Explore Jordan

Jordan has delighted visitors for centuries with its World Heritage Sites, friendly towns and inspiring desert landscapes.

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Petra

A World Heritage Site that needs little introduction; suffice to say, no visit to Jordan is complete without at least two days spent exploring the remarkable Ancient City.



Photo: David Santiago Garcia / Getty Images.

The spectacular sandstone city of Petra was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans, who carved palaces, temples, tombs, storerooms and stables from the soft stone cliffs.

Citadel

Sits on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel Al Qala’a (about 850m above sea level), and is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon.



Photo: Ayse Topbas / Getty Images.

Artefacts dating from the Bronze Age show that the hill was a fortress and/or agora (open space for commerce and politics) for thousands of years.

Roman Ruins of Jerash

The ruined city of Jerash is Jordan's largest and most interesting Roman site, and a major tourist drawcard.



Photo: Housam A Labbad.

Its imposing ceremonial gates, colonnaded avenues, temples and theatres all speak to the time when this was an important imperial centre. Even the most casual fan of archaeology will enjoy a half-day at the site – but take a hat and sunscreen in the warmer months, as the exposed ruins can be very hot to explore.

Siq

The walk through this magical corridor, as it snakes its way towards the hidden city, is one full of anticipation for the wonders ahead



Photo: Sylvester Adams / Getty Images.

The 1.2km Siq, or canyon, with its narrow, vertical walls, is undeniably one of the highlights of Petra.

High Place of Sacrifice

The obelisks are more than 6m high; they are remarkable structures because they are carved out of the rock face, not built upon it



Photo: Ramillah / Shutterstock.

A flight of steps signposted just before the Theatre leads to the site: turn right at the obelisks to reach the sacrificial platform. You can ascend by donkey (about JD10 one way), but you’ll sacrifice both the sense of achievement on reaching the summit and the good humour of your poor old transport.

Monastery

Hidden high in the hills, the Monastery is one of the legendary monuments of Petra. Similar in design to the Treasury but far bigger



It was built in the 3rd century BCE as a Nabataean tomb. It derives its name from the crosses carved on the inside walls, suggestive of its use as a church in Byzantine times. The ancient rock-cut path of more than 800 steps starts from the Basin Restaurant and follows the old processional route.

Shaumari Wildlife Reserve

stablished in 1975 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), this 22 sq km reserve was created with the aim of reintroducing wildlife that has disappeared from the region



Photo: Mark Daffey / Getty Images.

Most notably the highly endangered Arabian oryx, Persian onagers (wild ass), Dorcas gazelles and houbara bustards. The reserve has recently undergone a radical overhaul to make it an excellent and singular Jordanian tourism experience.

Theatre

Originally built by the Nabataeans (not the Romans) more than 2000 years ago, the Theatre was chiselled out of rock, slicing through many caves and tombs in the process.



Photo: Nickolay Vinokurov / Shutterstock.

It was enlarged by the Romans to hold about 8500 (around 30% of the population of Petra) soon after they arrived in 106 CE. Badly damaged by an earthquake in 363 CE, the Theatre was partially dismantled to build other structures but it remains a Petra highlight.

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