Travellers have been exploring the Middle East for thousands of years but Jordan new when it comes to opening its doors to the outside world since it only had a fraction of the numbers of people who visited Egypt and Israel. This country is composed of more than camels and deserts, as is portrayed in the West. It is a country that has beaches, castles, ancient churches and mountains. It has urban crowds of people with rich culture. It is comfortable and welcoming and has open arms to visitors from all over the world.
Jordan is about 80% desert but this covers all kinds of this terrain from red sands to high cliffs down south and even to volcanic basalt far east. In the north you will find hills that have olive trees that overlook the Jordan Valley and further down is the Dead Sea which is the lowest point on planet Earth. The entire country has fields of wheat that are surrounded by canyons and mountains. At the southernmost corner is the Red Sea which is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.
The Cultural Heritage of Jordan:
Jordan is almost like a melting pot of cultures and has been almost a crossroad of sorts for armies of the past since it is the bridge linking Europe, Africa and Asia. Here you will find traces of conquest by different rulers namely- Greeks, Romans, Muslims and even Christian. There are archaeological sites from different periods and different rulers all over the country. Even Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad themselves have passed through this land.
The country however is not stuck in its past glory- Amman is a very modern capital where poverty is not easy to find. Jordans are highly educated. The traditions of hospitality here are commendable. Don’t be surprised if you get invited to tea or a meal here. The people of Jordan take great pride in their ancestry. In the desert, people still live in their tribal lands and claim this identity proudly. A third of Jordan is young and under the age of 20. This is one of the most educated countries in the world and everyone you meet will be able to hold a decent conversation with you in English. Students exist from all income groups and social backgrounds and all mix freely with each other. At the university level, emphasis is given to the engineering and sciences subjects.
Here are some places to visit in Jordan:
- The Dead Sea: The sunsets at the lowest point on Earth are to die for. The sun hovers over this lake which is but an ocean of salty water.
- Amman: You will find ruins of the Roman era and Islamic palaces. Also, you will find a Roman theatre in the heart of the city.
- Mount Nebo: Legend has it that Moses walked to the summit above the Dead Sea to gaze out to the Promised Land.
- Aqaba: Head here to witness some of the Red Sea’s best-preserved coral reefs and marine biodiversity.
- Jerash: This is a well-preserved Roman city that has mazes of streets, temples and marketplaces.
- The Castles: Take one day to explore these early-Islamic forts and bathhouses that are east of Amman.
The Royal Botanical Garden: This garden is designed to feature five local habitats- the deciduous oak forest, pine forest, juniper forest, Jordan Valley and freshwater wadi. It has walks that are 20km long filled with nature trails, concealed hides, butterfly houses and boat trips. It has a cafe-restaurant and good accommodation.
The site that is chosen for this garden is the hilly area of Tell Ar RUmman that is west of Amman-Jerash road. This garden is huge in size, about 180 hectares and has a variety of habitats- this can lead to Jordan’s native plant species to be grown onsite.
There you have it, that has been our mini-guide to Jordan. We hope you have a great time in this amazing country and travel safely.