Each of us has a set of must-visit countries on our bucket lists – Europe, Thailand, Singapore, and many other places that we plan to visit on our next vacation. But, how many of us consider Jordan to be one amongst it? We give you 5 reasons why this beautiful country must be on your to-do, if it isn’t already.
A holiday destination that encompasses beaches, mountains, deserts, historical places and adventure activities, all in one trip, Jordan is definitely a holiday destination worth visiting. Geographically placed in West Asia, it is a land of fascinating contrasts. Warm, welcoming and safe – Jordan is truly a rewarding experience.
The History At Petra
The ancient Nabataean city of Petra astounds with its elaborate tomb and temple architecture, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is located in Jordan’s southwestern desert, and dates back to 300 B.C. Petra is half carved into vibrant pink sandstone cliffs, thus earning its nickname ‘Rose City’. Meaning ‘rock’ in Greek, Petra is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites and has been included in the list of ‘The New Seven Wonders of the World’ in 2007.
Petra is accessed by a narrow canyon ‘Al Siq’, which is its natural gateway. At the end of the canyon is the dramatic facade of ‘Al Khazneh’ or the Treasury. This is one of Petra’s most famous landmarks, with ornate Greek style architecture. It has a stunning vision of exquisite craftsmanship. Visitors can witness blends of Nabataean and Greco-Roman architectural styles in the city’s tombs. Several scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ were filmed here. Spend a day here, getting lost in its magnificence and marvel at its mysteries!
The Sea World At Aqaba
French explorer Jacque Cousteau famously said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever.” These wise words hold true for the tryst with the sea one can get at Aqaba.
Aqaba is Jordan’s beach resort, located at the country’s southernmost tip. Some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling experiences are packed along the 20 kilometre coastline of the Red Sea, which lies between Aqaba and the Saudi border. Watch out for the wide fields of soft corals that stretch into this pristine clear blue water. ‘Japanese Garden’ is a world-renowned diving site, with a spectacular, colourful reef bed. It starts in the shallows and gently slopes away as it gets deeper. The marine life is delightfully diverse; witness endless species of big and small multi coloured swimmers peering back at you. A couple of days in the leisurely town of Aqaba are sure to make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
The Dunes Of Wadi Rum
Imagine being in an almost infinite, untouched desert landscape? Wadi Rum is counted among one of the most exotic locales of Jordan. Much of the epic Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here in the early 1960s. Located in southern Jordan, 60 kilometres to the east of Aqaba, it is a home to the semi nomadic Bedouin tribes. A haven for trekkers and climbers, Wadi Rum has a lot to offer. Activities include riding Arabian horses, camel rides, hiking and rock climbing among the massive stone formations while camping under the stars. ATVs and jeeps are also available for adrenaline enthusiasts looking for a thrilling adventure in the desert.
Luxury camping retreats have sprung up over the years to give tourists a more comfortable stay. Sleep a night in the desert to soak in the extraordinary sunset, the blissful coolness of the night winds, and view the stunning starry sky. It is calming, yet magical! And wait; don’t sleep in till late, an early morning hike to catch the sunrise is unforgettable. Explore the majestic experience of being transported to a surreal world.
The Mysteries Of The Dead Sea
We’ve all heard of the Dead Sea. We just have never considered that a trip to this enigmatic waterbody can actually be so exciting! Enjoy floating on the sea while being treated to therapeutic health treatments, and enjoy this exceptional experience. The Dead Sea gets its name owing to the unusually high salinity levels of the lake, which ensures that no aquatic animals can ever survive in it. It is flanked by the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west and mountains to the east. You must slather the mineral laden mud on yourself on the beach, and wash it off in the lake once it dries. The water and mud have proven to have medical benefits, especially for skin diseases and joint problems. Most hotels here have attached medical centres and spas. Don’t forget to pick up the skin care products as souvenirs for your friends and families.
A Glimpse Of The Citadel
Let the sweeping panoramic views of downtown Amman enthral you at the Citadel. Located on the highest hill Jabal Al Qal’a in Amman, the Citadel’s most popular sights are the Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad Palace. The two giant pillars dating back to the 2nd century, are remains of the Roman Temple of Hercules. They are visible from around the town. Look out for the remnant of a stone-carved hand, which is said to be a part of an immense statue of Hercules. The viewing point nearby offers striking sights of the city, and is a must visit for a truly picturesque sunset. The Umayyad Palace complex is on the upper terrace of the Citadel, which was built in the 8th century. It includes the remains of a large Ummayad mosque, an entrance hall, a colonnaded street and the residential quarters of the then ruler of Amman.
Jordan isn’t just beautiful; it’s also a very safe city to visit. There is hardly any vehicular traffic, but you may occasionally come up alongside a camel while driving down the road.
Fact File On Jordan
Location: Jordan, Middle East
Official Language: Arabic
Currency: Jordanian Dinar (JD)
Food & Drinks: Hummus, Ful Medames, Jordanian Meze, Arak, Jordanian Wine
Time zone: EET (UTC+2)
A Pune’ite who is in love with the world, Alefiya Rashiq is a copywriter and a communications professional. Cracking into jigs, making quirky observations and her untimely giggles keep her going when she is not writing. Life is NOW, she believes!
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