamic architecture.

 

Proceed via Abdoun, a contemporary residential area which boasts some of the best modern architecture, to the

Downtown area (Balad), the oldest part of Amman, which is crowned by the ancient Citadel (Jabal al-Qala’a), offering a panoramic view of the whole downtown area. Here one can also see the ancient Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church, the domed Islamic Omayyad Palace, and the National Archaeological Museum which, although small, houses a good collection of the antiquities of Jordan. At the foot of the Citadel is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, still used today for cultural events. Visit Jordan Museum (closes on Tuesdays) which houses over 2,000 artifacts of the antiquities of Jordan. Stroll through the old bustling downtown souk (market) which offers everything from a fruit market to tiny artisans’ workshops and clothes. Enjoy the sights of authentic souvenirs, the glittering gold souk, the smell of spices and stop at Habiba pastry shop, most famous for serving “knafeh” traditional dessert.

 

Drive up from the old downtown area to Jabal Amman which was once the elite’s neighborhood when the city was just a small town occupying the downtown valley floors. Explore on foot Rainbow Street renowned for its fine old villas dating from 1920, where some are now used as showrooms to promote local crafts such as Jordan River Foundation and stop at Wild Jordan with its spectacular views overlooking the downtown area, and which promotes items often produced by rural women in the different nature reserves of Jordan ranging from jewelry to painted ostrich eggs, organic herbs, dried fruits and soap.

 

Experience a delightful traditional ritual at hammam Al-Pasha Turkish Bath where your whole body would be rejuvenated after.

 

 

DAY   06   :   AMMAN – DESERT CASTLES s/s – AZRAQ WETLAND RESERVE s/s – AZRAQ

After breakfast, drive towards the magnificent Eastern Jordanian desert complexes, collectively known as the ‘Desert Castles’ where many intriguing caravanserais, ancient hunting lodges, bath houses, and ruins of fortified forts and palaces were built by the Umayyads, during the 7th and 8th century AD, to provide refuge to caravans crossing the harsh arid desert and as a testimony to the Umayyad princes’ love of hunting and leisure and as a retreat from city life. The mighty structure of Qasr el-Kharaneh with its imposing walls and narrow slits looks like a military fortress but experts believe that it was probably used as a caravansary, being set on the path of several ancient trade routes. Qasr Amra is the most charming of all the Umayyad buildings in Jordan, built as a bath-house around (AD 711). The real outstanding attraction of Qasr Amra is the frescoes adorning its interior walls and ceilings. They are of exceptional interest for what they portray of human life: men hunting, athletes competing, woman bathing and dancers. Qasr el-Azraq was built by the Romans as a military outpost. It was then used by the Byzantines, and later on by the Umayyad Caliphs for their hunting expeditions in and around the marshes. Qal’at el-Azraq is most famous for having been the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia in World War I during the Great Arab revolt against the Turks.

 

Drive to Azraq Wetland Reserve which contains several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland and a large mudflat known as Qa’at Azraq. Scores of birds flock to the reserve each year, on their winter migration route from Europe to Africa, they include larks, finches, warblers, eagles, raptors, harriers, plovers and ducks. The reserve is also home to the wild water buffalo that live in the marshland. Lizards, foxes and jackals are sporadically seen in the late evening. Overnight in Azraq.

 

DAY   07   :  AZRAQ – MADABA s/s – MOUNT NEBO s/s – DEAD SEA PANORAMIC COMPLEX s/s – MA’IN

After breakfast, drive to Madaba the “City of Mosaics” which is renowned for its magnificent collection of lavish Byzantine mosaics found in its churches and homes. The most famous and significant of all the city’s treasures is one of the oldest maps of ancient Palestine, the 6th century AD mosaic map which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, depicting the major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine. The extraordinary map offers a historical insight into the surrounding region and was depicted in the past for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The River Nile, Mount Sinai, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Gaza, Bethlehem and the detailed Holy City of Jerusalem where one can still clearly make out the city walls, gates, the main street (cardo) and the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The City of Mosaics has an interesting Archaeological Park which houses a rich collection of ruins and mosaics from the area, and a Folklore Museum housed at the Madaba Museum, which displays a collection of ancient artifacts, pottery, jewellery and traditional costumes.

