Nestled between Africa, Europe and Asia, Jordan is a country rich in historical, biblical and cultural heritage. Having been ruled in ancient times by both the Persians and the Greeks, Jordan’s colourful past is visible in its enthralling archaeological locations.
To see some of the historical and archaeological marvels that Jordan has to offer, the cities you should not miss are Amman, Petra, Jerash and Bethany.
The most famous and awe-inspiring site in Amman is the Roman amphitheatre. Still in excellent condition, it dates back to around 150 AD. This colossal structure can seat up to 6000 people, and was originally used to stage theatrical events. Since a restoration in the 50s and 60s, the amphitheatre is used for sports and, due to its impressive acoustic qualities, to stage concerts.
The building also houses a museum, in which you can view traditional Jordanian clothing, jewellery, embroidery and beautiful sixth century mosaics.
With a human occupation stretching back over 6500 years, Jerash is steeped in cultural heritage. One of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world – second only to Pompeii – Jerash has all the iconic facets of a Roman town: towering arches, beautiful columns and a massive, majestic theatre. All these architectural treasures are still beautifully preserved, millennia after the Romans.Take a full day to slowly amble around the ruins and take in the sights, with or without a guide the majestic ruins speak for themselves.
This magical place is appropriately called Petra, the Greek word for ‘stone’. It is famously carved into the face of Mount Hor in a mountain basin in Southern Jordan. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site, this city, with architecture dating back to the sixth century BC, is full of caves, hidden underground buildings, and magnificent temples, all built into the rock face of the mountain. Two of the most beautiful buildings are Al Kazneh (the Treasury) and the Church of Petra, with its beautiful byzantine mosaics.
Known by many as the site where John the Baptist baptised Jesus Christ, this is also the site where Elijah is said to have ascended to heaven, and where the Israelites first crossed the river Jordan into their holy land. More recently, archaeological digs have unearthed ancient churches, caves and wells dating back to the fifth and sixth century.
Jerash, Bethany, Petra and Amman are just a few of the remarkable historical sites to be seen in the breath-taking Middle-Eastern country of Jordan.