Splendors Of Jordan8 days & 7 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
Amman, Petra & Dead Sea
This tour picks out the best of Jordan's magnificent cultural heritage and stunning landscapes. Visit the classical city of Jerash, the biblical site of Mount Nebo, and Petra, the rock-hewn city. The shifting sands of Wadi Rum and the curative waters of the Dead Sea complete your exploration.
Day 1Arrive Amman
You will be met and taken to your hotel, a journey of approximately 45 minutes.The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana - 2 Nights
This morning, enjoy a city tour of Amman. Amman was formerly the Ammonite capital city of Rabbath-Ammon and later the Graeco-Roman city of Philadelphia. The city is built on seven main hills (jebels) and from the top of the Citadel, one of the highest hills, you will see a wonderful panorama of the whole city. Here you will also see the ancient ruins of the Temple of Hercules, which dates from the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD), and the fascinating National Archaeological Museum. The highlight of downtown Amman is the restored Roman theater, a remnant of the days of the city of Philadelphia. Built into the side of a hill, the theater dates back to the 2nd century AD and has a capacity for 6,000 people.
After your tour, travel from Amman to Jerash, a distance of 56 miles and journey time of 1 hour.
The Graeco-Roman city of Jerash is sometimes known as the Pompeii of the East and built over 2,000 years ago. Jerash is widely regarded as the best-preserved city of the Decapolis, a confederation of ten Roman cities dating from the 1st century. As you approach the city, you will see the imposing Triumphal Arch, which was built to honor the arrival of Emperor Hadrian in AD 129. Beyond the arch the continuing excavation work has thus far revealed two theaters, the oval-shaped forum, a market place, temples and churches.
After the tour you will return to your hotel.
Optional walking tour of Amman by night (payable locally).The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana (B, L, D)
You will be met at your hotel and driven to the Wild Jordan Center in downtown Amman, where the tour commences. The center is run by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (the RSCN) and sells a range of locally produced handicrafts as well as providing guests with information about the numerous reserves in Jordan. Explore the city on foot and have the opportunity to mingle with the locals whilst stopping at several local restaurants where you may like to sample the local cuisine.
After stopping at the Gold Market, you will continue to the magnificent Ottoman-style King Hussein Mosque that was rebuilt in 1924 on the site of an ancient mosque. Your tour will take you through the bustling streets and vegetable markets of the downtown area to the Nymphaeum. Much of the fountain here is hidden from public view by private houses and shops. The Nymphaeum is believed to have contained a 6,400 square foot pool, 10 feet deep, which was continuously refilled with fresh water. Other highlights of your tour will include a panoramic view of the Roman Theater.
Day 3To Petra
Today you will drive from Amman to Petra via the King's Highway, a total journey time of approximately 9 hours including stops. The first leg of the journey between Amman and Mount Nebo is a distance of 25 miles and journey time of approximately 1 hour.The Movenpick Resort - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
Mount Nebo is believed to be the site of Moses' Tomb, and is the place from where he first sighted the Promised Land. If the weather is good you can see spectacular views across the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea. On the top of the hill, housed beneath a protective structure built by the Franciscans, are the ruins of a beautiful old 4th century church, where the stunning mosaic floors can still be seen today (currently closed for renovation). You will then drive on to Madaba, home of the most famous Byzantine mosaics dating back to the 6th century. At the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, you will see the earliest surviving original map of the Holy Lands, which dates back to 560 AD.
Continue to Shobak, a distance of 158 miles and journey time of approximately 5-6 hr hours. En route pass through Wadi Mujib, Jordan's mini Grand Canyon.
Shobak has a long and distinguished history that reached its peak in Crusader times. The Crusader fortress was constructed in 1115 by Baldwin 1, as a link in the great chain of crusader strongholds across Jordan. During the Mameluke period the fortifications where repaired and altered and it is from this period that the majority of the masonry dates.
Continue your journey to Petra, a distance of 17 miles and journey time of approximately 30 minutes.
Today will be spent at the rose-red city of Petra. More than 2,000 years ago, Petra was used as a temporary refuge by nomadic Nabataean Arabs - Bedouins - who came north out of Arabia. Starting with only a few caves, they carved the sandstone to create this spectacular and awe-inspiring fortress city.The Movenpick Resort (B, D)
The dramatic rise of Petra was mainly due to its strategic location astride one of the most important trading routes of the ancient world, the caravan trail from Yemen to Syria. Goods from all over the known world passed through Petra, but it was frankincense that made the city rich. Burned in huge quantities on the altars of the ancient world, frankincense was valued more highly than gold. By controlling the trading routes to Yemen, the sole source of frankincense production, Petra was able to maintain a stranglehold on the world frankincense supply.