 

Proceed to Mount Nebo which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC and is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and from where he viewed the Holy Land. On the top of the 1000m hill are the ruins of Moses Memorial Church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. Inside, are the remains of magnificent mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and herding scenes but unfortunately the church is now momentarily closed for renovation. From a viewing platform in front of the church and looking out towards the Holy Land, a visitor may see a an Italian-designed bronze memorial of a snake on a cross which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mount Nebo commands excellent sweeping views over the Dead Sea and the entire Jordan Valley and on a clear day one can also see the rooftops of Jerusalem (46km) and Bethlehem.

 

Drive on to the Dead Sea Panoramic complex with its spectacular views over the Dead Sea and the Holy Land and where you will visit the Dead Sea Museum which exhibits samples of rocks and minerals and displays the unique geological features of the Dead Sea and the Rift Valley.

 

Continue to Ma’in, which is set dramatically amidst the mountains around a series of hot springs and waterfalls, for a two night stay.

 

DAY   08   :  MA’IN ( FREE ) – DANA NATURE RESERVE ( RUMMANA CAMPSITE )

Morning at leisure to enjoy the hot springs and hyper-thermal waterfalls of Hammamat Ma’in that cascade into natural mineral-rich hot pools.

 

At noon drive to Dana Nature Reserve, one of the largest and most beautiful protected areas in the kingdom, famed for its spectacular scenery and commanding views overlooking the Rift Valley below. Enjoy the wide variety of tree cover including juniper, citrus and desert acacias, home to 180 species of birds including the crested lark, chukar, Sinai rosefinch and crag martin. Overnight at Rummana campsite in the upper areas of the reserve with its remarkable views of the valley below (open from the 15th of March till the 31st of October).

 

 

DAY   09   :   DANA NATURE RESERVE ( DANA GUESTHOUSE – HIKE – FEYNAN ECOLODGE ) – STAR GAZING

After breakfast transfer to Dana Guesthouse where you may enjoy a full day moderate hike ( 14 km / 5–7 hrs. ) starting from the guesthouse at an elevation of 1,200m, descending along Wadi Dana rugged trail through the scenic Dana Biosphere Reserve, to the magnificent desert landscape of Wadi Feynan at 325m, where some of the oldest copper mines in the world have been unearthed. Encounter local Bedouins, and enjoy the different flora and fauna along the route while marvelling at the colourful sandstone rock formations carved by wind and floods. Overnight at the candle-lit Eco-Lodge of Feynan at the lower part of the reserve and enjoy an evening of telescope star observations.

 

 

DAY   10   :   FEYNAN – LITTLE PETRA s/s – BEIDHA s/s – THE ROCK CAMP PETRA ( DINNER ) – PETRA BY NIGHT s/s – CAMP

After breakfast drive to the legendary city of Petra along one the most spectacular routes in Jordan, the narrow winding road of Wadi Nemelleh with its spectacular views. Arrive at Little Petra area where you would check in at The Rock Camp Petra.

 

Explore the extraordinary site of Little Petra, which is hidden in a peaceful valley, amidst white sandstone domes (known in Arabic as Siq el-Barid); a miniature Petra with its own small gorge “siq” and impressive rock-hewn facades of monuments, water reservoirs, aqueducts and stairways. Little Petra was probably the major caravanserai of the Nabatean capital Petra. Just a short distance to the southwest of Siq el-Barid, is one of the region’s most important archaeological sites, the 9,000 year old Pre-Pottery Neolithic village of Beidha which was inhabited, long before the Nabateans, by the New Stone Age people where over 60 stone-built structures have been discovered among the ruins of this early farming community.

