JORDAN   Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Jordan has everything you could wish for. It is an incredibly clean, beautiful and hospitable country which undoubtedly will be remembered for life. Here you can combine sleepy days at the beach with excursions into the country’s fascinating and mythical sites.

With Atlantis Tours you can see the country – the country that has a wonderful combination of ancient history, coral reefs, high mountain and the last right Bedouin tribes.

Petra was just named one of the world’s new seven wonders. The city that was tucked away for centuries has been one of the most visited destinations, and the tours into the temples through the colored crevices can take your breath away. Just south of the capital Amman, we find Bethany – which is the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

Here people come from near and far to let themselves be baptized in the holy place. Other Biblical sites like the Moses Mountain “Mount Nebo” has an incredible view over the Israel-country Moses never did get into. The world’s oldest mosaic map lies inside the small church in Madaba – a picturesque small village known for grape cultivation.


Culture, markets, and exciting dining experiences
In Jordan, you are right in middle of the the Arab culture, with bustling markets and fascinating sights. Something interesting for everyone. The Jordanian food is exceptionally good. A dinner often consists of small dishes for starters and grilled meat for the main course. Accompany happy dinner with a bottle of local wine.

After World War I and the end of the Ottoman Empire, Britain got a mandate to govern much of the Middle Eastern countries. Britain boasts the region of Trans Jordan – from Palestine in the early 1920's and this region gained independence in 1946. The land was renamed Jordan in 1950. King Hussein ruled the country from 1953 to 1999. He was a successful manager who steered away from the pressures of the other world nations and the Arab states. Despite several wars and coup attempts, he reintroduced in his 1989 parliamentary election and political liberalization. In 1994 he signed the peace agreement with Israel. His son King Abdallah II, took the throne after his father’s death in February 1999. Jordan was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. In November 2007, King Abdallah’s new prime minister instructed to focus on social reform, development of healthcare, military and educational system

Jordan’s capital city has a history stretching back to ancient times. High above the town towers  the ruins of the Hercules Chapel and the old citadel. Below is a magnificent Roman amphitheater that seats more than 5,000 spectators. Amman is a good base for a number of monumental honor in the immediate proximity of the capital – among others the many Arabian desert castles. Several of them were used as a hideout for the legendary Lawrence of Arabia.

Amman

A City that has been created out of white rocks, Amman has grown into the hundreds since its Trans Jordan in the early 1920's. But especially after 1948 and 1967 when Israel when hundreds of thousands Palestine immigrants came to Amman. A new wave of immigrants came when the Iraq war began, the Iraqis made major immigration to Amman.

Among history and beaches, you will also experience something you cannot experience anywhere else in the world: the world’s saltiest sea, situated 30 meters under sea level.

It is so salty that huge salt mountains have been formed for centuries – that glows white icebergs. Again back to history when one remembers Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt when she turned around to see Sodom and Gomorrah fall – these places are today under the sea.

Dead Sea

Dead Sea (Hebrew Yam Hamelach – ים המלח) is a lake at the Jordan river outlet located with approximately equal parts of Israel and Jordan. Dead Sea is known for its salty water, ca. 30% and is the lowest point on the globe.

Along the Jordan Valley on the east and west side is lake surrounded by mountains that reach up to 800 m. The mountains are made of numerous valleys, with some plant growth, but is otherwise deserted. The water in the lake has clear blue color, but it is a saturated salt solution so no organisms can live in it. The surface is currently approximately 410 meters below sea level, while the historical norm is 395 meters below sea level.

The Dead Sea area’s distinctive character have made it a destination for ordinary tourists, but also for health journeys. The salt water combined with high humidity, air temperature and solar radiation special influence 400 meters below sea level provides special conditions for treatment of psoriasis and other skin disorders, although the evidence for the efficacy of such a treatment is poor.

The sea is about 65 km long and 18 km at its widest. Only near-even with water flow throughout the year is the Jordan River. As a result of high consumption of water from the Jordan River is the evaporation of the Dead Sea is now greater than the water supply and the water table is therefore declining. At Peninsula al-Lisan was the lake until 1970 divided into a northern and a southern part. The southern part, which was very basic, is now beginning to dry out. It shall, as part of the extracted minerals from the sea and the need for recovery pools, supplied with water through channels from the northern main part.

The lowering that the Dead Sea is located in, continues north towards the foot of the Hermon Mountains on the border between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Southward it continues into the Red Sea and extends further inland in eastern Africa. There is a sunken strip of the crust, between two fracture lines. Old shorelines in the Jordan Valley shows that the water has been standing more than 435 meters above the Dead Sea current water table.

Petra

The stunning rosy-red ruins of the city of Petra, which for more than 2000 years ago was carved out of the only mountain, is an outstanding experience.

Nabateans chose rock caves as a safe haven that was easy to defend because there was only one entrance through a narrow crevice. You go through the mighty mountain fissure that marks the entrance to the city, and suddenly you find yourself standing in front of the vast treasury with the imposing facade that rises 50 meters high.

Everywhere in Petra you are surrounded by beautiful portals, palaces and an amphitheaters which are carved out of the porous sandstone cliffs, as the sun gets to glow in colors of golden and red.

The huge, red mountains and the gigantic mausoleum has nothing in common with our modern civilization and asks nothing but to be respected – they are, after all, one of the world wonders built by man. Although much has been written about Petra, nothing can prepare you for this magnificent sight.

Earlier Petra was often described as the 8th original world wonders, but after the new award, the city was even written among the world’s new seven wonders. It is Jordan’s main tourist attraction, carved straight from the rock wall, built by the Nabateans, Arabs settled here more than 2,000 years ago and made the place into an important review of trade, and items such as silk, spices and other values associated with China, India and South Asia together with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.

