Travel Guide for Jordan: Exploring an Ancient Land
Introduction: Jordan, a fascinating country nestled in the heart of the Middle East, boasts a rich tapestry of historical sites, diverse landscapes, warm hospitality, and delicious cuisine. With so much to see and experience, it is important to plan your itinerary strategically based on your level of familiarity with the country. This travel guide will suggest an order for visiting cities in Jordan for first-time visitors, subsequent trips, and experienced travelers. It aims to highlight the most iconic destinations while encompassing lesser-known gems.
1. First-Time Visitors: For those embarking on their first journey to the enchanting land of Jordan, it is recommended to structure your itinerary around the country's most iconic sites. The following options represent a mix of vibrant cities and awe-inspiring historical spots:
a) Amman: As the capital city, Amman is the ideal starting point for discovering Jordan. Explore the ancient Citadel, marvel at the Roman Amphitheater, and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture and markets.
b) Petra: Undoubtedly a highlight of any trip to Jordan, the "Rose City" of Petra with its captivating ancient ruins and elaborate rock-cut architecture should be next on your list.
c) Wadi Rum: Continue your journey to the majestic desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, often referred to as the "Valley of the Moon." Spend a night under the starlit sky in Bedouin-style camps and take a thrilling 4x4 ride across the vast sand dunes.
d) Aqaba: Complete your first-time visit by unwinding on the shores of the Red Sea in Aqaba. Dive into the crystal-clear waters, explore the vibrant coral reefs, or simply relax by the beach.
2. Subsequent Visits: Having experienced the wonders of Jordan on your initial trip, subsequent visits offer the chance to delve deeper into the country's hidden treasures. Consider adding the following cities to your itinerary:
a) Madaba: Known as the "City of Mosaics," Madaba is a treasure trove of Byzantine art and architecture. Uncover ancient mosaic masterpieces, including the famous Madaba Map, and explore its charming old town.
b) Jerash: Venture north to Jerash, where you will be transported back in time to the Roman era. Stand in awe of the well-preserved ruins of this once-thriving Roman city and witness impressive performances in the Jerash Festival, held annually in July.
c) Salt: Explore the captivating town of Salt, located northwest of Amman. Wander through its narrow winding streets, discover Ottoman-era architecture, and socialize with the friendly locals.
d) Umm Qais: Set amidst stunning scenery, Umm Qais offers breathtaking views overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Explore Roman ruins, stroll through the ancient Decapolis city, and enjoy a tranquil picnic atop the hills.
3. Experienced Travelers: For those who have already explored Jordan's main attractions, there are numerous off-the-beaten-path destinations to consider:
a) Dana Biosphere Reserve: Embark on a hiking adventure in Dana, traversing through canyons, encountering unique wildlife, and immersing yourself in the local Bedouin culture.
b) Karak: Visit the imposing Crusader castle of Karak and delve into the fascinating history of this fortified city. Explore its underground passages and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
c) Ma'an: Discover the ancient Nabatean city of Al-Hegra (Mada'in Salih) near Ma'an, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the remarkably preserved tombs and rock-cut facades intricately carved into the sandstone cliffs.
d) Ajloun: Venture to the castle of Ajloun, an imposing fortress set amidst lush green hills. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Jordan Valley and meet the welcoming local inhabitants.
Conclusion: Whether you are a first-time visitor marveling at Jordan's iconic sites, a seasoned traveler uncovering hidden gems, or an experienced explorer venturing off the beaten path, Jordan promises an unforgettable journey. By following the suggested order of visiting cities, you will immerse yourself in the rich history, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality of this mesmerizing country. Remember to embrace the local customs and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.