The 13 best places to visit in Jordan


Situated on the banks of the River Jordan, just to the north of the Dead Sea is an archaeological site believed to be the location where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John The Baptist. Featuring Roman and Byzantine remains including churches and chapels, a monastery and pools within which baptisms were celebrated, the site has become a major pilgrimage destination for Christians worldwide. The entire area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the Orthodox Church Of Saint John The Baptist.

13. Baptismal Site Of Jesus Christ


In the south of the country, close to ancient city of Petra, is the Tomb Of Aaron, the supposed burial place of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Although the location of the grave, like that of Moses, is shrouded in mystery, the Islamic tradition places it on top of the Jabal Harun (Aaron's Mountain) better known as Mount Hor. With it's small white tomb it has become a popular pilgrimage site for both Muslims and Jews, and from it's high vantage point 1,457 metres (4,780 ft) above sea level it offers fantastic views over the surrounding arid mountainous landscape.

12. Tomb Of Aaron


Running from north to south, following the contours of the rolling desert hills above the Dead Sea Rift is the Kings Highway. Linking many of the countries major tourist attractions, running through arid desert and small towns, this ribbon of highway cuts across the country making for one of the most scenic drives in Jordan, and an attraction in it's own right.

11. Kings Highway


Built in 1142 AD, halfway between Petra and the capital, Amman, in the city of Al-Karak, is the large Crusader fortification of Kerak Castle, the largest of it's kind in the region. Once the centre of power in western Arabia, the castle controlled the trade routes from Damascus, to Egypt and to Mecca. Involved in multiple conflicts throughout the centuries, destroyed by it's many sieges and by time, this Crusader castle with it's mixture of European Byzantine and Arab influences remains a giant in the desert. 

10. Kerak Castle


Halfway up the country, close to the border with Israel is a 308 square kilometre (119 square mile) area of semi protected land, the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Encompassing the Dana Village and the Wadi Dana, the reserve consists of large limestone, sandstone and granite rock formations that cover the low lying desert of Wadi Araba up to the Qadisiyah Plateau, 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level. The entire area makes for one of Jordan's most unusual and picturesque landscapes.

9. Dana Biosphere Reserve


In the far west of the country, directly east of the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley is the 212 square kilometre (82 square mile) Mujib Nature Reserve, named after the Wadi Mujib. Extending to the Kerak and Madaba Mountains, reaching a height of 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea level, the reserve consists of beautiful mountainous, rocky, and sparsely vegetated desert of cliffs and gorges cutting through the high plateaus.

8. Mujib Nature Reserve


Built in 161 AD in the countries capital, Amman, are the remains of an ancient Roman Theatre. Able to seat around 6,000 spectators, this huge steep structure dates back to when the city was known as Philadelphia. Today it remains one of the most famous landmarks of the city.

7. Roman Theatre


South of the capital, Amman, east of the northern edge of the Dead Sea is the historical Mount Nebo, situated at an elevation of 710 metres (2,330 ft) above sea level. According to the Hebrew Bible it was the location where Moses was granted a view of the promised land. From it's summit visitors can see a fantastic panorama of the Holy Land, a view of the Valley Of The River Jordan and on a very clear day both the city of Jericho and Jerusalem.

Pictured is the Brazen Serpent Statue.

6. Mount Nebo


At the centre of downtown Amman, showcasing the long history of occupation by great civilizations over the centuries, are the remains of the Amman Citadel. Most of the buildings at the site are from Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods, with major buildings including the Umayyad Palace, a Byzantine church and the Roman Temple Of Hercules. The temple remains are that of six columns standing 10 metres (33 ft) high, next to it a hand carved from stone identified as that of Hercules. Estimated to have been over 12 metres (39 ft) tall and probably destroyed by an earthquake, all that remains are three fingers and an elbow. Though it has been an archaeological site since 1920, much of the Citadel is yet to be excavated.

Pictured is the Temple Of Hercules and the Hand Of Hercules.

5. Amman Citadel


In the far north west of the country, north of the capital, Amman, is the ancient city of Jerash, nicknamed the Pompeii Of The East or The City Of A Thousand Columns. Having been occupied since the Neolithic period, Jerash has seen the Hellensitic, Roman, Byzantine, early Muslim and Crusader eras along it's 2,500 year history. Today, what remains is an open air museum among the finest in Jordan. Theses ancient monuments include numerous Corinthian columns, the Tetrapylon of Jerash, Hadrian's arch, a hippodrome, two large ancient Greek temples dedicated to Zeus and Artemis, an oval forum surrounded by a colonnade, two theatres, a scattering of small temples, a large nymphanaeum, an almost complete circuit of city walls and a whole host of other ancient ruins.

4. Jerash


Lying within the Jordan Rift Valley, bordering Jordan to the east and Israel & Palestine to the west, sitting 430 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level the Dead Sea has the lowest land elevation on Earth, and is also the saltiest body of water in the world. Attracting visitors from across the globe, the Dead Sea is revered for it's therapeutic qualities and by those who simply wish to feel the unusual sensation of floating on it's surface.

3. Dead Sea


In the extreme south of the country, covering an area of some 720 square kilometres (278 square miles), the Wadi Rum, meaning 'Sand Valley', is the largest wadi in Jordan. Also known as the Valley Of The Moon, the area consists of red sandstone and steep granite rocks among a vast open landscape of picture perfect scenery. At the southern end of the valley sits the Jabal Umm Ad Dami, at 1,840 metres (6,040 ft) above sea level it is the highest point in the country, and from it's peak it is possible to see both the Red Sea and the Saudi Arabian border. This amazing desert landscape of narrow gorges, natural arches and towering cliffs also holds petroglyphs and archaeological remains testifying to 12,000 years of human occupation. For this the entire Wadi Rum has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Wadi Rum


In the south of the country on the slopes of the Jabal Al-Madbah, among the mountains of the Arabah Valley is the historical and archaeological city of Petra, famed worldwide for it's rock cut facade architecture. Established in the 4th century BC by the Nabataeans, annexed by the Romans and then abandoned by the Byzantine Empire, Petra was lost among the mountains for centuries. Rediscovered by Europeans in 1812 it became one of the greatest finds of the 19th century. Known as the Rose City due to the colour of the stone out of which it is carved, it's most famous site is undoubtedly the Al Khazneh, known in English as 'The Treasury'. Carved in the 1st century AD it is one of the most elaborate temples of the ancient Arab Nabataean Kingdom. Considered one of the most precious properties of man's cultural heritage, the most visited site in the country, an iconic symbol of Jordan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of insurmountable importance, and recently voted to be one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World.

Pictured is the Al-Khazneh (The Treasury).

1. Petra

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