The second most famous and visited site in Jordan after Petra, is the Greco-Roman city of Jerash. This great city was known from biblical times and represented a great center during the Roman Empire's rule of the area. Jerash is a must-visit for any traveler who enjoys the history and scenery of Jordan.
In the hills east of Ghor as-Safi (ancient Zoar) a cave was found in 1991 with Early and Middle Bronze Age pottery inside. Speculation linked the finds with Abraham’s nephew Lot who, according to the Bible, moved to a cave in the hills above Zoar after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jordan’s charming city of Madaba has a history that goes back to at least 3500 years. Madaba is considered to be one of the most impressive places in the Holy Land and has been named the ‘City of Mosaics’. It is situated 30 kilometers southwest of the capital city of Amman along the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway. Best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, Madaba is home to the famous 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of vividly coloured local stone, it depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.
Visitors to the Dead Sea should also take advantage of another nearby wonder, Hammamat Ma’in (Ma’in Hot Springs). Popular with both locals and tourists alike, the springs are located 264m below sea level in one of the most breathtaking desert oases in the world. Thousands of visiting bathers come each year to enjoy the mineral-rich waters of these hyper-thermal waterfalls. These falls originate from winter rainfalls in the highland plains of Jordan and eventually feed the 109 hot and cold springs in the valley. This water is heated to temperatures of up to 63° Celsius by underground lava fissures as it makes its way through the valley before emptying into the Zarqa River.
Mount Nebo is one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan and the place where Moses was buried. A small Byzantine church was built there by early Christians, which has been expanded into a vast complex. During his visit to Jordan in 2000, the Late Pope John Paul II held a sermon here that was attended by some 20,000 faithful.
Within an hour’s drive from Madaba along the picturesque King’s Highway, is Mukawir. Mukawir is the hilltop stronghold of Herod the Great. Upon Herod’s death, his son, Herod Antipas, inherited the fortress and it is from here that he ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded after Salome’s fateful dance.
Pella is a favourite of archaeologists as it is exceptionally rich in antiquities, some of which are exceedingly old. Besides the excavated ruins from the Graeco-Roman period, including an Odeon (theatre), Pella offers visitors the opportunity to see the remains of a Chalcolithic settlement from the 4th millennium BC, the remains of Bronze and Iron Age walled cities, Byzantine churches and houses, an Early Islamic residential quarter, and a small medieval mosque.
Absolutely nothing can prepare you for the most spectacular site that is Petra, famously known as the ‘The Rose Red City’; Petra was built by the Nabateans some 2,200 years ago. The City’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it was carved into pure rock faces and is hidden between jagged cliffs of red-hued sandstone. The Nabateans, who were from Arab origin were known for being distinct and clever traders who managed to turn Petra into an important connection for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked India, China, and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.