The Monastery, Petra © Judith Duk
Situated between Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Jordan is unexpectedly peaceful amid the turmoil of its neighbouring countries and is a wonderful place to visit, made more so by its hospitable people whose immediate reaction to travellers is 'welcome to Jordan'. With a reputation for being one of the friendliest countries on earth, it is sad that so few people dare to explore its rich history, as well as two of the most magnificent sights in the Middle East: the ancient rock-hewn city of Petra and Wadi Rum's spectacular desert scenery.
Jordan is a kingdom layered in antiquity, from the work of Nabataean stonemasons to characters such as Moses and Lawrence of Arabia; from ancient cities and Biblical sites to desert castles, Crusader forts and Byzantine mosaics. This ancient culture belies the fact that it is also a modern country, with a good infrastructure, a thriving business and arts scene, and first class hotels, restaurants and shopping opportunities. The contradictions between the old and new are astonishing.
Jordan is a relatively small country of varied landscapes, where the fertile Jordan Valley, bordering the entire western side of the kingdom, is separated from the immense desert stretching to the east by the populated highlands. As part of the Great Rift Valley, the Jordan Valley incorporates the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth's surface and most famous for its heavy salt and mineral concentrations, while the main towns are strung out along the length of the highland plateau, including the friendly capital, Amman, as well as plenty of historical sites from ancient civilisations.
Home to breathtaking desert-scapes, colourful coral reefs that are unequalled anywhere else in the world, and sweeping vistas towards the Promised Land, Jordan is full of charismatic beauty, both in scenery and in the genuine Arabic welcome afforded to strangers. Welcome to Jordan…
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