 

Enjoy an early dinner before Petra by Night at The Rock Camp which is set on an ancient site of a Nabatean winery and where 2,000 year old water channels are still visible and lit at night. The camp offers an insight into the Bedouin’s way of life. Enjoy their hospitality while dining under lamp-lit, hand woven tents. Share in authentic Shraak bread baking, and relax around the campfire under the starlit skies. Tantalize your senses with the taste of fresh cardamom-spiced coffee grinded and roasted in front of you. Get adorned with temporary Henna tattooing; traditionally thought to have magical powers & Kohl eyeliner, still popular amongst the Bedouins as a natural protection against the harsh desert sun.

 

Join the Petra by Night evening excursion where the ‘rose-red’ city is transformed into a world of magic with only the flickering light of candles to guide your way to the Treasury (Petra by Night operates on Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays).  Return to the camp for the overnight.

 

 

DAY   11   :   THE ROCK CAMP PETRA – BEIDHA ………. ( HIKE )………. PETRA s/s – CAVE BAR – HOTEL IN PETRA

After breakfast, transfer to Beidha area the starting point of a unique trail with stunning views over Wadi Araba that leads you to the breathtaking Nabatean city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago, from an unusual entrance visiting en route the magnificent 1st century AD monument of the Monastery. Descend 900 steps cut into the colourful rock, to the heart of the hidden city at the mighty monument of Qasr el-Bint Faroun.

 

The once bustling colonnaded market street, leads to the Great Temple and to the beautiful 5th century AD Byzantine Church. The impressive collection of Royal Tombs, leads your way to the remarkable 3,000 seat rock carved Theatre and Petra’s most famous 1st century BC monument, the spectacularly carved Treasury appears dramatically as you pass the numerous stunning ruins of tombs, known as the Street of Facades. Exit the hidden city through the magnificent 1.2km narrow Siq (gorge).

 

Enjoy a drink at the Nabatean Cave Bar in the evening. Overnight in Petra at your chosen hotel.

 

 

DAY   12   :  PETRA ( FREE ) – WADI RUM ( 4X4 ) ( CAMELS )

Morning at leisure.

 

At noon drive to Wadi Rum one of the world’s most magnificent and unique landscapes of endless desert and breathtaking mountain scenery. Explore its stunning landscape and venture far into the magnificent desert by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles while marveling at the massive mountains, beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring rock formations and bridges. Enjoy a camel ride on the vast golden dunes at sunset time before heading to your camp for the overnight in the desert.

 

 

DAY   13   :  WADI RUM ( HOT AIR BALLOON ) – AQABA ( FREE )

Early morning soar silently at first light on a hot air balloon to enjoy the tranquillity of the boundless empty desert and the magnificent landscape of Wadi Rum from up in the air. Return to the camp for breakfast.

 

Drive to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba where you may enjoy and relax at the palm-fringed beaches of Aqaba.

 

 

DAY   14   :  AQABA – PHARAOH’S ISLAND ( TRIP )

Join a full day cruise to Pharaoh’s Island in the Red Sea where you can explore the Crusader’s castle and enjoy a barbecue lunch aboard the yacht and snorkelling amongst the pristine reefs.

 

 

DAY   15   :  HOTEL – AQABA AIRPORT 

Transfer to Aqaba Airport for departure to Amman to connect flights.

 

 

BIBLICAL JORDAN

9D|8N

 

BIBLICAL JORDAN

ARRIVE & DEPARTURE FROM AMMAN

09 Days / 08 Nights

[ 01 Night Amman | 01 Night Bethany | 01 Night Ma’in | 02 Nights Petra | 01 Nights Aqaba | 02 Nights Dead Sea ]

 

 

 

 

ITINERARY

DAY   01   :  Q.A.I. AIRPORT – AMMAN

Arrive at Queen Alia International Airport. Transfer to your hotel in Amman; the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for the overnight.

