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Today’s trip along the most picturesque ancient caravan route will not leave anyone indifferent.
King’s Highway in Jordan is of immense historical and religious significance to the entire region.
Over the past 3 thousand years, the Israelites used this road to the Promised Land, the Nabataeans walked on it from Petra and back, Christian pilgrims walked along this road to the Moses Memorial on Mount Nebo, the Crusaders headed to their fortified castles, and the Muslims went to Holy Mecca.
Sandwiched between desert and large breaks in the earth’s crust, these ancient lands are cut by numerous deep gorges that hide the most unexpected Jordanian landscapes.
Along the entire length of this road, there are numerous testimonies to the ancient history of the region, from colorful villages to the marvelous city of Petra, from Crusader castles to Roman forts, from biblical shrines to sand-covered Nabatean temples.
On the way to Petra we will stop at Mount Nebo, where the prophet Moses found his last haven. Then we will visit the town of Madaba, famous for its Orthodox Church, the floor of which is covered with a mosaic map of the 6th century AD. Next, we will stop at the Dana Conservation Area and enjoy its timeless peace and the splendor of the red and white hills of the Wadi Dana Valley.
Having gained strength, we will continue our journey to the famous ancient castle of Jordan, towering in the middle of the desert – Shobak Castle, which in the early Middle Ages was called “Montreal”.
Many centuries have passed, but the Shobak Сastle continues to delight travelers to this day. It is difficult to take your eyes off this greatness, the power of its huge, though half destroyed gate, as well as the triple stone wall amaze the imagination.
Despite its powerful fortifications, seventy-five years after its construction, the castle fell under the attack of the troops of the famous Saladin. Since that time, according to tradition, the walls of the Shobak Сastle began to be covered with inscriptions with the names of its owners and rulers, which have been perfectly preserved to our time.
Our day ends at the Petra hotel, where you will spend the night before visiting the ancient city of Petra the next morning.
Amman, 08.00 AM
We will pick you up from your hotel or residence in Amman and start our trip to Madaba to visit the Church of Saint George, where you will see the most ancient map of the Holy Land.
Created by Byzantine craftsmen in the 6th century, it was rediscovered in 1894 with the construction of a modern church on the site of an older one, belonging to the reign of the dynasty of Justinian I the Great.
In the center of the map is a schematic representation of Jerusalem, where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the numerous city gates and the Nile delta stand out.
Arrival to Mount Nebo, from the top of which God showed the Prophet Moses the Promised Land. And this is not surprising – the view here is really magnificent, because this picturesque mountain is located at an altitude of more than eight hundred meters above sea level!
An unprecedented comfort and tranquility reign in this amazing place, from where on a clear day you can see the panorama of the Holy Land that once opened to Moses – the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, Jericho and the distant shine of Jerusalem temples.
A short stop to enjoy windswept sandstone cliffs of Dana Biosphere Reserve located at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level and descending into the lowlands of the Wadi Araba desert zone.
Dana’s diverse geology includes limestone, sandstone and granite. Dana is the only nature reserve in Jordan crossing four biogeographic zones: Mediterranean, Iranian-Turonian, Sahara-Arabian and Sudanese.
In these different zones, there are 13 different types of vegetation with corresponding representatives of flora and fauna. This combination of natural communities in one area of Jordan is unique, because many of the animals and plants of the Dana Biosphere Reserve are very rare in nature.
During the First Crusade in 1099, Jerusalem was captured and the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem was founded, stretching from Beirut in the north to the Red Sea in the south and from the Mediterranean coast in the west to the Arabian deserts in the east.
The first stronghold of the crusaders east of the Dead Sea was the castle of Mont Real – “King’s Hill”, which later received the Arabic name Shobak.
The castle had a convenient strategic position and it controlled the pilgrimage and trade routes from Palestine and Syria to the main Muslim shrines – Mecca and Medina and collected taxes from the non-stop flow of passing pilgrims and merchants, providing itself with huge income.
75 years after its construction, the fortress was conquered by the Ayyubid ruler Saladin (Salah ad-Din) and the castle gradually began to collapse and lost its significance.
Later, in the XIV century, the castle was captured by the Mamluks. Ottoman rule of this area was contested by sheikhs until the end of the 19th century, and several local families lived in the fortress until 1950.
On the sixth day, board our 4×4 Jeep and let’s take a journey through the world’s most impressive desert landscape, timeless and untouched by civilization – Wadi Rum.
During our 3-hour tour of this amazing place, timeless and untouched by civilization, we will stop at the unique arches and canyons formed as a result of the influence of the scorching sun and restless winds.
It is equally interesting for both rock climbers and ordinary tourists keen on history and geography.
Some of the rock paintings on the territory of the Wadi Rum reserve are more than four thousand years old and since 2011 the Wadi Rum desert has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
At the end of this last leg of our journey, we drive to a hotel in Amman to fully relax before returning home.
At Petra Visitor Center you will meet your guide who will spend 2 hours with you explaining history of Petra and answering any questions you may have.
Petra is famous for its unique architecture, which has absorbed many motifs from Greco-Roman and Byzantine traditions. This is not surprising, because the lands of Jordan at different times belonged to the Greek Diadochi, like Chersoneses, to Rome, and Byzantium – although they were often subordinate only formally.
Most of all, this city is associated with the civilization of the Nabateans, the ancient people of the Semitic root that once lived in these places. It was the Nabateans who left Petra in the shape that it can be seen now, but the city was founded much earlier, when these lands were part of the ancient kingdom of Edom.
The admiration begins with the first steps to Siq, a gorge that is a narrow, winding canyon. We will have a walking course of more than 1 km under the eternal guards of the lost city – sheer cliffs rushing upward, almost closing over our heads and only a blue strip of sky does not allow to break off the connection with the real world. In some places the gorge is so narrow that the horse-drawn carriage can hardly pass, and in some places it reaches a width of 3 meters.
When leaving the gorge, your gaze will see the perfectly preserved Al-Khazneh temple – a monumental structure carved out of a huge rock. The stone of the temple can change its color from sunny orange to deep dark red, depending on the light and time of day. At Al-Khazneh, your guide will say goodbye to you and you will continue your walk through the ruins of residential buildings, administrative buildings and the ancient theater that make up the central street of Petra. You need to return to the visitor center along the same route. We will have lunch at a local restaurant and return to Amman.
You need to return to the visitor center along the same route. We will have lunch at a local restaurant and return to Amman.