#50 best destination in the world

 

Petra

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  • Historical and archaeological city
  • The area around Petra has been inhabited as early as 7,000 BC, and the Nabataeans might have settled in what would become the capital city of their kingdom, as early as the 4th century BC
  • The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra’s proximity to the trade routes by establishing it as a major regional trading hub
  • In 106 AD, Petra fell to the Romans, who annexed Nabataea and renamed it as Arabia Petraea
  • Petra’s importance declined as sea trade routes emerged, and after an earthquake in 363 destroyed many structures
  • Because of the decline, the site was abandoned except for a handful of nomads
  • It remained unknown to the world until it was rediscovered in 1812
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

Ad Deir

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  • Monumental building carved out of rock in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra
  • First constructed in 3 BC as a monumental Nabataean tomb
  • An inscription that was found on one of the walls while the monument was being cleaned in 1991, read “the symposium of Obodas, the god”
  • This inscription indicates that the building may originally have been dedicated to the Nabataean king, Obodas I, who was likely deified posthumously
  • The tomb has several incised crosses carved into the wall, which may indicate that the structure was reused as a church during the Byzantine period

 

Al-Khazneh

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  • One of the most elaborate temples in Petra, a city of the Nabatean Kingdom inhabited by the Arabs in ancient times, carved out of a sandstone rock face
  • The structure is believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean King Aretas IV in the 1st century AD
  • It became to be known as “Al-Khazneh”, or The Treasury, in the early 19th century by the area’s Bedouins as they had believed it contained treasures

 

Jerash

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  • Jerash today is home to one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities, which earned it the nickname of “Pompeii of the East”
  • The earliest evidence of settlement in Jerash is in a Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating to around 7500 BC were unearthed
  • Jerash flourished during the Greco and Roman periods until the mid-eighth century CE, when the 749 Galilee earthquake destroyed large parts of it, while subsequent earthquakes contributed to additional destruction
  • It was captured in 1121 by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and utterly destroyed
  • Then, the Crusaders immediately abandoned Jerash and withdrew
  • In the census of 1596, it had a population of 12 Muslim households
  • The excavations conducted since 2011 have shed light on the Middle Islamic period as recent discoveries have uncovered a large concentration of Middle Islamic/Mamluk structures and pottery

 

Wadi Rum

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  • Valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock
  • Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures, including the Nabataeans, leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

Little Petra

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  • Archaeological site which like Petra, is a Nabataean site, with buildings carved into the walls of the sandstone canyons
  • Like Petra, it was probably built during the height of Nabataean influence during the 1st century AD
  • Though unclear, archaeologists believe that the whole complex was a suburb of Petra, the Nabatean capital, meant to house visiting traders on the Silk Road
  • After the decline of the Nabataeans, it fell vacant, used only by Bedouin nomads, for centuries
  • Little Petra was excavated in the later 20th century
  • In 2010, a biclinium, or dining room, in one of the caves was discovered to have surviving interior art depicting grapes, vines and putti in great detail with a varied palette, probably in homage to the Greek god Dionysus and the consumption of wine
  • The 2,000-year-old ceiling frescoes in the Hellenistic style have since been restored
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

Temple of Hercules (Amman)

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  • Thought to be the most significant Roman structure in the Amman Citadel
  • According to an inscription the temple was built when Geminius Marcianus was governor of the Province of Arabia (AD 162-166)
  • The site also contains fragments of a colossal partly stone statue, identified as Hercules, and estimated to have been over 39 ft tall
  • It was probably destroyed in an earthquake
  • All that remains are three fingers and an elbow

Madaba Map

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  • Part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba
  • The Madaba Map is of the Middle East, and part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem
  • It dates to 542 AD
  • In the eighth century, the ruling Muslim Umayyad Caliphate had some figural motifs removed from the mosaic.
  • In 746, Madaba was largely destroyed by an earthquake and subsequently abandoned.
  • The mosaic was rediscovered in 1884, during the construction of a new Greek Orthodox church on the site of its ancient predecessor

 

Wadi Mujib

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  • River canyon which enters the Dead Sea 1,380 ft below sea level
  • During the last Ice Age the water level of the Dead Sea reached 590 ft below sea level, about 790 ft higher than it is today
  • It flooded the lower areas of the canyons along its banks, which became bays and begun to accumulate sediments
  • Some of the remote mountain and valley areas are difficult to reach, and thus offer safe havens for rare species of cats, goats and other mountain animals

 

Roman Theater (Amman)

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  • 6,000 seat, 2nd-century Roman theater
  • Dates back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia

 

Qusayr ‘Amra

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  • The best-known of the desert castles
  • Built between 723 and 743
  • Considered one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture
  • The building is actually the remnant of a larger complex that included an actual castle, meant as a royal retreat, without any military function, of which only the foundation remains
  • What stands today is a small country cabin
  • Most notable for the frescoes that remain mainly on the ceilings inside, which depict, among others, a group of rulers, hunting scenes, dancing scenes containing naked women, working craftsmen, the “cycle of Jonah”, and, above one bath chamber, the first known representation of heaven on a hemispherical surface, where the mirror-image of the constellations is accompanied by the figures of the zodiac.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

 


 

Costs

all flights $1,242

food $44/day x 9 days = $396

hotel $67/day x 7 days = $469

tickets (all attractions) $61

TOTAL for whole itinerary $2,168