 

 

DAY   02   :  AMMAN – JERASH s/s – ANJARA s/s – TELL MAR ELIAS s/s – UMM QAIS s/s – JORDAN VALLEY – BETHANY 

After breakfast drive to one of the most splendid provincial cities anywhere in the Roman Empire, the 2,000 year old city of Jerash. From the southern end walking past Hadrian’s Arch and alongside the impressive 244m long Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in antiquity, one enters the ancient city of Jerash, onto the lovely colonnaded Oval Plaza, connecting the Temple of Zeus, which overlooks it, with the main street, the Cardo, which is beautifully lined by Corinthian columns. Overlooking the Plaza is the extraordinarily well preserved and the most magnificent of all the city’s monuments, the South Theater, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the magnificent Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place and the Omayyad residential quarter. Further up is a 4th century AD Cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the impressively carved Nymphaeum (public fountain), an Omayyad mosque, the arches of the West Baths and the North Theater. One can also see the Temple of Artemis and the western churches.

 

Proceed to the biblical town of Anjara where it is believed that Jesus Christ along with his mother Mary and disciples spent the night in a cave near the town, during a journey between Jerusalem and Galilee. The exact location of the cave is unknown but a commemorative Roman Catholic shrine for Virgin Mary, was built in the 1950s, known as “The Church of Our Lady of the Mountain” or “Sayyidat al-Jebel”, with a statue for Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, placed within a newly built grotto. Anjara has been declared as one of Jordan’s five Christian pilgrimage sites along with Tell Mar Elias near Ajloun, Bethany on the Jordan River where Jesus Christ was baptized, Mount Nebo and Machaerous where John the Baptist was beheaded.

 

Drive on to biblical town of Tishbe, known as Listib; the birthplace and hometown of the Prophet Elijah who is named in 1 Kings as “Elijah the Tishbite”.  A pilgrimage site grew up during the Byzantine era, around the town of Listib, on a hilltop known as Tell Mar Elias, where the ruins of a seventh century AD cruciform church with wonderfully decorated mosaic floors were unearthed along with burial chambers and water cisterns. Prophet Elijah died in Bethany (the Baptism site) before ascending to heaven on a flaming chariot from Elijah’s Hill in Wadi al-Kharrar (Saphsaphas).

 

Proceed to the Decapolis city of Umm Qais, which was known by the Romans as Gadara and was famous for the richness of its intellectual life. Not only popular because of the extensive ruins but because of its magnificent panoramic views over the Golan Heights, Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) and the Jordan Valley. The ancient city of Gadara is also believed to be the site where Jesus Christ cast out demons from two men and forced the evil spirits to enter a herd of pigs, which in turn rushed down the steep slope and drowned in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew chapter 8, 28-34). Much of what can be seen today was actually constructed during the 2nd century AD. A visitor can observe the West Theater which was constructed from the black basalt, and once seated an audience of 3,000 people. Beside the West Theater, stand the black basalt Corinthian columns of the 6th century octagonal Byzantine church, and further west is a bath complex. Numerous Greco-Roman tombs and a colonnaded street can also be observed.

 

Drive along the fertile Jordan Valley, where early settlements were built 10,000 years ago and significant biblical events took place, to Bethany; the baptism site on the Jordan River for the overnight.

 

 

DAY   03   :   BETHANY s/s – MOUNT NEBO s/s – MADABA s/s – MA’IN

After breakfast visit Bethany, the most important and extraordinary biblical site in Jordan. It marks the place in el-Kharrar Valley (Saphsaphas), East of the Jordan River, where our Lord Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, to be baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist “Then  cometh  Jesus  from  Galilee  to  Jordan  unto  John  to be  baptized  of him” (Matthew 3: 13), and where Prophet Elijah is said to have ascended into heaven in the 9th century BC, on a chariot of fire from Elijah’s Hill which is located at the eastern edge of the valley.

