Jordan - View from the Inside

"Blessed with an uncountable number of wonders, beauty can be found in many different ways; from the fascinating cultural and historical heritage in Jerash and Amman to the majestic ruins of Petra."

March 2017 • Camilla Gomes Maddalena, Personal Travel Expert

Jordan - View from the Inside

Jordan is a peaceful gem in the heart of the Middle East. It amazed us with its hospitality, welcoming people, friendly towns, World Heritage sites and breathtaking desert landscapes. This is the perfect destination for first time visitors to the Middle East – and also repeat travellers.

Blessed with an uncountable number of wonders, beauty can be found in many different ways; from the fascinating cultural and historical heritage in Jerash and Amman to the majestic ruins of Petra.  Passing by its’ diverse natural wonders from the Dead Sea to Aqaba with the vast desert in between. Although a small country, Jordan’s great diversity will make your trip one to remember.

The sights were quiet which gave us the opportunity to admire and enjoy them peacefully, making it a perfect time to visit Jordan and be enchanted by this amazing destination.

From the top of the citadel with Roman and Greek ruins to the beaming-with-life markets in downtown, lose yourself in the streets of Jordan’s capital; Amman is an exciting city to spend some time in.

On the way to the Dead Sea we visited the archaeological site of “Bethany Beyond the Jordan”, which is believed to be the actual site where Jesus was baptised. Located in an unspoilt natural environment, respectfully displayed and maintained we found Roman and Byzantine remains of baptism pools marking the religious character of the place.

We were taken to the Jordan River which divides Jordan and Israel where it was great to see the pilgrims on both sides contemplating and bathing together in the river. An overwhelming and yet humbling experience.

At 400m below sea level lies the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea receives its name from the fact that the high levels of salt in its waters makes it intolerable for any form of life, in fact the only things you will probably see in the Dead Sea are a few buoyant tourists. The salinity will not allow you to swim but it will enable a relaxing flotation experience.

Our first night in Petra was a very special night. We had dinner under the stars in a traditional Bedouin camp with food cooked in the traditional Bedouin way in a pot buried in the sand. We had the opportunity to interact with Bedouin people and ask as many questions as we wanted; we were shown how to make flatbread and were entertained with traditional Bedouin music round the campfire. Afterwards, we had kohl make up put on our eyes and also tattooed with henna.

As a first time visitor to Jordan, Petra did not disappoint.  The ancient tombs and temples dating to around 300 B.C. were carved out of the dusky pink sandstone cliffs.

Most people identify Petra from one of its best known sites, Al-Khazneh or Treasury, which first glimpse is from the narrow Siq. The walk along the naturally formed Siq is absolutely stunning and suddenly the path snakes into the sunlight in front of the Treasury, a spectacle that does not fail to impress.

However, Petra is a lot more than just one building; it is a vast city that requires at least two days to explore. The walk down from the Treasury to the Basin is full of amazing historical sites that words do not do justice to describe.

We explored on foot all the way to the Monastery. The views across the Jordan Valley’s mountains made the way up even more breathtaking.

Ad Deir or The Monastery is a monumental building which resembles the Treasury but less decorated. In my opinion, The Monastery is the most impressive monument in Petra, the vastness of the view in front of me, the enormity, the age and the hand carved details made me feel I was looking at a more astonishing sight than the Treasury.

We returned in the evening for Petra by candlelight which is not something that you can really do justice to in words, but it’s a show that really enhanced this ancient wonder. The 2km path through the Siq is all lit up with the soft glow of paper lanterns opening up to hundreds of candles lighting up the Treasury.

Also known as “The Valley of the Moon”, Wadi Rum is everything you would expect from a desert: extremely hot during the day and cold at night, the sandy landscapes, the breathtaking sunsets, Wadi Rum offers the best way to have a glimpse of this impressive reddened dunes valley cut into sandstone.  As you drive around in an old 4x4 truck you can appreciate the terrain and its colours.

I was really surprised at the warmth I found in Jordan; experiences exceed your expectations and I dare to say that I don’t think I have been anywhere else in the world where I have found kind and helpful people from start to finish. This makes me conclude that we started our trip as strangers but we ended it as friends. Yallah! (Let’s Go!)

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