12 Giornis | 11 Nottis
Ahlan Wa Sahlan - Welcome to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan! Our representative meets you with a signage before the immigration and assists you with the procedure. After you collect the luggage and pass the customs, the representative matches you with your driver. The ride to the hotel in Amman takes around 50 minutes. Check-in, rest of the day at leisure.
A tour of several hours along a scenic route lies ahead of you. Your driver takes you to Mt Nebo. From here overlook the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea and parts of the Holy Land. According to the Bible this is the place where Moses was granted to see the Promised Land before he died and alleged to be his burial place. Short ride to Madaba, the town known in Jordan as the “City of Mosaic”. See the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St. George’s Church as well as the other mosaics in the Archaeological Park. Travel along the famous ancient caravan route of the King’s Way. Short photo stop in Wadi Al Mujib, a great wide valley with magnificent geological formation, identical with the Arnon River of the Hebrew Bible. Then to the remains of the Crusader castle Kerak. Explore the underground passageways, enjoy the view and imagine how the forces of Salah ad-Din besieged this stronghold several times. Afterwards, drive 2 hours to your hotel in Petra for check-in and a leisurely evening.
Today visit Petra, the spectacular rose rock city, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Prepare yourself for walking over uneven terrain. Petra is the biggest attraction of Jordan and was first established around the 6th century B.C. by the Nabatean Arabs, a nomadic tribe who settled in the area and laid the foundation of a commercial empire that extended into Syria. Start with a walk to the canyon, the so-called Siq, at its end you see the most beautiful monument, the Treasury. The building rises over 40 meters, and is carved into the sandstone like most of Petra’s architecture. Continue via the Street of Facades, passing by the Theatre to the Royal Tombs. Your guide says farewell. Free time to uncover Petra on your own, climb for example the 800 stairs to the impressive Monastery El Deir. Return along the same trail to the main entrance. From here the journey takes us 1.5 hours to Wadi Rum. Check into your campsite, where dinner and the desert night with a hopefully starry sky awaits you.
Wadi Rum has been inhabited since prehistoric times and this dramatic desert is Jordan’s largest wadi. Hop in a 4x4 and with your Bedouin driver uncover more of the vast desert. The rugged landscape, the changing colours of sands and mountains, the serene atmosphere will make you understand why Wadi Rum is one of the most impressive desert landscapes in the world. The setting had been used for Hollywood movies. You see canyons, red sand dunes, Nabataean rock inscriptions and a natural rock bridge formed over centuries. A long-distance drive of four hours lies ahead of you, taking you to your hotel in Amman.
Pickup from Amman hotel lobby and drive about 80 km to the border to cross into Syria. We continue to the town Bosra, once the capital of the Roman province Arabia Petraea. Bosra is well know for the well preserved Roman Theatre, built with black basalt and offering space for up to 17,000 spectators. From here we continue 1.5 hours to Damascus, the capital of Syria. As an introduction to Syria visit the National Museum in Damascus with displays from the Hellenistic, Roman an Byzantine period. Highlights are a fragment of the oldest known alphabet in the world, found at Ugarit, and a 3rd century synagogue from Dura Europos. Overnight Damascus Hotel.
You explore the old city with its historical places and atmosphere on a walking tour. Along the Via Recta, the Straight Street, we make our way to the Christian Quarter of Bab Touma. Chapel of St Ananias built in the first century, where Ananaias baptized Saul. And pass by the Church of St Paul, where Paul escaped the city by being lowered out of a window in a basket. We visit the Azem Palace, built in the 18th century as example or Damascene architecture, and housing now the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions. We walk through the beautiful Al Hamidiyah Souq ending at the impressive Umayyad Mosque built in the 8th century and housing the tomb of Salah ad-Din. The mosque is distinguished by its prayer room, its courtyard and its walls covered with mosaics. Overnight at hotel in Damascus.
Check out of the hotel and travel to the Anti Lebanon Mountains where the Christian villages Maaloula and Seidnaya can be found, where the Aramaic language is still spoken. In Seidnaya we see a monastery and the pilgrimage place Lady of Seidnaya, a chapel with icons of Virgin Mary, founded by Justinian I. Not far away is the mountain town of Maaloula. We visit here the important monasteries St. Tekla and St. Sergius from the 4th century. Proceed to the city of Homs, where you’ll spend 2 nights.
Today we hit the road for about 2 hours to Palmyra, also known as Tadmor. Built close to an oasis, the caravan trade made it possible, to become an important city and trading post along the Silk Road. The city was also a cultural centre, and the area was ruled by the famous Queen Zenobia in the 3rd century. During the recent war many remains of the ancient city had been destroyed. You see today the ruins of the Bel Temple, once the centre of religious life, the Colonnaded Street, the Theater, the Agora and the Valley of Tombs. Return to your hotel in Homs.
Drive 50 km to the city of Hama to see the Norias at the Orontes River. Norias are large, wooden wheels and an important part of an old irrigation system to deliver water to the fields. Then we continue to the well preserved Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers. It was expanded by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271 to the largest fortress in the region. At times it accommodated 2,000 men. After your visit, we drive 2.5 hours to Damascus, check into your hotel.
Leaving Damascus, we drive back to Jordan and continue to Roman ruins of Jerash. Set in the hills of Gilead, Jerash is the best example of a Roman provincial city in the Middle East. Your local English speaking guide will give you a historical insight while showing you around. See the Hippodrome, the spectacular Forum, Roman colonnaded street, the Nymphaeum, the Temple of Artemis and the North Theatre. If time permits, stroll around the remains on your own. Overnight Dead Sea hotel.
Carefree day to enjoy the Dead Sea and your hotel amenities. The Dead Sea is a superlative as the lowest point on earth and a natural wonder. The area is characterized by high temperatures, oxygen rich air and high atmospheric pressure weakening UV rays. Take a bath in the salty waters with the obligatory photo of floating with a newspaper in your hand, cover your body with the dark, mineral-rich mud from the shores and don’t miss watching the sunset. If you plan on any spa treatment, it is recommended to book with your hotel in advance.
At a prearranged time, we pick you up from your hotel lobby. The drive to Amman Airport takes about an hour. Say farewell to Jordan - Ma’a Salamah!