Since recently, Ryanair has launched a new connection from Warsaw and Cracow to the capital of Jordan – Amman. Tickets can be bought at a very low price. Especially in winter, this is an interesting proposal for a weekend or even a longer trip. Just in less than 4 hours, you can find yourself in a warm, exotic country, characterised by an amazing story, excellent cuisine and wonderful countryside.
First stop – Amman
In Amman, one can feel the specific atmosphere of the Middle East. Bright, high – desity housing, seems to grow straight from the desert.
The most interesting place in Amman is Jebel al-Qala – the Citadel (adm. 2 JOD, or free with Jordan Pass, more info here). You can see two high columns here, being a remnant of the ancient Temple of Hercules.
Right behind them you can see a piece of Hercules’ hand,carved in the rock.
From the Citadel you can admire na amazing view of Amman. In addition to typical buildings, you can see the city centre, with skyscrapers in the background and on the other side with the old Roman Theatre.
A little farther from the historic centre of Amman is the Mosque of King Abdullah (adm. 2 JOD). This is the only mosque in Jordan opened for visitors.
Closer to heaven – on top of the Nebo Mountain
Compulsory point on the way from Amman towards the Dead Sea Highway is Nebo Mountain. It’s the place where Moses saw Canaan – the promised land. Supposedly somewhere in the vicinity, he was buried.
There’s a church and a vantage point from which you can see the Dead Sea with Israel and Palestine in the background. It is also worth to visit Nebo Restaurant & Terrace where you can try freshly baked local bread and admire the amazing views.
Dead Sea Highway
The winding road west of the Nebo Mountain leads along amazing landscapes. The route often descends steep down to the lowest place on the earth – the Dead Sea, which is about 420 m below sea level.
The wrongly named Dead Sea, is actually a lake and at the same time one of the most brackish water tanks, the salinity of this reservoir is 31%. It’s worth to hurry to see this place as the Dead Sea dries out slowly.
Driving the famous Route 65, along the picturesque coast you can see amazing salt formations. Unfortunately, just before our arrival to Jordan, there was a great wave of flood. For this reason, half of this road was closed, which prevented us from seeing some of the planned attractions.
In private resorts like Al-Wadi Resort or Amman Beach, you can swim in the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, this pleasure costs a lot because around 25 JOD. What does the price include? Actually the shower. I can imagine that shower after swimming in this brine could be worth its weight in gold.
Wonder of the World
I had expected to see Petra as the modern Wonder of the World, but what I saw exceeded my wildest dreams of this place.
Until recently, I thought Petra was limited exclusively to famous structures – the Vault of Pharaoh Al-Khazneh. However, the place has much more to offer. It’s estimated that there are about 800 archeological sites in Petra, of which more than a half are graves forged in the solid rock.
The length of the main path of sightseeing is about 7 kilometres, although it can be greatly extended when climbing the nearby rocks. What is true Petra can be visited in one day, however, when you’re interested in such places, due to the amount of attractions, it’s better to spend here 2 days. The route leads through an endless maze of rocks that literally hides amazing Nabateans’ treasure.
Petra was built by Nabateans between 3 and 1 BC. For centuries it had survived numerous earthquakes, remaning secret until 1812. Then the Swiss Explorer – Jean Louis Burkhart uncovered the city forgotten for centuries.
The road to the Treasury leads through a narrow corridor of rocks. The route surprises by the amount of amazing shades of orange, pink, yellow and red.
The farther part of the route leads through the Street of Facades to the Royal Tombs. Nearby you can see a theater forged in rock.
The last part of the tour includes the place where bazaar used to be, which can be recognised by the characteristic columns.
The admission to Petra is quite expensive, the ticket costs 50 JOD, so it’s better to buy Jordan Pass, what I’ve mentioned here. Current prices and opening hours are available here. For an additional fee, you can take a ride on mules, donkeys or camels.
Petra delights at any time of the day, while the greatest impression it makes at night when it is beutifully lit. The admission at night is extra paid.
From September to March in the Petra area, there’s a risk of so called – flash floods. We had a lot of luck because just before our visit, 11 people had died as a result of this type of flood. The main cause of the threat is the terrain which consists of narrow, deep ravines, which intensify the flood wave. That’s why before the trip it’s worth checking the weather in order to avoid the risk.
In close proximity to Petra, there’s the Little Petra. It’s an interesting alternative to people who don’t like crowdy tourist spots.
4 countries and sand for corals
The perfect place to rest after an intense sightseeing is located at the Red Sea in Aqaba. Aqaba is situated in the so called “Golden Triangle”, while being a stop between Petra and Wadi Rum – Jordanian desert.
The city itself isn’t a tourits attraction, it’s similar to European sea resorts. However, Aqaba is the strategic city in Jordan, as there’s the only sea port in the country. Actually, if it wasn’t for Jordan’s King, the city would have been in the territory of Saudi Arabia. Just a 12 km stretch of the coast was exchanged for 6 thousand square km of the Jordanian desert.
Jordanian coast is famous for an amazing coral reef located almost right by the shore. Diving here includes exploring sunken tank and a military plane – Hercules. Both objects are so close to the shore that they can be easily reached on your own. Along the coast of the Red Sea there are numerous public beaches with restaurants, showers and toilets. Aqaba is also, the only place from which you can see 3 countries: Israel with the famous resort – Eljat, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
fot. Monika Dąbrowska
An unforgettable experience is a night at Bedouin camp in the Wadi Rum Desert. Accommodation under a typical tent, far away from civilization, with traditional Bedouin dinner and local music, the sky lit by million stars and amazing views at sunrise, is a truly magical experience.
To get to the desert, you don’t need to rent a 4WD car. There’s an asphalt road leading to the Visitor Center. From there you can go to the camp by organised free cars. While getting there by your own 4WD car guarantees great fun.
Admission to the desert area costs 5 JOD, it’s free with Jordan Pass, Visitor Center also offers maps of the desert.
The real attraction is desert exploration. There’s a possibility of buying a trip with Bedouin guide or exploring it on your own.
However, exploring by your own means of transport can be troublesome, due to limited navigation opportunities in the desert and quite demanding driving conditions for unexperienced drivers.
That’s why the best option in my opinion is to buy a trip. The cost of accommodation with dinner and breakfast and 3-hour desert trip for a group of 5 people costs 150 JOD.
During exploring the desert you can see amazing rock formations, dunes and canyons.
The conditions in the camp are really good. In fact, the temperature at night in the desert can be low, however the tents are warm inisde.
There is also a shared bathroom with showers in the camp area. Electricity is provided by solar panels and therefore there’s a power cut at night, as well as warm water. However warm water is available during the day. There’s also no internet access in the camp, although in these conditions it can be considered as an advantage 😉
photo by the courtesy of Ewa 🙂
On the High Castle
The amazing Karak Castle rises at the height of 1000 meters. This is the best preserved building of this type in Jordan. From the top you can admire an amazing view of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, during our visit, it was closed after the flood that passed the day earlier. Admission costs 1 JOD or is free with Jordan Pass.
photo by the courtesy of Ewa 🙂
Find out more information about trip planning here and a post about Jordan cuisine will be soon 😉
fot. Monika Dąbrowska