 

The Baptism Site (al-Maghtas) is known in the Holy Bible as Bethany or Beth-abara (the Place of Crossing) “These things were done in Beth-abara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing” (John 1:28). From the days of John the Baptist, when he started his ministry and where he was baptizing, Bethany was considered a major Christian pilgrim station en route between Jerusalem and Bethlehem to the west and Mount Nebo to the east. Recent excavations have revealed a 5th century AD monastery built on the remains of a church around a cave, on the western side of Elijah’s hill, believed to be where John had lived and where Jesus was known to have visited him. The site is still very much the same as to how it would have looked in the time of Jesus and John, where the Bible describes the reeds and the small rough bushes which are habitats for bees, reminding us of what John the Baptist used to eat in the wilderness while he was preparing the way to the Lord, wild honey and locust. A wealth of sites was uncovered. Recent excavations have revealed caves, where monks and hermits used to live, dug into the upper layers of the eastern side cliffs of the Jordan River, the remains of churches with mosaics and marble floors dating back to the Byzantine era, and some to the late Roman era, along with ancient baptismal pools, where pilgrims descended through the marble steps into the water to be baptized. A vast water system that used to bring water from the valley to the church and a water reservoir were also found.

 

Proceed to Mount Nebo which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC and is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and from where he viewed the Holy Land. On the top of the 1000m hill are the ruins of Moses Memorial Church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. Inside, are the remains of magnificent mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and herding scenes but unfortunately the church is now momentarily closed for renovation. From a viewing platform in front of the church and looking out towards the Holy Land, a visitor may see a an Italian-designed bronze memorial of a snake on a cross which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mount Nebo commands excellent sweeping views over the Dead Sea and the entire Jordan Valley and on a clear day one can also see the rooftops of Jerusalem (46km) and Bethlehem.

 

After breakfast, drive to Madaba the “City of Mosaics” which is renowned for its magnificent collection of lavish Byzantine mosaics found in its churches and homes. The most famous and significant of all the city’s treasures is one of the oldest maps of ancient Palestine, the 6th century AD mosaic map which covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, depicting the major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine. The extraordinary map offers a historical insight into the surrounding region and was depicted in the past for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The River Nile, Mount Sinai, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Gaza, Bethlehem and the detailed Holy City of Jerusalem where one can still clearly make out the city walls, gates, the main street (cardo) and the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

 

Not to be missed is the Church of the Apostles, with its beautifully decorated mosaic floors depicting native birds, flowers, animals and a large central medallion, known as the female Personification of the Sea, surrounded by fish and marine creatures.

 

Continue to Hammamat Ma’in, which is set dramatically amidst the mountains around a series of hot springs and waterfalls, for the overnight.

 

 

DAY   04   :             HAMMAMAT MA’IN ( FREE ) – MACHAEROUS s/s – WADI EL MUJIB – PETRA – CAVE BAR ( DRINK )

Morning at leisure to enjoy the hot springs and hyper-thermal waterfalls of Hammamat Ma’in that cascade into natural mineral-rich hot pools, making it a wonderful retreat in the colder months. The therapeutic properties of these waters were already known and exploited in antiquity. During the 7th century AD, pilgrims travelled from all over the world to Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethany and Mount Nebo and ended their trip bathing in the natural hot springs and waterfalls of Hammamat Ma’in.

 

Drive to the desolate hilltop of Machaerus; the castle of Herod the Great and the place where John the Baptist was imprisoned, when he outspokenly denounced King Herod Antipas’ marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias. John the Baptist was later beheaded on the King’s birthday when Herodias’ daughter, Salome, is said to have danced in return for a wish, which was the Baptist’s head on a plate. The site is protected by deep ravines and the ruins themselves are quite modest but the view over much of the Dead Sea and the hills of Palestine is breathtaking.

 

Continue along part of the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway and through the spectacular canyon of Wadi el-Mujib, biblically known as the Arnon, to the legendary city of Petra for a 2 night stay.

 

Enjoy a drink at the Nabatean Cave Bar in the evening.

