Jordan: 6 suggestions (including Petra) ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด

Iโ€™ve always wanted to visit Petra and Amman is a good place to stay so here are 6 suggestions, including Petra.

Jordan is an Arab nation, situated on the East Bank of the Jordan River and home to the famous archeological site and world wonder Petra!

The capital is Amman, which is Jordanโ€™s most populous city as well as the economic, political and cultural centre.

1. Dead Sea

Located about a forty minute drive from Amman, the Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan and Israel.  It lies in the Jordan rift valley and its main tributary is the Jordan River.  The Dead Sea is the Earthโ€™s lowest elevation on land at 430.5 metres below sea level.

The landscape surrounding the Sea is very barren and I am told by friendly locals that if you try to cross the sea border into Israel, you will be shot!

When you walk into the sea it is like climbing into a bath as it is lovely and warm!  Being able to float around in it is like nothing I have ever felt before.  It’s an amazing sensation and you could even read a book while enjoying your relaxing float.

If you dig deep enough into little nooks and crannies by the shore, you can find the Dead Sea mud for a proper Dead Sea Experience.  It is so good for your skin.

Lots of Dead Sea products are available in Amman if you’d like to take a little bit of that magic home with you! They can also be found online.

Top Tip: Take along a prop to pose with for that perfect instagram picture in the Sea

Dead Sea, Jordan

2.  King Abdullah First Mosque

This mosque was completed in 1989 as a memorial by King Hussein to his grandfather.  

Its dome is a gorgeous blue and the minarets are cream with Arabic lettering on ceramic tiles in a blue that matches the dome.

This building can fit up to 7000 worshippers with a further 3000 in the courtyard and 500 in the womenโ€™s section.

This is the only mosque in Amman that welcomes non-muslim visitors.  I had to wear a robe that went right down to my ankles and covered my hair.  I quite liked the invisible feeling I had while wearing it. Checkout my Handy Travel Apps page for apps for tours.

King Abdullah 1 Mosque, Amman

3.  Amman Citadel

The Citadel is set high up on the hill with an amazing panoramic view of Amman.  This is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon and has been occupied since the Bronze Age.  It is surrounded by a 1700 metre long wall, which was rebuilt during the Bronze and Iron Ages as well as in the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad eras.

The main sights to are the Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad Palace.  If you look carefully you can also find the hand of Hercules and a fragment of his elbow.

For any Coldplay fans out there, this is where they launched their current album – Everyday Life.

Top Tip: The hill is very steep so would recommend taking a taxi in the summer months as it can become very hot

Citadel, Amman
The Hand of Hercules

4.  Roman Amphitheatre

This Roman theatre seats 6000 people and dates back to the 2nd century when Amman was known as Philadelphia.  A Greek inscription on a pillar indicates that it was built in honour of Emperor Antonius Pius.  

The theatre was built into the hillside and oriented to the north to keep the sun out of the audienceโ€™s eyes.  The Romans were full of good ideas!

Ampitheatre, amman

5.  Al Rainbow Street

This is the place in Amman to see an be seen and is located in the historic district of Jabal Amman.

The street is most lively on Thursdays when the Jordanian weekend starts.

As well as lovely cafes and restaurants that serve delicious food there are lots of little handicraft shops for souvenirs and also Souk Jafra, which appears on Fridays.

Finally, why donโ€™t you visit one of the art galleries such as Nabad Art Gallery or Jacarenda for a bit of culture after all that shopping?

Rainbow Street, Amman

6.  Petra

And finally, I have saved the best for last: Petra – the place known as the โ€˜lost cityโ€™ to the Western World.  Petra used to be a thriving trading centre and the capital of the Nabataean Empire.

The city itself is carved directly into red, white and pink sandstone, giving it the nickname of the rose-red city and is situated in the midst of desert canyons and mountains.  Think Indiana Jones!

Tickets cost approximately ยฃ53, which does seem expensive but I think it is worth it to see the beautiful long lost, red-rose city of Petra!

You could spend a few days here and still not manage to see everything so here are the highlights 

  • The Treasury.  This is the most famous monument in the city and has a detailed facade carved into the cliff facing the Siq.  This is also believed to be a tomb of a Nabatean King.  The name Treasury, comes from the Bedouin belief that it was built by a pharaoh to hold his treasure.  For years, marksman tried to break the urn at the top hoping to be showered with gold.
The Treasury, Petra
  • The Colonnaded Street.  This paved street used to be the centre of Nabatean power and boasts a ruined public fountain, market places and a 5th century church, whose floor mosaics are still visible.  There are twin lines of columns that lead through a gateway into the Temenos, which is a sacred precinct.  This precinct is home to a 1st century Nabatean temple; Qasr al-Bint.
  • The Siq.  This is the original entry way into Petra and what an entry way it is! A narrow, rocky cleft that winds through the mountains for just over a kilometre.  It was formed when tectonic forces split the mountain in two and water came into the fault, softening the sharp corners.  The walls of the path are nearly 200 metres high but only a couple of metres apart.  Along the path you can spot carved shrines from the Nabataeans.
The Siq, Petra
  • The High Place of Sacrifice. This is an exposed mountain top altar, situated 170 metres above the main city.  Next to the altar are side channels which were used to drain the blood from animal sacrifices.  The steps to the altar can be found beside the main path by the Roman Theatre and the climb takes about half an hour.  Please be careful as this climb can be dangerous
  • The Monastery.  This is the largest monument  in the city and is found in the mountains above the city.  There is an area just above it claiming to have the best view you have ever seen.  Why donโ€™t you go up and see?!  It takes about one hour to hike to it, along a path of rocky steps.  Beware, the air is thin so stop and have a rest if you need to, donโ€™t push yourself.  There are no railings in some parts and the drop is steep so be careful!  The Monastery was most likely a tomb for a Nabataean King, built in the 1st Century BC.
The Monastery, Petra

The Monastery is about three hours from the Siq so if youโ€™re tight for time Iโ€™d recommend starting there and working your way back.  If you donโ€™t want to walk in the heat there are plenty of camels, donkeys and horse and carts whose owners are happy to take you for a small fee!

Top Tip: Bring a hat, plenty of water, suncream and good walking shoes

Where to shop and what to eat

Downtown is also a good area for cheap shopping and dining. It is also a very lively area and any type of thing you could want to buy seems to be on offer. The downside is that every shopkeeper tries to drag you inside to show you their wares but I received a pleasant surprised when I was presented with two postcards when I was about to leave without buying anything.

  • Jafra, situated in the downtown area, is filled with wooden tables with glass tops that are protecting interesting artefacts within the tables. Some of the tables have huge copper trays built into them. There is a nightly guitarist and and artist sat at his easel painting away. A super atmosphere along with delicious food. I recommend the grilled halloumi with lamb meatballs!
  • Sufra on Al Rainbow street is also a fantastic place to eat. This restaurant serves a wide variety of delicious Jordanian dishes and is located in a traditional house with beautiful ambience. Most restaurants are dry, it depends how close they are to the nearest mosque. There are small off licenses dotted around the city and a couple of bars on Al Rainbow Street.

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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