Jordan River of John
The longest river in Jordan stretches from north to south over 320 km. In addition to its geographical location on the border with Israel, the Jordan River tells an important story. The Jordan Valley was the first fertile area the people of Israel saw as they wandered through the desert. The baptismal site where John baptized Jesus is now referred to as the baptismal site of Jesus and numerous excursions lead there. In addition to the baptismal site, ancient remains and references to the prophet Elijah can still be seen. Caves and churches bear witness to the biblical past.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Jordan, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
The royal road
The historic King’s Road runs north-south along the Jordan River and is a route mentioned in the Old Testament. From Amman we head towards Madaba, the Mosaic City, and further south to Mount Nebo. This is where Moses is said to have seen the promised land for the first time. Stone blocks and pieces of mosaic have been preserved from the pilgrimage church. South of it is the fortress of Machaerus, where John was imprisoned. After 30 km you pass the town of Umm er-Rasas, where you can see relics from Byzantine and Islamic times. A highlight is the mosaic floor in the St. Stefan Church. The Royal Route reveals the beauty of rural Jordan, passing the crusader castle of Kerak and the rock city of Petra.
Mosaic city of Madaba
The city south of Amman became world famous when a huge mosaic was found. The map of Palestine from the year 565 can be seen at a length of 25×5 m in the church of St. George. The archaeological park and museum complex is also home to numerous outstanding mosaics from the Church of the Virgin Mary. Nearby is the Madabas Mosaic School, the only one of its kind in the Middle East.
In Jordan, many smaller dishes are eaten together in private settings from the bowls in which they are served. If you want, you can also use your own plate. The meal consists of vegetables such as chickpeas, beans and eggplant and is paired with grilled meat and fish. The national dish of the Bedouins, mansaf, is not to be missed. Rice is mixed with nuts and fruit on a huge plate and eaten with mutton and yoghurt. The guest is served the national schnapps Arak, an aniseed schnapps. After the meal, it’s easy to chat with the locals over a cup of tea.
Desert Castle Qasr Amra
East of Amman is the desert castle of Qasr Amra, which is more like a castle. The property, which is impressive and set in the middle of the desert, consists of a Roman-style bath house, audience hall, vaulted ceilings and wall paintings. The well-preserved building from 700 AD has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. The numerous frescoes show people and animals in everyday life and depict hunting scenes. Outside there is a fountain. Qasr Amra is a good base for visiting the desert castles of Qasr Kharaneh and Al Azraq.
The city on the old royal road in central Jordan can be recognized from afar by its castle. You can almost hear the pounding of hooves when you see the imposing Crusader Castle enthroned at 900 m. The cityscape of Kerak is characterized by restored buildings from the 19th century. The fortress has already been mentioned in historical writings. Armed with a flashlight, many corridors and tunnels can be easily explored. In the evening, the fortress shines in a light show.
Dana Nature Reserve
In the Dana nature reserve, in central Jordan, you can observe wild ibexes and discover countless small animals in sand and stone crevices. At first glance, the 300 km² area presents itself as a rocky desert. A chain of valleys and mountains up to the Jordan lowlands offers an unexpectedly rich flora and fauna. Many hikers and nature lovers are fascinated by the rugged beauty of the mountains and the original villages.
Azraq and Shawmari Nature Reserve
The protected wetland in the dry east is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Jordan. Many migratory birds rest in the flooded marshlands of Qa’al-Azraq and some winter in the swamplands. Natural ponds as well as ponds created a long time ago offer optimal conditions. A colorful picture is presented, especially in spring, when lush green and thousands of wild flowers sprout. The Shawmari Game Reserve is adjacent to the wetland and is a breeding center for endangered wildlife. One can see herds of white antelope, ostriches and desert gazelles.
During the excavations between Amman and Madaba, impressive Byzantine church mosaics were discovered in the settlement of Umm ar-Rasas. They are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. A large mosaic carpet shows depictions of Old and New Testament cities along the Jordan. Worth seeing is the 15 m high tower in Umm ar-Rasas. It served monks as a place of retreat in early Christian times. Also of note are the ancient mosaics in St Stephen’s Church, showing cityscapes of Palestine, Egypt and Jordan.
Ma’in Hot Springs
Above the Dead Sea one occasionally encounters small watercourses that run sulphurous over the rocks. The hissing and the steam reveal that the water inside the earth is being heated – namely up to 60 degrees Celsius. If you follow the watercourses – there are about 60 of them below the surface – they emerge as hot springs to varying degrees. The best known and commercially used is the Hammamat Ma’in spring. The beneficial springs attract numerous visitors and locals every year.
In the middle of Jordan’s desert landscape, near the Dead Sea and the town of Mukawir, rises the small mountain Machaerus. According to historical records, Herod executed John the Baptist here. You can still see some ancient columns and the wonderful panoramic view with the color nuances of the desert is impressive. Less frequented by tourists, you can enjoy the space and tranquility in this historic area.