This little gem in the Middle East beckons with historic ruins, delicious culinary traditions and a dreamy landscape that will take you back thousands of years. You may have heard of the rose-colored city of Petra, but that’s just the beginning. Here’s why Jordan should skyrocket to the top of your travel bucket list.

1. Visit the Ruins of The Citadel in Amman 

In the bustling capital city of Amman stands the 2,000-year-old ruins of The Citadel, considered one of the oldest continually inhabited places in the world. Evidence indicates the area was inhabited by the Babylonians, Romans and Byzantine civilizations. Among the highlights is the Temple of Hercules, built around 162 AD. The stone hand is thought to be the remains of a large statue. Next door, the Archaeology Museum features some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other artifacts.

Jordan. FWT Magazine

The hand of Hercules at The Citadel in Amman, Jordan © Mira Temkin.

2. Live like a Bedouin in the Desert

For thousands of years, the wandering Bedouins have maintained their nomadic existence, living off the land in simple tents. Visitors can share this experience by sleeping in one of their camps like the Rahayeb Desert Camp in the Wadi Desert. Choose from tents or cabins, enjoy a traditional zarb (barbecue) dinner cooked in the ground and listen to their traditional music as you drift off to sleep under the stars.

Jordan. FWT Magazine.

Accommodations at Rahayeb Desert Camp in the Wadi Rum desert © Mira Temkin.

3. Sweep through the Wadi Rum Desert

DH Lawrence called it “vast, echoing and God like” and it was the setting where David Lean filmed his award-winning film, Lawrence of Arabia. This is the famous Wadi Rum desert, best seen from the perspective of a open-air, 4×4 jeep. Get an up close view of the massive Seven Pillars of Wisdom Lawrence wrote about in 1917.

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The Seven Pillars of Wisdom stand tall in the Wadi Rum desert © Mira Temkin.

4. Dunk in the Jordan River

This is said to be the place where Jesus Christ was baptized. Many spiritual seekers visit the Jordan River to be immersed in these holy waters.

5. Float in the Dead Sea

There is something remarkable about being able to float in the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel. That’s because of the high salt content of the water as well as the fact that the Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world. Just sit in the water and you’ll pop up on your back without any effort at all. And don’t forget to slather the nutrient-rich mud all over your body, then bake in the sun and wash it off. Your skin will feel smooth and silky.

6. Look Out Over Mount Nebo

This is where Moses saw a glimpse of the Holy Land and is thought to be buried. You can see the same breathtaking views across the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea to the holy cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The hilltop church right next to it features beautiful mosaic floors.

Jordan. FWT Magazine

Ancient mosaic floors on the hilltop church at Mount Nebo © Mira Temkin.

7. Discover the Rose-Colored City of Petra

As you begin to walk along the Siq, the main entrance to the Red City, glorious stone monuments and carvings begin to emerge, still holding tight to their secrets from 2,000 years ago. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World was once a bustling site in the crossroads of trade, built by the ancient Nabataeans.

Then the gorge opens up and you are standing front and center of the Treasury, made famous by Indiana Jones in the movie, The Temple of Doom. Continue on your walk and more stone tombs, water cisterns and palaces come into view, one more exquisite than the next. The truly ambitious can climb up (or take a donkey) the 800 steps to the magnificent monastery. Don’t miss Petra at night where the site takes on a mysterious glow by candlelight.

Jordan continues to enchant travelers who are seeking warm, friendly people and thousands more more reasons to visit. See for yourself!

I gratefully acknowledge being hosted on this amazing journey by the Jordanian Tourist Board of North America.

 

Traditional Jordan cuisine at Sufra in Amman, Jordan © Mira Temkin

If You Go