The entrance to the city goes through the Siq, a narrow passage -over 1 km long surrounded by 80 meter high mountain. Just going through this passage is a unique experience in itself. The colors and formations of the mountains yesterday in yellow, red and black color scheme. When you have come through the Siq, you will slowly see the”Al Khazneh” (Treasury) as a revelation. A massive facade, 30 m wide and 43 m high, carved directly out of the pink colored jagged rock wall – to be used as a burial of one of the important Nabataeer kings, while showing an incredible artistic hand, architecture and planning from the ancient ancestors.

Petra was an ancient city which was the Nabateans’ capital and center of caravan trade. Recent excavations have shown that it was the residents’ ability to control the water supply that led to the desert city could occur by creating an artificial oasis.The city ruins are today in Jordan, about midway between the Dead Sea and Aqaba Gulf, near Wadi al-Arab. The city is located in a narrow valley surrounded by sandstone cliffs; access to the city is through a 2 km long and several places very narrow gorge. It is famous for houses that’s been cut out directly from the mountains and huge rocks. In a global poll that ended on 6 July 2007, the site was chosen as one of the modern marvels.

Aqaba

By the coast of Jordan, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, lies Aqaba – a modern city with an impressive history. Aqaba’s warm waters and Jordan’s mild climate contribute to a perfect holiday. Here you will find beach clubs with all conceivable facilities. Soak up the sun in a hammock, snorkel, or try water skiing! The small local town is a wonderful break from everyday life, and has a nice special village feel.

A little further south is the completely newly built tourist resort of Tala Bay. The resort offer great opportunities for snorkeling and relaxing days on the beautiful beach. Combined with the excursions to historic sites like the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and the fascinating Petra, your holiday is sure to be an unforgettable memory.

In the pleasant resort of Aqaba you can experience the Jordanian daily lives at close range. Walk in the atmospheric streets amongst shops and markets where you can buy souvenirs, jewelry and clothing. Along the seafront is a wealth of outdoor restaurants where tourists and locals gather to drink sweet coffee, smoke a water pipe and enjoy the view of Aqaba bukten.

With its crystalline waters and its glorious sandy beaches, Aqaba is an ideal vacation spot for both relaxation and activities of all kinds. Water skiing, paragliding and jet skiing are just some of the many sports you can practice here. Aqaba is known for its well-preserved coral reefs and unique marine life, and diving conditions here are soft and romantic. You can either dive directly from the beach or join a boat out in Aqaba Bay.

Tala Bay is an exclusive new beach resort located about 14 kilometers south of Aqaba city. The architecture is beautiful with clean lines and bright colors, and in the stylish marina encourages a restful atmosphere. Here there are shops and cafes where you can sit in the gardens and watch the street life and all the beautiful boats lying in the harbor.

Tala Bay has a beach that stretches for two kilometers along the coast, and here you will find deck chairs, umbrellas and a variety of water sports. You can also swim in the magnificent hotel pools or at Tala Bay Beach Club.

The city Petra is one of the most magnificent places you can visit, and has recently been appointed as one of the seven modern wonders. The town was built sometime in the 700s by the Arab nomad people Nabataea. Petra soon became a strategic place for trade caravans between the Mediterranean and Arabia.

A kilometer long ravine leads to this wonderful city, which consists of temples, tombs, columns and monumental stairs. The result is fascinating and place spirits of a peculiar mystery. The impressive Al-Khaznah – the largest tomb – carved out of the red rock wall and rises majestically over the thousands of tourists who visit Petra each year.

 

Jerash

Jerash is a 45 minute drive from Amman, and is one of the best preserved Roman cities. It has a large theater, Hadrian’s triumphal arch, (made to Emperor Hadrian’s visit in winter 129-130), temples, beautiful columns, fountains, a large space and a long street crowned by columns and shops. It is very beautiful. Since 1920, British archaeologists working to restore it. It was built up on a Hellenistic city with a Zeus temple, it is known from a number of excavated coins.The ancient city of Jerash boasts a whole chain of human occupation dating as far back as 6500 year.

Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly woodland and lush pools. Defeated by General Pompey in 63 BCE, it came under Roman rules and was one of ten major Roman cities, the Decapolis League. The city’s golden time came under Rome, during which it was known as Jerash and the city is now known to be one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world. The city was hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the last 70 years. Jerash is emerging as a great example of the Romanesque urbanism that is found all over the Middle East.

Wadi Rum

Between its external Graeco – Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a fine blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process between two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted, the Graeco – Romanesque world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient. The modern city of Jerash can be found east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, the careful preservation and planning made the city evolve away from the ruins, so there is no change in the old side of town.

Wadi Rum is the place where one can find the last original Bedouins in the world. Wadi Rum, with its red sand and rock carvings from 4000 B.C. to the current graffiti. It has been a settlement of the Paleolithic and Neolithic times. They have found stone axes. It was here that Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.

Wadi Rum, which is a bit more to the south than Petra, is a fantastic desert area around the Bedouin village of Rum (wadi means dry riverbed). The landscape consisting of sand and stone, has been involved in several of the scenes in the blockbuster movie Lawrence of Arabia. And for experience’s sake, one should treat themselves to spend the night under the open sky, so you get to experience the sunset, the starry night,  and the sunrise.

Did you know that Petra in Jordan was the site of the first filming of Indiana Jones in The Last Crusader in 1989 with Sean Connerey and Harrison Ford?

And then you have the legendary “Lawrence of Arabia” with Peter O. Toole, Alec Guiness and Omar Sharif, a film which is filmed only in Wadi Rum. The desert of Wadi Rum is an experience in itself.

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