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Caravans of spice traders and crusading Christian soldiers once crossed the dramatic desert landscapes of Jordan and you will too, journeying from the beautifully preserved Greco-Roman city of Amman to the fabled “rose red” Petra ruins set deep within a narrow gorge. Travel north along the King’s Highway admiring Crusader monuments and views of the Promised Land en route.
Welcome to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a country with outstanding ancient history, biblical sites of importance and beautiful desert landscapes. You are met on arrival at Amman Airport and transferred to your hotel. The white stone city of Amman is the capital of Jordan and a good base from which to explore the destination’s extraordinary heritage. (D)
Visit the 3rd century ruins at Jerash, a beautifully preserved and once prosperous Greco-Roman city north of Amman. In its day, Jerash – the favourite city of the Roman emperor Hadrian – was a member of the federation of Greek cities and an important stop on the incense and spice trade route to the Mediterranean. The ruins spanning several centuries have been carefully preserved and tell the tale of its zenith and fall during the 12th century Crusades. Return to the seven hills of Amman for a sightseeing tour with your Local Specialist of the impressive 6,000-seater Roman amphitheatre built between 128 and 161 CE into the northern side of a hill that once served as a graveyard, and Citadel Hill which towers over the city from atop Jabal alQala. Arrive later in Petra, where you dine tonight at your hotel. (BB, D)
Spend the day in the rose-red city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and certainly one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. Carved into the sheer rock face over 2,000 years ago by Nabataeans, Petra was an important link in the Silk Road route where frankincense, myrrh and spices were traded. A large earthquake in the 4th century largely destroyed the prosperous trading city which has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will enter the city through the Siq, a narrow gorge flanked on either side for over 1,200 metres by cliffs soaring 80 metres high; Nabatean sculpture representing gods feature prominently. Emerge from the path and see the magnificent 40-metre façade of the Treasury, with its ornate decorations, the first of many wonders to be explored. (BB, D)
Follow the King’s Highway north to Shobak, giving you an opportunity to see villagers in their day-to-day life, and visit the 12th century Crusader fortress, Kerak, which was used as a base to control Bedouin herders and trade routes. View the Promised Land from Mount Nebo, the same place Moses did in the Hebrew Bible. At Madaba’s St. George’s Church, view The Kings Way mosaic portrait of the Holy Land, the largest mosaic portrait in the world, dating from the 6th century. Don’t miss the opportunity to extend your stay with two relaxing nights at the Dead Sea in the Jordan Rift Valley, see below. Alternatively, continue to Amman for your final night and perhaps watch the sunset from the view point near the Citadel, the sound of the muezzin call the perfect accompaniment ending a magical trip through a fascinating land. (BB, D)
This morning bid farewell to this extraordinary land. Transfers to Amman airport are available, conditions apply. (BB)
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