Day 01: Amman
Arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, where you will be met and assisted with customs and immigration formalities, then transferred to your hotel in Amman for a 2 night stay.
Day 02: Amman-Desert Castles-Amman
Tour Amman, the capital city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Start with the downtown area, the oldest part of Amman, which is crowned by the Citadel offering a panoramic view of the whole city. Here one can also see the ancient ruins of the Temple of Hercules that dates back to AD 161 – 180, the Byzantine Church, the Omayyad Palace, and the fascinating Archaeological Museum which houses an excellent collection of the antiquities of Jordan. At the foot of the Citadel is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, still used today for cultural events. Finally ride through Abdoun, a contemporary area that boasts some of the best modern architecture.
Drive east of Amman towards the Desert Castles. These seemingly isolated pavilions, caravan stations, secluded baths, and hunting lodges, were at one time integrated agricultural or trading complexes, built mostly under the Umayyads (661-750 AD), when Muslim Arabs had succeeded in transforming the fringes of the desert into well-watered settlements. Widely varied in function and architectural style, these ancient castles, baths, hunting lodges and fortified palaces were mostly belonging to Umayyad princes. Scattered throughout the black basalt desert, the Desert Castles stand as a testament to the flourishing beginnings of Islamic-Arab civilization. Aside from being widely considered as the most spectacular and original monuments of early Islamic art, these complexes were built as retreats from city life. Return to Amman to overnight. B.
Day 03: Amman-Jerash-Dead Sea
Drive north of Amman to Jerash. Visit the best-preserved Roman city of the Decapolis. Entering the city through the monumental South Gate one comes upon the lovely Oval Plaza, the Temple of Zeus, and the South Theatre, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place, the Omayyad residential quarter, a 4th century AD cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the Nymphaeum and the North Theatre.
Optional: Enjoy the Roman Army And Chariot Experience (RACE) show in Jerash which features forty-five legionaries in full armour in a display of Roman Army drill and battle tactics, ten gladiators fighting “to the death” and several Roman chariots competing in a classical seven lap race around the ancient hippodrome. (Subject to cancellation depending on weather conditions). B
Day 04: Dead Sea-Mount Nebo-Madaba-Petra
Morning free for swimming in the salty waters of the Dead Sea. Known for its high salt content, swimming in the Dead Sea is quite an experience for one will float without exerting any effort.
The uniqueness of the Dead Sea has been known for centuries. This is the only place in the world with this particular combination of exclusive spa benefits: peculiar sun radiation and climatic conditions, enriched oxygen atmosphere, mineral-rich salt sea, thermo-mineral springs, and mineral-rich mud. In recent years, the Dead Sea area has become a health, rehabilitation, recreation and beauty spa. The combination of the year-round favourable climate, the thriving health and beauty centres, and the unique natural and historical tourist attractions, attract both vacationers and health-cure visitors from around the world. Modern facilities and hotels line the shore.
As a health spa, the Dead Sea offers patients an opportunity to treat various ailments while enjoying the feeling of well being that is an important part of the treatment. Many visitors return year after year for long-term relief.
At noon, drive to the rose-red city of Petra along part of the King’s Highway, stopping en route at Mount Nebo and at Madaba.
Mount Nebo, which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC, is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and the point from where he viewed the “Promised Land”. Visit the remains of the mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and pastoral scenes, found in the small church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. From a platform in front of the church, a visitor may see a bronze memorial of a snake on a cross, which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, as well as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Proceed to Madaba, home of the most famous Byzantine mosaics. Visit the greatest and most significant of all the city’s treasures, the wonderful mosaic map of ancient Palestine, which is located on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. The 6th century AD map, hailed as the oldest in existence, was depicted for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, as it represented the surrounding regions as well. The River Nile, the Jordan River, Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Bethlehem, Gaza and Jerusalem. One can clearly make out the walls, towers, gates, streets and buildings of the Holy City of Jerusalem, especially the colonnaded main street or Cardo, and the domed church of the Holy Sepulcher. B
Day 05: Petra
Full day dedicated for the exploration of the Nabatean city of Petra. The tour starts on horseback, passing by the Obelisk Tomb and then proceeding on foot through the Siq -the narrow gorge that leads to Petra’s most impressive monument, the Treasury. Then on to the Street of Facades, the Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Colonnaded Street, the Byzantine Church, the Temple, the Monumental Arch and Qasr el-Bint Faroun. You may wish to climb up to the gigantic 1st century AD monument of the Monastery (optional). This is a hard climb with about 900 steps, and in certain areas it is steep with exposed edges, so it is no longer included in the tour. B
The highlight of any visit to Jordan must be the ‘Rose Red City’ of Petra, the capital of ancient Nabateans, carved into the rock thousands of years ago. Petra is a world treasure, a marriage of natural and man-made wonders on an awesome scale. A sematic people from Northern Arabia carved an entire city out of the highly coloured mountains some 2,000 years ago. The Nabateans created an empire based on trading precious incense and perfumes, an empire so rich it inspired the envy of mighty Rome, which ultimately conquered it. Long before the Nabateans, the Petra area was inhabited by Stone Age people at nearby Beida and was once the capital of the biblical Kingdom of Edom.
A thrilling adventure awaits every visitor making his way along the Wadi Musa valley to the great Siq chasm. You should go there early in the morning already, as the light is perfect to show the stones glowing in different colours.
Optional Petra By Night tour (pay locally)
Available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays, but they could cancel it without prior notice.
You will walk from the Visitors’ Centre via the Siq (gorge), which will be lit with candles, up to the Treasury. The walk will take about (30 – 40 minutes). Once the whole group is gathered in front of the Treasury, a Bedouin – playing on the Nai – will walk out from inside of the Treasury towards the Siq & another one will be playing on the Rababa musical instrument. An English-speaking guide will briefly narrate the history of Petra.
Day 06:Petra-Wadi Rum (4×4)
Visit the 9,000-year-old Neolithic settlement of Beidha, and nearby Siq el-Barid, which is a miniature Petra with its own small Siq, carved tombs and monuments.
Drive to Wadi Rum, one of the world’s most colourful and unique landscapes of desert and mountain scenery and where T.E. Lawrence was based during the Arab Revolt. Arrive at Wadi Rum’s Visitors’ Centre where you will visit the small museum, which displays the Bedouin culture, local wildlife and protection of the desert environment, alongside a projection hall showing a short film introducing Rum.
Embark on an adventurous 2.5-hour excursion by a Bedouin open top four-wheel drive vehicles from the Visitors’ Centre. View from a distance the Seven Pillars of Wisdom; the famous landmark, named after the book by T.E. Lawrence “Lawrence of Arabia”, Alameleh inscriptions; good example of ancient rock drawings, showing camels and wildlife, Siq Um Al Tawaqi; a short canyon containing a carving of the head of T.E. Lawrence and ruins of Allat (Godess) temple of the AAD tribe and finally to the sunset site; where you get the most dramatic views of Wadi Rum as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Proceed to the Oryx Hideaway Camp where a big bonfire would be roaring in the centre and candles lighting up the walls of the rocks towering above the camp. Sit on nice Arabic rugs and cushions on the floor. Dinner and Overnight in Wadi Rum under a Bedouin tent. BD
Day 07: Wadi Rum-Aqaba
After breakfast, drive to the red sea resort of Aqaba and enjoy swimming / snorkelling in the Red Sea. A day cruise is recommended. Overnight in Aqaba. B
Morning at leisure. You can be transferred to the port for the ferry to Egypt or return to Amman via the Desert Highway for your onward flight. B