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Travel Back in Time Through Jordan

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Sep 21, 2020

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Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Ancient ruins and a welcoming culture combine for a journey like no other.

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This itinerary is part of Travel Tales, a series of life-changing adventures on afar.com. Read more stories of transformative trips and inspired itineraries on the Travel Tales home page. Though COVID-19 has stalled many travel plans, we hope our stories can offer inspiration for your future adventures—and a bit of hope.

Packed with archaeological ruins and cultural treasures, a visit to Jordan offers an unparalleled window to the ancient past, anchored by the modern city of Amman. As you explore the remnants of long-ago empires, you’ll meet the famously welcoming locals and learn how Muslims and Christians, and mosques and churches, coexist and thrive—and enjoy some delicious cuisine.

The Tea Lounge at the St. Regis Amman

Arrive in Amman

Find inspiration for your journey amid the bright and airy luxury of The St. Regis Amman. The 258 rooms and suites serve up dazzling city views from floor-to-ceiling windows, and an extensive collection of local art brings even more regional flavor inside. Discover culinary inspiration as well, by sampling classic Jordanian flavors at Tamara, where seafood and organic produce form the basis of sophisticated dishes.

Begin your exploration of the capital city at its most famous site, the massive Roman Theater, which dates to the first century C.E. and is still used today. Continue to the Amman Citadel, a walled fortress perched on the city’s tallest hill, where you can wander through ruins and trace the history of empires that have ruled in centuries past.

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Stroll buzzing Rainbow Street, checking out its funky cafes and shops, and have lunch at the popular Hashem—a city institution serving up some of Amman’s best street food 24/7. (Don’t miss the fuul—stewed fava bean dip.) Properly fueled up, dive into 10,000 years of the country’s history at the Jordan Museum.

Amman, Jordan

Go North

Two hours north of Amman, you’ll find a rich collection of ruins at Pella. Travel back to the Bronze and Iron ages and check out the remnants of Byzantine churches, a theater, and a public fountain. Wander among the crumbled columns and mosaic floors, imagining what life must have been like…and what else may lie underneath. And don’t forget to look up: The views here stretch all the way to Jerusalem.

You’ll also find great views 40 minutes away at Umm Qais. Spy the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights while you peruse still-intact ruins and stone houses from the Ottoman era. Then enjoy a meal at the Umm Qais Resthouse, set in an old school and surrounded by ruins as well as spectacular mountain views.

The Petra Marriott

Go South

Three hours south of Amman is iconic Petra, home to ancient tombs and intricate structures carved into soaring sandstone faces. Here you’ll stay at the Petra Marriott Hotel, set atop a steep slope with dramatic views of the craggy peaks of the Petra Valley. Take in the sight from almost all the rooms, as well as from the pool and while sampling scrumptious Arabic food at Hala Hala Restaurant.

Monastery, Petra, Jordan

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Then explore the stunning creations of past eras. Walk the narrow, snaking canyon and prepare to be awed as it opens up to reveal the iconic Treasury temple. Continue on to the Street of Facades to see 2,000-year-old homes and tombs built into the sandstone. Then climb the steps to witness the intricate Monastery, before returning to your hotel and reveling once more in the view out over gorgeous Petra Valley.

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