Calling all culture junkies, history buffs, and archeology enthusiasts: Jordan is your dream destination. Everywhere you travel, you’ll encounter places that keep the past alive and have fascinating tales to tell. These include Iron Age walled cities, Byzantine towers where Christian monks reside, and a chain of ancient castles that once passed along as far as Cairo, Egypt.

 The most striking example of Jordan’s importance in our collective cultural heritage is the ancient city of Petra. It was there, 2,000 years ago, that Arab traders settled to take advantage of a prime intersection on the silk and spice routes linking China and India with Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Rome.

Petra’s dusty pink rocks still display remarkably preserved examples of Jordan’s earliest inhabitants, from a tomb built for a 1st century king to a fort constructed by 12th-century crusaders. Greek, Roman, Jewish, Muslim, Bedouin, and Ottoman groups have all passed through Jordan, leaving enduring influences on its character.

 Consider that in the cosmopolitan capital of Amman you can visit the Roman Theater, the Temple of Hercules, and the Ottoman-style Grand Husseini Mosque, rebuilt on the site of a mosque dating to 640 AD. You can also stroll through the open-air museum that is the Citadel National Historic Site, exploring tombs and fortifications of biblical proportions. And the Jordan Archeological Museum displays artifacts dating from prehistoric times through the 15th century.

 From Amman, it’s an easy side trip to Iraq Al Amir, where pre-Roman architecture stands amid a peaceful, pastoral landscape dotted with silver-leafed olive trees. Another worthy excursion takes you south along the 5,000-kilometer Kings Highway to Madaba (“the City of Mosaics”) to admire the spectacular 6th-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the surrounding Holy Land.

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The Greco-Roman northern city of Jerash has been continuously inhabited for more than 6,500 years and is widely considered one of the world’s best-preserved Roman provincial towns. Take some time to wander the colonnaded streets and public squares, imagining life as it once was. In the surrounding hills, Ajloun Castle (est. 1184) offers a fine lesson in Islamic fortress architecture. 

It’s all part of the timeless appeal of visiting Jordan. Discover more of Jordan with Sunny Land Tours and learn about special offers here.