Monday, September 14, 2009

Places to Visit in Jordan

This post is specifically for my parents who are planning a trip to Jordan sometime this winter. However, it is also for anyone who are just interested or would like to come visit us or visit Jordan sometime!

Amman is the capital and largest city in Jordan. In 2008, it was estimated that there are 2,525,000 inhabitants.

It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The first civilization on record is during the Neolithic period, around 8500 BC.

It sits atop seven hills, which are represented by the seven pronged star depicted on the Jordanian flag. As it is situated on seven hills, it was a favorite place for Roman soldiers and officials. In downtown Amman there is a large Roman theatre, which seats 6,000 spectators. The theatre was built between 138 and 161 AD by the Romans and it is constructed into the side of the mountain and is still used for sports displays and cultural events.

Shopping is continually becoming more popular in Jordanian culture. Check out their malls: Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, Amman Mall, City Mall, Plaza Mall and AlBaraka Mall. Downtown Amman is always an exciting place to shop: many people for people watching, busy streets filled with cars and vendors, bazar's and small shop's to spend the day shopping and looking around at unusual and beautiful handmade crafts.

Petra (3 hours South of Amman)
Petra is one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It is Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the mountains by the Nabataeans, more than 2000 years ago. It was important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.

Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1 kilometre in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80 metres high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colours and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury). A massive fa├žade, 30m wide and 43m high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink, rock-face and dwarfing everything around it. It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king and represents the engineering genius of these ancient people.

Fun fact: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed here.

Wadi Rum (near Petra, about 3 hours South of Amman)
Wadi Rum is a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Huge mountains of sandstone and granite emerge, sheer-sided, from wide sandy valleys to reach heights of 1700 meters and more. Narrow canyons and fissures cut deep into the mountains and many conceal ancient rock drawings etched by the peoples of the desert over millennia. Bedouin tribes still live among the mountains of Rum and their large goat-hair tents are a special feature of the landscape.

There are many ways to enjoy the attractions of Rum, including jeep, camel and hiking tours. You can stay overnight in a Bedouin tent and gaze at the amazing panoply of stars.

Fun Fact: Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here.

Red Sea/Aqaba (4 hours south of Amman)
Aqaba is well known for its beach resorts and luxury hotels, which service those who come for fun in the sand as well as watersports like windsurfing and Scuba diving. The Rea Sea is one of the most beautiful places in the world to Scuba Dive. Another very popular venue is the Turkish Bath built in 306AD, in which locals and visitors alike come to relax after a hot day.

Jerash (1.5 hours from Amman)
Jerash, located 48 km north of Amman and nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead, is the grandeur of Imperial Rome being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the World outside Italy. To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition.

Dead Sea (1/2 hour from Amman)
Without doubt, the world’s most amazing place, the Jordan Rift Valley is a dramatic, beautiful landscape, which at the Dead Sea, is over 400 metres (1,312 ft.) below sea level. The lowest point on the face of the earth, this vast, stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products

Mount Nebo (near Dead Sea about 1/2 hour from Amman)
Mount Nebo is a 1,000m (3,300ft) high mountain in Jordan, opposite the northern end of the Dead Sea. This is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died.
Because of its connection to Moses, Mt. Nebo has long been an important place of Christian pilgrimage. Excavations led by the Franciscans, who own the site, have uncovered significant remains of the early church and its magnificent Byzantine mosaics. A simple modern shelter dedicated to Moses has been built over them.

Bethany (near Dead Sea about 1/2 hour from Amman)
Less than 2 kms east of the Jordan River is an important place associated with the lives of Jesus and John the Baptist (pbut). The settlement of Bethany, where John lived and baptized. John 1:28 refer to it as "Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing". In John 10:40 it is mentioned as the place to which Jesus (pbuh) fled for safety after being threatened with stoning in Jerusalem: "Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days".

There are many, many more sites and places to visit in this small but amazing country. This small country has so much to offer for those interested in culture, history, the holyland, arts and crafts, adventure, shopping, and it's also filled with natural beauty! Come visit us!!


  1. Thanks Beth for the great reference blog for places to see in Jordan. It makes Jordan more real. Thanks again for sharing with all of us. Love you Auntie Sharee

  2. Wow- Jordan and the surrounding region have a lot of incredible places to visit. It will be so fun to come visit and be able to see everything! You forgot one important "place to see" in Jordan...your home! I am most excited to see your home and all of you! Love you, Sarah