Day 1 Amman Airport – Amman Hotel (+/- 40km)
Meet & Assist upon arrival at the gate of the flight, finish the formalities, luggage pick up and transfer to Amman Hotel for overnight.
Day 2 Amman – Salt – Amman (+/- 35km)
The ancient town As-Salt was once the most important settlement in the area between the Jordan Valley and the eastern desert. Because of its history as an important trading link between the eastern desert and the west, it was a significant place for the region’s many rulers. The Romans, Byzantines and Mamluk all contributed to the growth of the town but it was at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, during Ottoman rule, when As-Salt enjoyed its most prosperous period. It was at that time that the Ottomans established a regional administrative base in As-Salt and encouraged settlement from other parts of their empire. As the town’s status increased, many merchants arrived and, with their newly acquired wealth, built the fine houses that can still be admired in As-Salt today. These splendid yellow sandstone buildings incorporate a variety of local and European styles. Typically, they have domed roofs, interior courtyards and tall, arched windows. Perhaps the most beautiful is the Abu Jaber mansion, built between 1892 and 1906, which has frescoed ceilings, painted by Italian artists, and is reputed to be the finest example of a 19th century merchant house in the region.
Day 3 Amman – Jerash – Anjar – Mar Elias – Amman (+/- 200km)
The ancient city of Jerash boasts as unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6 500 years. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal, provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
Ajlun Castle (Qal’at Ar-Rabad) was built by Saladin’s general in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajlun, and to counter the progress of the Crusaders by dominating the three main routes leading to the Jordan valley and protecting the communication routes between Jordan and Syria. A fine example of Islamic architecture, the fortress dominates a wide stretch of the northern Jordan Valley.
Close to Ajlun is Anjar, the town where Jesus Christ, his mother Mary and his disciples passed through and rested in a nearby cave now commemorated with the church of Our Lady of the Mountain.
Just west of Ajlun is Tall Mar Elias, the site where the prophet Elijah is believed to have ascended to Heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire. Both Tall Mar Elias and Anjara are Millenium 2000 Pilgrimage sites designated by the Vatican
Day 4 Amman – Pella – Um Qays – Amman (+/- 180km)
Amman to Pella: Pella is a favorite of archaeologists as it is exceptionally rich in antiquities. Besides the excavated ruins from the Graeco- Roman period, including an Odeon (theatre), Pella offers visitors the opportunity to see the remains of a Chalcolithic settlement from the 4th millennium BC, the remains of Bronze and Iron Age walled cities, Byzantine churches and houses, an Early Islamic residential quarter, and a small medieval mosque. Pella boasts many interesting sites, many of them still under excavation. Important are the 6th century West Church, 6th century Civic Complex Church, 1st century Odeon, Roman Nymphaeum and East Church.
Site of the famous miracle of the Gadarene swine, Gadara (known today as Umm Qays) was renowned in its time as a cultural centre. It was the home of several classical poets and philosophers, including Theodorus, founder of a rhetorical school in Rome; one poet called the city “a new Athens”.
Perched on a splendid hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, Umm Qays boasts an impressive colonnaded terrace and the ruins of two theatres. Take in the sights and then dine on the magnificent terrace of a fine restaurant with a breathtaking view of three countries
Day 5 Amman – Madaba – Mount Nebo – Um Arrasas – Kerak – Petra (+/- 280km)
Amman to Petra: Visit Madaba and the Basilica of St. George. In the floor of the church is the remarkable 6th century mosaic map – its two million pieces of coloured stone depicting the hills, valleys and towns of the Holy Land.
Travel on to Mount Nebo, 800m above sea level, where you can stand on the site where Moses looked out over the “Promised Land”.
The Old and New Testaments mention it, the Romans fortified it, and the local Christians were still embellishing it with Byzantine-style mosaics well over one hundred years after the beginning of Muslim rule: Kastron Mefaa, modern Umm Ar- Rasas, has a long history. The rectangular walled city is mostly in ruins but still boasts several buildings, four churches and some beautiful stone arches. The main attraction is outside the city walls within the Church of St. Stephen, which contains a very large, perfectly preserved mosaic floor laid down in 718 AD. It portrays fifteen major cities of the Holy Land from both east and west of the River Jordan. This magnificent mosaic is second only to Madaba’s world famous mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Less than 2km north of the fortified town, the highest standing ancient tower of Jordan puzzles the specialists: a 15 metre high, square tower with no door or inner staircase, now inhabited by birds. South of Madaba, in the town of Dhiban, a road leading east takes you to the site. Alternatively, you can leave Amman on the Desert Highway passing Qastal and Jiza and turn west, and then visit the best preserved crusader castle in Jordan - Karak. Arrive at Petra, check in and overnight.
Day 6: Petra Visit (+/- 0km)
Petra: Take a fascinating tour to admire the natural beauty and breathtaking architecture of this ancient city. Walk through the Siq, a colourful narrow gorge over a kilometre long which leads to the magnificent Treasury. See royal tombs, the Roman-style theatre, beautiful temples and museums. Take an optional walk to the monastery or the high place of sacrifice. Often described as the eighth wonder of the ancient world, it is without doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and the greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab civilization who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India, and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Rome. The Nabataean Kingdom existed for centuries, and Petra became widely admired for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels. Ultimately, however, the Roman Emperor Trajan annexed the Kingdom. By the 14th century, Petra was completely lost to the West, and so it remained for almost 300 years. Then in 1812, a Swiss traveler, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt persuaded his guide to take him to the site of the rumored lost city. Secretly making notes and sketches, he wrote, “It seems very probable that the ruins at Wadi Musa are those of the ancient Petra.”
Day 7 Petra – Dead Sea – Bethany – Makawir – Amman (+/- 230km)
Petra transfer to The Jordan Valley which has profound meaning for religious travelers. The area opposite Jericho has been identified for nearly two millennia as the area where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. Stunning archaeological discoveries between the Jordan River and Tell Al-Kharrar since 1996 have identified this area as biblical ‘Bethany Beyond the Jordan’, where John was living when he baptized Jesus. Two thousand years later, people from all over the world still come to this site to be baptized. The late Pope John Paul II also visited the site as part of his spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the start of the new millennium. Tell Al-Kharrar (St. Elijah’s Hill), is reminiscent of the Prophet Elijah. It is from this hill that he ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire. Within an hour’s drive from Madaba along the picturesque Kings’ Highway, is Mukawir, the hilltop stronghold of Herod the Great. Upon Herod’s death, his son Herod Antipas inherited the fortress and it is from here that he ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded after Salome’s fateful dance of the seven veils. Mukawir is an hour away and about 45km, away from Madaba on the Kings’ Highway. Arrive at Amman hotel for dinner and overnight
Day 8 Amman Hotel – Amman Queen Alia Airport (+/- 45km)
After breakfast, assisted transfer to Queen Alia Airport for departure.