Ayla Church & Fort
As the major Red Sea resort, modern Aqaba sprawls along the coast here. Down in the old port, however, several important historic sites are all located close to each other, waiting to be explored. The Ayla Church, now modest mud-brick ruins, dates from the 3rd or 4th century and is believed to be the oldest building in the world constructed to serve as a church. Damaged in World War I, Aqaba's 14th-century fort has a museum (with inconsistent hours) that displays ceramics, coins and other artifacts and was, at one point, the home of Al-Hussein bin Ali, founder of Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty and the present king's great-great-grandfather.
By John Oseid
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