Arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, where you will be met and assisted with customs and immigration formalities, then transferred to your hotel in Amman for a 1 night stay.
Drive north of Amman to Jerash. Visit the best-preserved Roman city of the Decapolis. Entering the city through the monumental South Gate one comes upon the lovely Oval Plaza, the Temple of Zeus, and the South Theatre, which seats more than 3,000 spectators. Walking through the Colonnaded Street, one can see the Market Place, the Omayyad residential quarter, a 4th century AD cathedral, St. Theodore’s Church, the Nymphaeum and the North Theatre.
Optional: Enjoy the Roman Army And Chariot Experience (RACE) show in Jerash which features forty-five legionaries in full armour in a display of Roman Army drill and battle tactics, ten gladiators fighting “to the death” and several Roman chariots competing in a classical seven lap race around the ancient hippodrome. (Subject to cancellation depending on weather conditions).
Proceed via the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea; the lowest spot on earth – 394 meters below sea level. Overnight Dead Sea. (B
Morning free for swimming in the salty waters of the Dead Sea. Known for its high salt content, swimming in the Dead Sea is quite an experience for one will float without exerting any effort.
The uniqueness of the Dead Sea has been known for centuries. This is the only place in the world with this particular combination of exclusive spa benefits: peculiar sun radiation and climatic conditions, enriched oxygen atmosphere, mineral-rich salt sea, thermo-mineral springs, and mineral-rich mud. In recent years, the Dead Sea area has become a health, rehabilitation, recreation and beauty spa. The combination of the year-round favourable climate, the thriving health and beauty centres, and the unique natural and historical tourist attractions, attract both vacationers and health-cure visitors from around the world. Modern facilities and hotels line the shore.
As a health spa, the Dead Sea offers patients an opportunity to treat various ailments while enjoying the feeling of well being that is an important part of the treatment. Many visitors return year after year for long-term relief.
At noon, drive to the rose-red city of Petra along part of the King’s Highway, stopping en route at Mount Nebo and at Madaba.
Mount Nebo, which dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses, around the 12th century BC, is believed to be the site of the Prophet’s burial place and the point from where he viewed the “Promised Land”. Visit the remains of the mosaic floors with stunning designs that feature hunting and pastoral scenes, found in the small church, built by the early Christians in the 4th century AD. From a platform in front of the church, a visitor may see a bronze memorial of a snake on a cross, which symbolizes the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert, as well as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Proceed to Madaba, home of the most famous Byzantine mosaics. Visit the greatest and most significant of all the city’s treasures, the wonderful mosaic map of ancient Palestine, which is located on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. The 6th century AD map, hailed as the oldest in existence, was depicted for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, as it represented the surrounding regions as well. The River Nile, the Jordan River, Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea are easily identified on this map, in addition to many cities such as Bethlehem, Gaza and Jerusalem. One can clearly make out the walls, towers, gates, streets and buildings of the Holy City of Jerusalem, especially the colonnaded main street or Cardo, and the domed church of the Holy Sepulcher. Overnight Petra. (B)
Full day dedicated for the exploration of the Nabatean city of Petra. The tour starts on horseback, passing by the Obelisk Tomb and then proceeding on foot through the Siq -the narrow gorge that leads to Petra’s most impressive monument, the Treasury. Then on to the Street of Facades, the Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Colonnaded Street, the Byzantine Church, the Temple, the Monumental Arch and Qasr el-Bint Faroun. You may wish to climb up to the gigantic 1st century AD monument of the Monastery (optional). This is a hard climb with about 900 steps, and in certain areas it is steep with exposed edges, so it is no longer included in the tour. Overnight Petra. (B)
The highlight of any visit to Jordan must be the ‘Rose Red City’ of Petra, the capital of ancient Nabateans, carved into the rock thousands of years ago. Petra is a world treasure, a marriage of natural and man-made wonders on an awesome scale. A sematic people from Northern Arabia carved an entire city out of the highly coloured mountains some 2,000 years ago. The Nabateans created an empire based on trading precious incense and perfumes, an empire so rich it inspired the envy of mighty Rome, which ultimately conquered it. Long before the Nabateans, the Petra area was inhabited by Stone Age people at nearby Beida and was once the capital of the biblical Kingdom of Edom.
A thrilling adventure awaits every visitor making his way along the Wadi Musa valley to the great Siq chasm. You should go there early in the morning already, as the light is perfect to show the stones glowing in different colours.
Optional: Petra By Night tour (pay locally)
Available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays, but they could cancel it without prior notice.
You will walk from the Visitors’ Centre via the Siq (gorge), which will be lit with candles, up to the Treasury. The walk will take about (30 – 40 minutes). Once the whole group is gathered in front of the Treasury, a Bedouin – playing on the Nai – will walk out from inside of the Treasury towards the Siq & another one will be playing on the Rababa musical instrument. An English-speaking guide will briefly narrate the history of Petra.
Visit the 9,000-year-old Neolithic settlement of Beidha, and nearby Siq el-Barid, which is a miniature Petra with its own small Siq, carved tombs and monuments.
Drive to Wadi Rum, one of the world’s most colourful and unique landscapes of desert and mountain scenery and where T.E. Lawrence was based during the Arab Revolt. Arrive at Wadi Rum’s Visitors’ Centre where you will visit the small museum, which displays the Bedouin culture, local wildlife and protection of the desert environment, alongside a projection hall showing a short film introducing Rum.
Return to Amman via the Desert Highway. You will be dropped off at the international airport for your onward flight.