Jordan is most famous for its rock city and the archaeological location of Petra. A lot of tourists get to admire the beauty of the tombs carved in the rocks which line the whole valley. It isn´t very well known though that this country offers much more to visit. Come and see what other gems are hidden in Jordan.

The first mentions of inhabiting the area come from early the Neolithic era. Different civilizations lived there since the 9th century BC and each one of them left a unique footprint there. One could even say that the area of today´s Jordan was a scene to an important historical event and a clash of divergent cultures. The Nabateans were probably the ones who influenced the history of Jordan as they were the culture which built the rock burial site Petra. However, their kingdom was conquered by the Roman Empire. The area was also controlled by Babylonians, Arabs, there were clashes with the Crusader troops, all of that before Jordan became the part of the Ottoman Empire. Later, the area was conquered by the British and Jordan had to wait for its independence until the Second World War.

Arab Bedouins inhabit Petra in Jordan

Nowadays Arab Bedouins inhabit Petra in Jordan

During that century, several wars between Jordan and Israel took place. Because of a defeat, Jordan had to give up a part of its land. In the Jordan region, crowds of Palestinian refugees were circulating, making up 55% of the country’s Arab population. At present, a large number of Syrian refugees are heading for Jordan as well.

1. Petra – The ancient tombs carved in the rocks

Petra is the main tourist attraction in all of Jordan. Many tourists come here from all around the world to admire the beauties that were carved into the stone by the Nabateans thousands of years ago. The graves carved in the rocks were supposed to be the last sanctuary of important persons and kings of the Nabatean kingdom to which Petra used to be the capital city. Visitors can also admire the remains of the complex irrigation system, an old Roman monument and the remnants of the Crusader Castle. Arab Bedouins follow the tourists on every corner, offering their souvenirs and a ride on camels or donkeys. In the evening, during the sunset, the rock creations radiate a glow of a thousand candles and burst with Bedouin music. It is a truly unforgettable experience that no visitor should miss.

Read our Ultimate Guide to Petra with everything you need to know.

Treasury is the most famous tomb in Petra

Treasury is the most famous tomb in Petra

tom_profilCurrently, Jordan is calm and safe. The country is open to independent travelers, offering a rich historical experience and boasting a great number of sights, from the Roman amphitheater and the Byzantine monuments to the ancient tombs carved into the rocks. Yet most tourists visit the country accompanied by a private guide or a travel agency. As an independent traveler, you are still a little curious and a bit an attraction for the locals. Local people, however, have a great respect for visitors. Thefts or threats to tourists are threatened with much harder punishment than usual. Still, most tourists are still reluctant to travel on their own, which is a shame.

Visit Petra in Jordan

Petra’s visit is a great experience for many tourists

2. Jerash – Jerash – The Buried Ancient City of the Greco-Roman world

Jerash is the second most visited monument of Jordan, just after Petra. It is a city where Greek-Roman elements mingle with Oriental Arab culture. The ancient city of Jerash was founded by Alexander the Great and is one of the most preserved ancient site located outside Italy. Due to its size, it is often referred to as the Pompeii of the East. Jerash offers a walk along the original Roman pavement, preserved hippodrome, several remains of ancient temples and amphitheaters. You don´t have to go all the way to Rome, just visit Jerash!

Jerash offers a walk through the archaeological site

Jerash offers a walk through the archaeological site

One of the most preserved hippodrome is in Jerash

One of the most preserved hippodrome is in Jerash

3. The Dead Sea – the saltiest lake in the world

The Dead Sea in Jordan is the name of one of the world’s saltiest non-outflow lakes. Its salinity reaches a respectable 34%, making it a very harsh environment in which only some species of bacteria can survive. This lake is also unique because it lays 420 meters below the surface of the world’s ocean and is the lowest-laid place on earth. Another reason why the Dead Sea is tempting for tourists is its buoyancy power. Due to the high salt level, the water density is much higher and therefore the water lets you float easily. Perhaps just a few of the visitors resist the temptation to take pictures of them floating on the water with newspapers in hand.

