Top Ten Jordanian Attractions

 Top Ten Jordanian  Attractions

       Jordan is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing control of the Dead Sea. Jordan’s only port is at its south-western tip, at the Gulf of Aqaba, which is shared with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Much of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert; however the north-western part of Jordan is part of the Fertile Crescent. The capital city is Amman. Modern Jordan was founded in 1921, and it was recognized by the League of Nations as a state under the British mandate in 1922 known as The Emirate of Transjordan. In 1946, Jordan joined the United Nations as an independent sovereign state officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In antiquity, the present day Jordan was in the heart of the earlier civilizations which prospered in the Fertile Crescent including the Babylonian and the Canaanites. Later, Jordan became a home for several ancient kingdoms including: the kingdom of Edom, the kingdom of Moab, the kingdom of Ammon and the prominent Nabataean kingdom of Petra. However, across different eras of history, parts of the country laid under the control of some regional powers including Pharaonic Egypt during their wars with the Babylonian and the Hetites; and for discrete periods of times by Israelites who were taken under the captivity of the Babylonian, and who were later defeated by the Moabites as recorded in Mesha stele. Furthermore, and due to its strategic location in the middle of the ancient world, Jordan was also controlled by the ancient empires of Greece, the Persians, the Romans and later by the Byzantine. Yet, the Nabataean managed to create their independent kingdom which covered most parts of modern Jordan and beyond, for some centuries, before it was taken by the still expanding Roman Empire. With the decline of the Roman Empire, Jordan came to be controlled by the Ghassanid Arab kingdom. In the 7th century, and due to its proximity to Damascus, Jordan became a heartland for the Arabic Islamic Empire and therefore secured several centuries of stability and prosperity, which allowed the coining of its current Arabic Islamic identity. In the 11th century,Jordan witnessed a phase of instability, as it became a battlefield for the Crusade wars which ended with defeat by the Ayyobis. Jordan suffered also from the Mongol attacks which were blocked by Mamluks. In 1516, it became part of the Ottoman Empire and it remained so until 1918, when the Army of the Great Arab Revolt took over, and secured the present day Jordan with the help and support of Jordan local tribes. As witness to Jordan’s rich history, the Nabataean civilization left many magnificent archaeological sites at Petra, which is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Beside Petra, other civilizations also left their archaeological fingerprints onJordan including the Hellenistic and the Romans through their ruins in Decapolis cities of Gerasa (Jerash), Gadara (Umm Qais), Amman(Amman), Capitolias (Beit Ras), Raphana, Pella and Arabella (Irbid) and the Byzantine site of Um er-Rasas. The Arabic Islamic Empire also left its unique architectural signature which is embodied by desert palaces including Qasr Mshatta, Qasr al Hallabat and Qasr Amra; in addition to the castles of Ajloun and Karak which combine the Crusade, Ayyobi and Mumlouk eras all together. Modern Jordan is predominantly urbanized and is classified as a country of “high human development” by the 2010 Human Development Report. It has a moderate “pro-Western” policy with very close relations with the US and UK, and became a major non-NATO ally of the US in 1996. Yet,Jordan is a founding member of both the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Jordanian Government is one of only three members of the 22 state Arab League to have diplomatic relations with Israel, the others being the Egyptian and Palestinian governments.

  1. Petra

    Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of 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. The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.” Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of “the 40 places you have to see before you die.”
    Links: Top 100 Attractions,
  2. Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa’a)

    Umm ar-Rasas is an archeological site in Jordan which contains ruins from the Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim civilizations. The majority of the site has not been excavated. Among the portions excavated so far include a military camp, and several churches. The most important discovery on the site was the mosaic floor of the Church of St Stephen. It was made in 785 (discovered after 1986). The perfectly preserved mosaic floor is the largest one in Jordan. On the central panel hunting and fishing scenes are depicted while another panel illustrates the most important cities of the region including Philadelphia (Amman), Madaba, Esbounta (Heshbon), Belemounta (Ma’an), Areopolis (Ar-Rabba), Charac Moaba (Karak), Jerusalem, Nablus, Caesarea and Gaza. The frame of the mosaic is especially decorative. Six mosaic masters signed the work: Staurachios from Esbus, Euremios, Elias, Constantinus, Germanus and Abdela. It overlays another, damaged, mosaic floor of the earlier (587) ‘Church of Bishop Sergius.” Another four churches were excavated nearby with traces of mosaic decoration.
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  3. Amman (Ancient Philadelphia)
    Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan. It is the country’s political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost 6.5 million by 2025 due to constant and rapid immigration. Amman is also the administrative seat of the homonymous governorate. Amman is also ranked a Gamma global city on the World city index. Amman was named one of the MENA’s best cities according to economic, labor, environmental and socio-cultural factors. Amman is considered one of the richest and most Western-oriented cities in the Middle East. According to the 2011 Global Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities, Amman is among the top ten cities in the entire Middle East and Africa region in terms of international visitors and international visitor spending making it an important global destination city for tourism and business. According to the index, the city alone welcomes 1.8 million visitors and makes $1.3 billion a year in international visitors’ spending. Regionally, Amman is considered more prominent in global business and tourism than its counterparts in the Persian Gulf with the exceptions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Amman receives more international tourists than Beirut as well, however it earns less income from them then the Lebanese capital.
  4. Jerash
    Jerash, the Gerasa of Antiquity, is the capital and largest city of Jerash Governorate, which is situated in the north of Jordan, 48 km (30 mi) north of the capital Amman towards Syria. Jerash Governorate’s geographical features vary from cold mountains to fertile valleys suitable for growing a wide variety of crops.
  5. Umm Qais
    Umm QaisUmm Qais1Umm Qais2Umm Qais3Umm Qais4Umm Qais5
    Umm Qais is a town in Jordan located on the site of the ruined Hellenistic-Roman city of Gadara. The town was also called Antiochia or Antiochia Semiramis and Seleucia. Gadara was a semi-autonomous city of the Roman Decapolis.
  6. Jordan Archaeological Museum
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    The Jordan Archaeological Museum is a museum in the Citadel Hill in Amman, Jordan, built in 1951. It presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century. The collections are arranged in chronological order and include items of everyday life such as flint, glass, metal and pottery objects, as well as more artistic items such as jewelry and statues. The museum also includes a coin collection.
    Links: Museums and Galleries, Artifacts, Top Ten Chests,
  7. Mount Nebo
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    Mount Nebo is an elevated ridge that is approximately 817 m (2680 ft.) above sea level, in what is now western Jordan. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.
    Links: Top Ten Mosaics, Sculptures, Top Ten Mountains,,
  8. Quseir Amra
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    Qasr Amra, often Quseir Amra or Qusayr Amra, is the best-known of the desert castles located in present-day eastern Jordan. It was built early in the 8th century (probably between 711 and 715) by the Umayyad caliph Walid I whose dominance of the region was rising at the time. It is 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, of which only the foundation remains. What stands today is a small country cabin, meant as a royal retreat, without any military function. It is most notable for the frescoes that remain on the ceilings inside, which depict hunting, naked women and, above one bath chamber, an accurate representation of the zodiac. Its location along Jordan’s major east-west highway, relatively close to Amman, has made it a frequent tourist destination.
  9. Abu Darweesh Mosque
    Abu Darweesh Mosque
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  10. Wadi Rum
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    Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley of the Moon, is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south Jordan at 60 km to the east of Aqaba. It is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning ‘high’ or ‘elevated.’ To reflect its proper Arabic pronunciation, archaeologists transcribe it as Wadi Ramm. The highest elevation in Wadi Rum is Mount Um Dami.
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