The Dead Sea and the city of Petra are likely what come to mind when you think of Jordan. While these two are indeed the most popular attractions of Jordan, the country also has many others that deserve to be on your checklist. In this blog we will list 10 attractions that should surely feature in your must-see list when visiting this Arab Kingdom of Western Asia.
- Wadi Rum
For over a century, this valley on the desert has been viewed as something larger than life. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been inhabited for many years by several tribes but is currently home to the Bedouins. Wadi Rum was the location of the blockbuster movie ‘The Martian’ because it is said to resemble the surface of Mars. In addition to enjoying its beauty, you can also savor the locally-made delicious grilled vegetable and meat. Do wake up early in the morning for watching the sunrise across the valley. And of course, do not forget to take a camel ride. Wadi Rum has many guest camps which are comfortable and clean, ideal for those who want to stay overnight.
- Al Maghtas
Jordan and Israel both claim to be the baptism site of Jesus. While Israel believes that Jesus was baptized on their side of the Jordan River, Jordan believes it was on their side of the river. Excavations at the Al Maghtas give credit to Jordan’s claim. Excavators at the site have found several evidences of baptismal pools, caves for monks, and chapels.
- Dana Biosphere Reserve
The Dana Biosphere Reserve is the largest of its kind in Jordan. The site consists of 120 square miles of cliffs made up of limestone, sandstone, and granite. Some of them reach up to as much as 5000 feet before dropping sharply to the floor of the valley. Other than offering the picturesque rugged scenery, it is a popular spot for hikers. It is also home to rare birds like the Syrian Serin and animals like the Nubian Ibex (Desert goat).
- Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo may not be a particularly high mountain, but the view from the top is expansive. It is believed that this is where Moses was shown Israel by God. It is also believed that he is buried here. Along with being a popular pilgrimage site, Mount Nebo also consists of a small museum, a garden of olive trees, and ruins of a 4th century church. If you get to the top of the mountain on a clear day, you will be able to see Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
- Qasr Amra
The Qasr Amra is a desert castle that looks quite plain from the outside. but it wasn’t always like this. A thousand years ago, it was part of a huge complex which was built for caliphs. Now you can see various frescoes painted inside, depicting daily life of the 8th century. While the complex consisted of more such paintings, they were all destroyed during the first Islamic Injunction. Miraculously, the paintings at the Qasr Amra were left untouched.
Located just 30 miles away from Amman, Jerash is Jordan’s best-preserved ancient city. It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. The town really started bustling with activity after the Romans took over a century later. Excavations are still going on and experts believe that much more is still left to be discovered.
- Ajloun Castle
The Ajloun Castle sits on the Jabal Auf hilltop and cuts a beautiful picture. It is believed that the castle used to be a monastery belonging to a monk named Ajloun. However, by the year 1184, the castle was ruined and a new fortress was built on the site. The new structure served as a ‘beacon’ for carrier pigeons. The castle is now open to the public. A long passage leads you to the entrance of the monastery which predates the castle. Ancient bird carvings welcome the visitor to the site. A climb to the top of the castle gives you sweeping views of the valleys across Jordan.
This is where Jordanians go for chilling and swimming. Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan and is popular with both tourists and locals alike. In addition to being home to many popular resorts, Aqaba offers plenty of opportunities for divers and snorkelers. There is also the beautiful Yamanieh Coral Reef that you can explore.
- Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is one of the most popular natural attractions in the world, attracting tourists from all over. Tourists flock to the Dead Sea every year so that they can float on it. The very high salt content of the sea water enables this unique feature. It is also the reason why plants and animals cannot flourish in this region, therefore the name Dead Sea. Several resorts located nearby offer the very popular ‘mud bath’ with mud from the Dead Sea. After the mud dries, the tourists go for the famous float.
Just like the Dead Sea, Petra is also what makes Jordan world famous. Located between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, Petra is half carved into rocks and half built. It is surrounded with mountains which have many gorges and passages between them. The architectural style of Petra is a mix of Hellenistic (ancient Greek) and ancient Eastern influences. Petra was discovered in 1812, when it was named as the “Rose City”. The ancient city consists of a lot of tombs and a robust water circulation system. The entrance to Petra is through a very narrow gorge— named Siq — spanning over a kilometer. As you slowly reach the end of the Siq, you get to see the treasury of Petra. While vehicles aren’t allowed inside the Siq, you can take a horse ride for going through it.
Originally posted 2017-04-03 07:06:40.