Therapeutic cosmetic products and Dead Sea mud wraps are highly sought after all around the world. If you visit this site, you will be surprised at how many cosmetics and products you can buy here. Do not hesitate and try some procedures, including a mud wrap right on the beach. If you are lucky, you can also see the characteristic coastline for which accumulated salt on the beaches is typical.

Death Sea Jordan

The amount of salt in the Dead Sea is so high that the salt is deposited off the coast

4. Biblical Mount Nebo – an important pilgrimage site in Jordan

“And Moses came out of the wilderness of Moab, and the Lord showed him all the land, which he was not supposed to enter. Moses died on Mount Nebo and no one yet knows his tomb. “- That is how the Old Testament mentions the mountain. Crowds of pilgrims have been coming here for centuries and nowadays tourists visit it too. But don´t worry that there is nothing to see here. A modern sculpture depicting the serpent wrapped around the cross of Jesus stands at the top of the mountain. The remains of churches from the 4th and 7th centuries were uncovered on the mountain, where you can see perfectly preserved mosaics on various motifs. For visitors, there is a small museum that will take you briefly through the history. Finally, it is necessary to mention the beautiful view from the height of 800 meters directly to the Jordan Valley, Jericho, and the Desert Mountains.

Modern sculpture on Mount Nebo

Modern sculpture on Mount Nebo

5. Byzantine monuments and the ancient city of Madaba

The city of Madaba in Jordan was founded in the early Neolithic and is a popular tourist destination mainly due to its monuments and mosaics of the Byzantine era. Perhaps most remarkable is the mosaic map, which was found on the floor of St. George’s Church. It dates back to the 6th century and displays the landscape of Palestine and the holy city of Jerusalem before its reconstruction. In addition to this unique map, hundreds of other archaeological finds of different mosaics come from the same time in Madaba. Visiting this place is a unique way back to the past where you can admire the skill of our ancestors.
mosaic map in Madaba

The oldest preserved mosaic map is located in Madaba

Madaba offers incredible remnants of the Babylonian era

Madaba offers incredible remnants of the Babylonian era

6. Wadi Rum – The beauty out of our world

Wadi Rum is a beautiful desert valley that you should not miss under any circumstances. They are ready for anything in the tourist center and you can choose from a wide range of different trips, including camel rides or overnight stays in the tent in the middle of the desert. Wadi Rum amazes with a wide variety of desert sand colours, from light yellow to dark red. It is no wonder, it has become a favourite place for filmmakers, especially for the films about Mars. In addition to the sand, you can admire the interesting rock formations and petroglyphs, which are engravings in the rocks that left the Bedouin people here.
Wadi Rum is incredibly photogenic

Wadi Rum is incredibly photogenic

Camel Ride in Wadi Rum in Jordan

The ideal means of transport in the desert is a camel

7. Jordan Castles and Ruins

Jordan boasts a large number of Arab and Crusader castles and ruins. It is worth mentioning Kerak, which is the best preserved Crusader Castle in the Middle East. It is even mentioned in the Bible since Kerak was the capital of the kingdom of Moab. Visitors can also visit the Archaeological Museum here. Another interesting castle is Shobak, a 12th-century crusader castle or the typically Arab castle Ajloun, which has never been captured in its history.

Crusader Castles in Jordan

Jordan is full of ruins of Crusader Castles

8. Beach town of Aqaba – swimming in the Red Sea

Aqaba in Jordan attracts visitors mainly due to favourable weather and access to the Red Sea. It is very rich when it comes to the underwater life and coral reefs. Its name was obtained by seaweed, which, when overflowing, dyed red water. Aqaba Marine Park has 7 kilometers of coastline where you can admire the coral reefs, rich underwater life and sunbathe on local beaches. In addition to diving and swimming in the sea, Aqaba offers other popular beach activities that are worth a try.

Beach in Aqaba

Aqaba offers plenty of recreational activities

Jordan has many must-see places and you could spend there weeks to see all of them. What are your best places in Jordan? Let us know in the comments!

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 Jordan Travel Guide | What to see in Jordan | must-see places | Best things to see in Jordan | Jordan is not only Petra | Ancient places in Jordan | Best Places to Visit in Jordan
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