Witness To History: Jordan

One of the Middle East’s leading centers of history and tourism, Jordan is a perfect open air museum.

With a past stretching back to the beginnings of human history, Jordan occupies an unusual place. The country’s lands have born witness to the rise of all the celestial religions. The physical world exhibits a harmony of contrasts here in this geography characterized by sea and desert, mountain and valley, pristine nature and man’s impact on it.  A country without oil, Jordan is among the key destinations in world tourism for its cultural treasures. This is a fabulous land in which the traditional and the modern, the ancient and the contemporary thrive in every aspect of life.

 

FROM PHILADELPHIA TO AMMAN

The U.S. city of Philadelphia usually springs to mind at the mention of this name, which means brotherly love. But the original Philadelphia that inspired the name is none other than Jordan’s capital, Amman! A Roman theater, Temple of Hercules, and Acropolis are just some of the surviving remnants here of the magnificent monuments of Antiquity.

Evidence of a rich culture and the mutual tolerance it breeds are among the most salient qualities of the Jordanian people.  As you stroll around Amman you will feel the hospitality with a smile engendered by that tolerance everywhere you go.

 

CITY CARVED IN THE ROCKS, PETRA

When you tour the ancient city of Petra you will be making a journey into a very different world, a journey in a virtual time machine. The construction of Petra, a monument of the Nabataean civilization, dates to the 2nd century B.C. In appearance it resembles a hidden  city tucked away in a canyon. The outstanding aesthetic and architectural qualities of this city carved in the rock have a profound effect on visitors. Petra is within easy reach of the capital Amman, and October to March is the ideal time for a visit. There’s an advantage in touring Petra, which is spread over an extensive area, in the company of a guide. The Treasury Building and Monastery are two of Petra’s most impressive structures.

 

MAAN TRAIN STATION

Jordan is also rich in Ottoman period monuments. It was an important segment of the Hejaz Railway Project, and attentive observers may spot the name of Sultan Abdulhamid II on rails in and around Maan Station in particular.

 

A NATURAL WONDER: THE DEAD SEA

Another place where you will experience memorable moments in Jordan is the Dead Sea, whose salty waters prevent aquatic organisms like fish from living in them.  At the same time however the mineral content of the highly saline waters and lake sludge have a beneficial effect on various diseases. You don’t have to expend much effort when you swim in this sea, because the density of the water supports your body and keeps you afloat.  In other words, you can enjoy reading a magazine or sipping a fruit drink while you swim!

 

WADI RUM

Wadi Rum with its captivating shades of red is one of the world’s most magnificent landscapes. There’s no end to the pleasure of gazing down on this vast desert from a high vantage point at sunrise and sunset.  As you follow up this inviting call to explore the Jordanian desert, you will encounter its people, namely, the Bedouins. With their hospitality, noble demeanor and way of life unchanged for centuries, they are a dignified people ready to welcome you in their traditional tents.

  

ONE OF THE NEW SEVEN WONDERS

The ancient city of Petra was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List on December 6, 1985. In 2007 the city was chosen as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.

 

RELIGIOUS CENTERS

Jordan is one of the world’s richest destinations for faith tourism. In addition to the Jordan River, the shrines of the Old Testament prophets Aaron and Joshua and of great Islamic scholars like Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah are some of Jordan’s key sites.