With the great wealth generated from their trading enterprises, the Nabataeans embellished their capital with grand and imposing buildings and monuments. These buildings carved into the red rock are remarkably well-preserved and are among the world's foremost surviving examples of Roman period architecture.
You will walk down through the Siq - a huge crack in the Nubian sandstone - to reach el Khazneh, The Treasury, and the city beyond. A lost city for one thousand years, Petra was not fully uncovered until 1958.
Your entrance fee to Petra includes a mandatory cost, levied by the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities (MOTA), for a horse ride from the visitors' center to the entrance of the Siq. It is impossible to exclude the cost of the ride from the cost of the entrance ticket. The operators of this ride do not carry liability insurance and neither Cox & Kings nor its agents have any involvement in the arrangements for this ride. Accordingly Cox & Kings recommends that you do not take this ride. If you do so, you do so at your own risk and neither Cox & Kings nor its agents will have any liability to you if you suffer any injury as a result of the ride.
It is no longer possible to ride on horseback through the Siq, and so most people walk. There are a few horses with carriages available; please advise your guide if you feel that the walk is too much. You will be offered the option of having a light lunch in Petra; there are some cafes and lavatories at the site.
Visiting the Monastery (Ed Deir) and High Place of Sacrifice requires a steep climb and is not recommended if you have walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion: Petra by Candlelight (payable locally - weather permitting)The Movenpick Resort (B, D)
Petra by Candlelight is regularly listed as one of the highlights of any visit to Petra. The visit begins at the main entrance to Petra at 8:00 pm and lasts until 10:00 pm. Approximately 1,800 candles are set up to light the way down the Siq and to pick out various points of interest. The journey culminates at the Treasury (it is not permitted to travel further into the site) where the forecourt is strewn with candles and awash with their beautiful light.
The Petra by Candlelight excursion is only available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Day 6To the Dead Sea
Today will be a full-day driving to The Dead Sea via Little Petra and Wadi Rum.Movenpick Resort & Spa - 2 Nights (B)
In the morning, visit the atmospheric site of Little Petra or Al Beidha located 5 miles from the main site of Petra.
Continue to Wadi Rum, a distance of 60 miles and journey time of 1.5 hours.
Wadi Rum is like a moonscape of ancient valleys and towering weathered sandstone mountains rising out of the white and pink colored sands, and offers some of the most spectacular desert scenery you are ever likely to see. Home to the many exploits of the famous T.E. Lawrence during the 1917-1918 Arab Revolt, Wadi Rum was used for the desert shots of the film "Lawrence of Arabia". You will see several Bedouin camps, and at the entrance to this desert area, you will see the desert police fort where police are mounted not on horse but on camels, and wear the traditional desert police robes.
Here you will take an excursion into the desert by 4x4 jeeps. The excursion into the desert lasts approximately 2 hours; vehicles are provided by the Wadi Rum Reserve and are driven by local Bedouins who usually speak only limited English. The vehicles are often open-topped and are well worn after numerous trips in this dusty, bumpy environment. However the scenery is magnificent and the jeeps offer access to some of the most fascinating sites that lie outside the travelling time and distance of more traditional means such as camels or hikes. If you wish to ride on a camel instead of the jeep excursion, please ask assistance from your guide (camel tours should be paid for locally).
Transfer from Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea via the Desert Highway, a distance of 198 miles and journey time of 4 hours.
Day 7Dead Sea
Day at leisure.Movenpick Resort & Spa (B)
Optional excursion: Morning excursion to Bethany (payable locally)
The site of John the Baptist's settlement at Bethany beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptised, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from Byzantine and medieval texts. John 1:28 speaks of '...Bethany beyond Jordan, where John was baptising.' while John 10:40 mentioned an incident when Jesus escaped from hostile crowds in Jerusalem and 'went away again across the Jordan to a place where John at first baptised ... ' The site of this Bethany beyond (east of) the Jordan river is not to be confused with Bethany near Jerusalem, which was the hometown of Lazarus.
The Bethany area sites formed part of the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan river, and Mt. Nebo. The area is also associated with the biblical account of how the Prophet Elijah ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire, having parted the waters of the Jordan river and walked across it with his anointed successor, the Prophet Elisha (2, Kings, 2:5 - 14). Joshua is also said to have crossed the Jordan at this point.
The main settlement of Bethany beyond Jordan, some 1 mile east of the Jordan river, comprises structures on and around a small hill, adjacent to the spring and small oasis at the head of the Wadi Kharrar. The hill has long been known as Elijah's Hill, or Jebel Mar Elias in Arabic. The site comprises a settlement that was inhabited from the time of Christ and John the Baptist, throughout most of the Byzantine period, into the early Islamic era, and again during the Ottoman period.
Day 8Depart Amman
Drive from the Dead Sea to Amman airport, a journey of 25 miles and approximately 1 hour.(B)