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Jordanian FlagThe Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

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Some highlights of any trip to Jordan

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Petra, TreasuryThe ancient city of Petra, Jordan's best known tourist attraction, is a national treasure. Located approximately three hours south of Amman and two hours north of Aqaba, Petra is the enduring legacy of the Nabataens, an industrious Arab people who settled more than 2000 years ago in what is today southern Jordan. Situated on one of the major caravan routes, the Nabateans made their city a mercantile centre for the region. Admired by the ancients for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO world heritage site that enchants visitors from around the world. Much of Petra's appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge. The site is reached by walking through a kilometre long sinuous chasm. The Siq, as this twisting snake-like chasm is known, boasts walls soaring upwards 200 meters to reach the sky. Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the Siq. Used in the final sequence of the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", the towering facade of the Treasury is only one of many archaeological wonders to be explored by visitors to Petra. Various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, colonnaded streets and haunting rock drawings - as well as a 3000 seat open air theatre, a gigantic first century Monastery and a modern archeological museum, all of which can be explored at leisure.

theatreThe ancient city of Jerash, conveniently located within half an hour of downtown Amman, should also be high on a list of favourite tourist destinations in Jordan. Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. Under Roman rule the city achieved it's golden age with its paved and colonnaded streets, hilltop temples, theatres, public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls. The site is one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Jerash lost to memory and hidden beneath the sand for more than a millenium. Over the past 70 years it has been lovingly excavated. Today the restored ruins reveal a wonderful example of the formal provincial Roman urbanism of the era. Jerash preserves a subtle blend of the Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient Arab Orient.

fort interiorIn ancient times, Aqaba was the main port for shipments from the Red Sea to the Far East. Today it is known for its preserved coral reefs and unique sea life. The square Mameluk Fort (photo right), rebuilt in the 16th century, is one of the historic landmarks of the town. Inscriptions in the stonework of the fort date it from the later period of the Islamic dynasty. Today the small museum houses a collection of artifacts collected at archeological sites in the region, including pottery and coins. Aqaba was also home to Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, the great grandfather of King Abdullah II. His house still stands in the city. The mudbrick building thought to be the earliest church in the region is also in Aqaba. While in Aqaba, don't forget to fisit the jewellery shops. Aqaba is a free port, so the already reasonable Jordanian prices are even more enticing to visitors from Europe and North America.

embroidered blazer applique cushion coverWhile visiting Jordan, don't forget to explore the many souvenir shops. Some are owned and operated by independent merchants. Others are associated with charities founded by members of the Royal Family to improve the lives of the impoverished residents of the isolated mountain villages. Along with the T-shirts, kaffiyehs (traditional Jordanian male head dress) postcards, guidebooks, coffee table books and other expected items, one can find wonderful embroidery (embroidered blazer in photo left), applique work (photo right), pottery and glassware, jewellery, and other local handicrafts.

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Visit the other pages in the Jordan section. Click the link to go to the page.

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Patti

This page was updated on 26 November 2007.

Contact me at: patti.primeau@sympatico.ca

This site was updated using Nvu and Style Maker.

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