It’s no secret that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is heating up the competition for being the most desirable vacation destination in the Arab world. Less crowded than Egypt and without the instability of Lebanon, Jordan offers spectacular deserts, a mix of Levantine Arab and Bedouin culture, historical landmarks and unspoiled beaches.
Stability and an aggressive economic plan has brought Amman to the forefront of the Arab world’s leading cities, with a range of luxury hotels, shopping malls and a swank nightlife alongside such historic sites as Jerash, the Roman Amphitheatre and Madaba, a Byzantine Church the earliest known Christian pilgrimage mosaic of the Holy Land. To the north, Kerak’s Castle legacy as the Crusader fortress of the notorious Reynauld De Chatillion is seconded only by the tremendous view taken in by its visitors. Accaba’s fame in the West may originate with the exciting exploits of Colonel Lawrence of the First World War, but it’s lure as a seaside holiday resort extends back to Roman times as a choice stop along the Via Nova Traiana trade route of the Roman era.
The pinnacle of any visit to Jordan is Petra. Legends of the lost city of Petra, nestled deep in the Jordan Valley and guarded by Bedouin, were proven to be when a lone Swiss explorer in 1812 became the first visitor in almost a thousand years to bear witness to the remains of an entire civilization carved out of the dramatic red desert cliffs of Wadi Araba at the foot of Mount Hor, located three hours south of modern-day Amman. Since that visit, Petra has become the single most popular regional tourist destination in the Arab world outside of the Holy Land.
More than an impressive collection of stone carvings, Petra is a sprawling open-air museum of civilizations from Classical to Crusader eras, with over two dozen distinctive structures that have been remarkably preserved throughout the eras of rule that have passed through the modern Hashemite Kingdom. From the stunning Treasury of Petra, long held to contain the wealth of King Solomon, to the distinctive Byzantine mosaics that grace the floors of the numerous churches, visitors can lose themselves in the echoes of time.
Be it for pilgrimages, sightseeing, trekking or cultural exploration, Jordan remains a solid frontrunner for tourism of all kinds for all peoples.