 

 

DAY   05   :  PETRA s/s – THE ROCK CAMP ( DINNER )

After breakfast, explore the legendary city of Petra which was carved entirely out of solid sandstone rock more than 2,000 years ago and has been recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The breathtaking ancient city is accessed by foot through the magnificent 1.2 km narrow Siq (gorge), which leads to Petra’s most famous 1st century BC monument, the spectacularly carved Treasury which appears dramatically as you enter the hidden city at the end of the Siq. The numerous stunning ruins of tombs, known as the Street of Facades, lead your way into the remarkable 3,000 seat rock carved Theatre, and the impressive collection of Royal Tombs. The once bustling colonnaded market street, leads to the Great Temple, the beautiful 5th century AD Byzantine Church and to the mighty Qasr el-Bint Faroun. Should you wish to explore Petra further, a flight of about 900 steps cut into the colorful rock, takes you up to the gigantic 1sth century AD monument of the Monastery, with its stunning views over Wadi Araba.

 

Drive to The Rock Camp in Little Petra area which is set on an ancient site of a Nabatean winery and where 2,000 year old water channels are still visible. The camp offers an insight into the Bedouin’s way of life. Enjoy their hospitality while dining under lamp-lit, hand woven tents. Share in authentic Shraak bread baking, and relax around the campfire under the starlit skies. Tantalize your senses with the taste of fresh cardamom-spiced coffee grinded and roasted in front of you. Get adorned with temporary Henna tattooing; traditionally thought to have magical powers & Kohl eyeliner, still popular amongst the Bedouins as a natural protection against the harsh desert sun. Return to your hotel in the evening.

 

 

DAY   06   :  PETRA ( FREE ) – WADI RUM ( 4X4 ) ( DINNER ) – AQABA

Morning at leisure.

 

At noon drive to Wadi Rum best described by Lawrence of Arabia as ‘vast, echoing and God-like’ for its stunning natural beauty, and known by the Arabs as the Valley of the Moon for its moonscape terrain of ancient riverbeds, soaring wind carved rocks and smooth golden dunes, offering the most spectacular desert scenery in the world. Explore its stunning landscape and venture far into the magnificent desert by Bedouin four-wheel drive vehicles while marveling at the massive mountains, beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring rock formations and remarkable desert sunset. Enjoy dining in the desert before driving to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba for the overnight stay.

 

 

DAY   07   :   AQABA ( FREE ) – WADI ARABA – LOT’ CAVE s/s – DEAD SEA

Morning relax at the palm-fringed beaches of Aqaba.

 

At noon, drive via Wadi Araba road along the Dead Sea Rift Valley to the Dead Sea; the lowest spot on earth, visiting en route Lot’s Cave in the barren hills overlooking the ancient city of Zoar (modern Safi) where Lot and his two daughters sought refuge after the destruction of Sodom while his wife turned into a pillar of salt because she had defied God’s orders and looked back to watch the destruction of Sodom.

 

According to the Bible “The five Bronze-Age Cities of the Plain”, mentioned in the Bible as Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoar, Admah and Zeboim and known as the world’s most sinful cities, were destroyed by the Lord with a rain of brimstone and fire to put an end to the perversions and wickedness of its people. Genesis 19 describes how God sent his two angels to Sodom, to lead Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and his family outside the city before its destruction. The cave where Lot and his two daughters dwelt in has been recently discovered along with ruins of a small Byzantine church with mosaic floors and burial chambers. At the base of the hill is Lot’s Museum, “The Lowest Museum on Earth” where about 400 archaeological finds from the area and across the Jordan Valley, representing history from 8000BC, are exhibited.

 

 

DAY   08   :   DEAD SEA ( FREE )

Day at leisure in the Dead Sea, where one can experience floating ethereally on its saline waters without exerting any effort. The extraordinarily unique healing and beautifying powers along with the relaxing feeling that this salt lake imparts, makes it an exceptional natural spa with exclusive benefits, ranging from the oxygen-rich atmospheric haze which filters out harmful ultra-violet sunrays to the soothing and therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich salty waters and mud.

 

 

DAY   09   :  DEAD SEA – QUEEN ALIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 

Transfer to Queen Alia International Airport for departure…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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