Best things to do in Jordan
Find out more about those top places in Jordan
Tucked away in the canyons of southern Jordan’s Shara Mountains, Petra is one of the seven wonders of the world. This is not just hyperbole – in 2007 the ancient monument was voted by popular ballot as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World alongside legendary locations including the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. The sandstone treasuries, temples and royal tombs of Petra are made all the more evocative by the lack of historical information available, which turns the entire setting into a dreamscape of epic proportions. While the city today is inundated with tourists from across the globe, the nearby ruin of Little Petra, thought to be an agricultural settlement that supplied its much larger namesake, is a hidden gem well off the tourist trail.
There are lots of interesting things that would definitely catch your fancy, especially at Wadi Mujib. A detailed tour of Wadi Mujib should lead you first to the dam then along a trail that cuts across huge sandstone cliffs to a magnificent waterfall. Meanwhile, the walk down to this waterfall would have you exposed to the beautiful sights of many rare animals that are only found in this region.
Al-Khazneh was built to be one of the most sophisticated temples in Petra. As a matter of fact, the temple was carved out of sandstone, as sandstone was one thing Jordan had abundant. Al-Khazneh actually means "The Treasury" in English as it was once believed to hold many hidden treasures.
Ad Deir means "The Monastery" in English, and it was called this name because it used to be a church when it was first built. Like many other ancient structures in Jordan, Ad Deir was carved out of a mountain of sandstone rocks. Apart from a few other tourist attraction sites like Al-Khazneh, Ad Deir attracts a huge number of tourists.
The Royal Tombs used to be a set of highly decorated tombs of the ancient Byzantine period. On your tour of the tombs, you'd have to go through a number of other equally decorated tombs such as the Urn tombs, the Silk tombs, Palace tombs, Corinthian tombs, and the Sesto Fiorentino tombs. These tombs have one thing in common, they were all carved out of sandstone rocks.
With just a fraction of the ancient ruins of Cairo, little of the religious history of Jerusalem and none of the grand medieval monuments of Damascus, visitors to the Middle East easily overlook Amman. Mostly created in the 20th century, Amman is one of the region’s hidden gems with a clutch of world-class attractions combined with buzzing contemporary redevelopment. Overlooking the city is the iconic Citadel, which contains a selection of Roman and Ummayad structures, including the Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad Palace, while nearby a 2nd century AD amphitheater is fast becoming the city’s in fact emblem. Beyond the history, Amman is a modern city where visitors can get a taste for contemporary Arab culture with the streets thronging with elegant cafes, stylish boutique and innovative art galleries.
Sitting atop the Jabal al-Qala’a Hill is the Amman Citadel. The Citadel already looks pretty impressive from outside with the ancient Roman Hercules pillars and the Umayyad Palace complex that is covered with a large dome. The Jordan Archaeological Museum is found inside this citadel and is popularly known for exhibiting old artifacts from ancient times. Also, within this same citadel is the National Gallery of Fine Arts where recent artworks from all around the world can be found.
The Romans were known to always host competitions and extravagant festivals at their large theaters. Wherever the Romans ruled, they built these theaters, and that is why Amman has one of such theaters too. The theater at Amman was built during the rule of Emperor Antonius Pius between 138 and 161 CE. The theater still stands today and receives a fair share of visitors.
Lying across the border between Jordan and Israel is the Dead Sea. In fact, the Dead Sea is a lake that has no fish in it due to its saltiness, and that is why the lake is called the Dead Sea. The view of the lake from its shores is a sight to behold while the Negev desert behind it is awe-inspiring.
Best known as Jordan’s main Christian settlement, Madaba is the country’s hidden gem offering a rare glimpse into the region’s Byzantine past. While not far from the buzz of Amman, Madaba is a world away with a sleepy Ottoman-era town center and traditional market making for a charmingly laid back atmosphere. However, the town’s main draw is undoubtedly the Byzantine mosaics that bedeck its many Orthodox churches. The most impressive of these mosaics is the dazzling map of the Holy Land found on the floor of Saint George’s Church. However, those at the Church of the Apostles and the nearby Mount Nebo, where Moses looked over the Promised Land, are equally enchanting.
The park was open for no other reason than to make archeological artifacts from the ancient times, especially from the Roman times, accessible to the public. Also, many beautiful Byzantine Mosaic floors are displayed in this park. Tourists who want to feast their eyes on many rare and fascinating relics from the Roman times are all welcome to take a tour of the place.
This hill is very popular for the part it played in history. According to the Bible, Moses was shown the Promised Land from the top of this hill and this same hill is said to be where he drew his last breath. Today, this site is popular among Christian pilgrims from all over the world, so it receives a good number of visitors who come touring every year.
Madaba is the home of the Mosaic Map that contains vivid details of hills, valleys, villages, and towns of Jerusalem on 2 million pieces of local stone. What makes this Mosaic Map exceptional is that there were not many intricately detailed maps in the time that the map was made.
Just north of the Jordanian capital, Jerash is a hidden gem where the history of the Roman Empire comes to life. Packed with monumental gates, ceremonial temples, colonnaded avenues and stepped theaters, Jerash is one of the world’s best-preserved Roman cities and receives far fewer visitors than Rome or Ephesus. The ruins cover a vast area and can easily fill a few days worth of exploring. However, the city’s real highlights are the enchanting Oval Plaza, complete with a temple and theater, the Sacred Way, which is lined by monumental columns, and the Temple of Artemis. Today, one of the city’s most thrilling attractions are the mock Roman chariot races held daily in the ancient hippodrome.
Because Jordan was ruled in the ancient times by the Romans, there are still many structures around today that were built in the time of Roman rule. Of all these buildings, the Roman Temple of the goddess Artemis is one of the most outstanding. A tour of this location presents you with an opportunity to check out some Roman artifacts.
This site makes for one of the most remarkable sights in the country. The Oval Plaza is actually a city square that is oval and it was built in the 2nd century AD with two altars in the middle before a fountain was added in the 7th century AD. This structure was later reinforced so that it would be able to hold the Jerash Festival Flame structure that now sits on it.
This Temple was raised in the 162nd century AD honoring the Greek god, Zeus. The unique thing about this temple is the tall columns of pillars that still remain standing till today. Although the temple mostly lies in ruins, there's still enough of the temple left to make it a nice and safe spot for tourists.
This arch was meant to be a southern entrance to the ancient city of Jerash but it was never completed. The arch was erected in 129th century AD to celebrate the visit of one of the most important personalities at the time, Emperor Hadrian. Today, the arch just mostly serves as a tourist attraction site, and it attracts quite a number of people yearly.