Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Little bit of History:
Archaeologists found evidence on inhabitance dating as far back as the Paleolithic period, later three kingdoms in Jordan emerged; Edom, Moab and Ammon. The lands were later part of several empires; most notably Roman Empire, Nabatean Kingdom and finally the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. After the post–World War I division of West Asia by Britain and France, the Emirate of Transjordan was officially recognized by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922. In 1946, Jordan became an independent sovereign state officially known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. The capture of the West Bank by Jordan during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, has showed that the Arab Legion forces known today as the Jordanian Armed Forces were the most effective among the Arab troops involved in the war. The same year, Abdullah I took the title King of Jordan. The name of the state was changed to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 1 December 1948
- Petrais a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved.Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan's most-visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.
- Dead Sea
On the Jordanian side, the Dead Sea is possible as a day trip from both Amman and Aqaba. The road is a good dual carriage way. Tourist areas are accessible from the main road that runs along the eastern side of the body of water and connects to Jordan's Desert Highway running to Amman. Highways leading to the Dead Sea are clearly marked by brown tourist signs. It is an ambitious 3-hour drive from Aqaba in southern Jordan.Taxi services for travel to the Dead Sea can be purchased for the day 20JD if you hail a cab from down town, down town hotels charge 35JD for the same service. Many of the local hotels and resorts have shuttles that travel from Amman to the Dead Sea for a fee. There are a handful of bus lines that also run from Amman on a daily basis.
- JerashA close second to Petra on the list of favourite destinations in Jordan is the ancient city of Jerash, which boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years.Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities of the Decapolis League.The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
- Wadi RumDuring day it is a vast, silent place with a dramatic landscape of breathtaking, indescribable beauty. During night it is a place of infinite tranquility under the dark velvet sky filled with millions of stars. And then there are two magical moments between these periods – the sunrise and the sunset. You have to see both of them.
Now these places everyone knows about and visited then. But Jordan has more amazing places to explore that people didn't hear about. Such as he following:
- Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo is a 1,000m (3,300ft) high mountain located 10km/6 mi NW of Madaba in Jordan, opposite the northern end of the Dead Sea. According to ancient tradition, 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.
- Ajloun Castle
Just west of Jerash the castle of Ajlun is another highlight of northern Jordan. The Qalat er-Rabad, as the Ajlun Castle is locally knwon, was the base of the Arab forces of Saladin, when he defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century. The Ajlun mountains are famous for their lush vegetation and thick green forests and a good place for hikes.
The castle of Ajloun was built in 1184 by a nephew of Salah al-Din (Saladin to Westerners) to defend the land held by the Arabs from the Crusaders. It is almost opposite the Castle of Belvoir on the other side of the Jordan. At that time it was known as Qalat al Rabadh. Originally it was a square castle with a tower at each corner; it was enlarged some forty years later, when another tower was built. Under the Mamelukes, Ajloun was one of the chain of castles which, using heliograph, fire beacons and pigeon post, could transmit messages from Damascus to Cairo within twelve hours. It was severely damaged by earthquakes in the 18th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, and restoration work is proceeding. Alone on its hill, and looking over some magnificent countryside, Ajloun was admirably sited and was never taken by the Crusaders, although the Mongols in the 13th century occupied it for a short time before it was retaken by its original owners. The entrance to the castle The moat is still there and the castle is entered over a modern bridge.
The interior is full of rambling corridors and staircases. Notice the "murder holes" in the photo on the left, through which boiling oil or pitch (or whatever else was handy) could be poured on any invader. This part of Jordan is one of the most fertile regions, it is seldom that rain fails to fall here. From the castle one has an impressive view over the cultivated terraces nearby. The grass is lush as you see, and the goats are finding ample forage. Getting there The town of Ajlun is about 3 kilometers from the castle. Ajlun is well served by public transport, there are regular minibuses from the Abdali bus station in Amman and also from Jerash. An early start would let you visit both sites in the day. When you reach the town of Ajlun a taxi will be happy to take you to the castle! You can probably negotiate a rate allowing a visit there and a return trip in the same taxi. If you prefer to walk it, why not, but 3kms up a steep hill in the sun is thirsty work