What to Expect
Day 1: Queen Alia International Airport (+/- 40 km)
Your guide awaits your arrival in Jordan and will be happy to help with any arrival formalities. Afterwards, head to your hotel in Amman, where you'll spend the night.
Day 2: Amman - As-Salt - Amman
Once the most significant settlement between the Jordan Valley and the eastern desert and a center of trade between the West and the desert, As-Salt has a very unique history. It was important to both the region and its rulers.
The Romans, Byzantines and Mamelucks all contributed significantly to the city's growth, but it truly flourished under Ottoman rule in the late 19th to early 20th century. The Ottomans established As-Salt as a regional commercial city, and merchants flocked to this area with their newfound wealth, building beautiful homes that can still be admired today. These gorgeous yellow sandstone buildings drew inspiration from a number of European styles with their domed roofs, inner courtyards and high, vaulted windows.
Perhaps the most lovely of all the houses is that of Abu Jaber, built between 1892 and 1906. See the frescoes painted on the ceiling and how it was known as the most beautiful department store in the region in the 19th century.
Day 3: Amman - Jerash - Anjar - Mar Elias - Amman (+/- 200 km)
The ancient city of Jerash has been settled by people for over 6,500 years, with its golden age occurring under Roman rule. Today, the site is regarded as one of the best preserved Roman settlement in the world. Hidden under the sands for centuries, in the last 70 years it has been excavated and faithfully restored.
In Jerash, see the way life took place in the cities of the Roman provinces found all over the Middle East. Admire the impressive columns, rolling hills, temples, theaters, spacious squares, baths, fountains and a momentous city wall with towers and gates.
Enjoy the exciting expanse of the pine woods of the Dibeen Forest Reserve and admire the towering Arab-Islamic Ajloun Castle. See how the wonders of nature and the genius of the medieval Arabian military architects of Northern Jordan created two of the most famous ecological and historic sights in the Middle East, helped by the defeat of the crusaders 800 years before. Ajloun Castle (Qul'at Ar-Rabad) was built by Saladin in the year 1184 ACE to tax the ore mines on Ajloun and to direct the advancing crusaders into the three main routes to the Jordan Valley and protect the routes between Jordan and Syria. A beautiful example of Islamic architecture, the fortress occupies a wide stretch of the northern Jordan Valley.
Near Ajlun is Anjara, the city through which Jesus Christ, his mother Mary and his disciples passed to rest in a nearby cave. The cave is now a designated memorial site as the Church of Our Lady of the Mountain.
West of Ajlun, the Mar Elias Valley is the place where the Prophet Elia ascended to heaven in a whirlwind riding a flaming chariot. Since 2000, the Vatican has designated both Anjara and Mar Elias as pilgrimage sites.
Day 4: Amman - Pella - Um Qays - Amman (+/- 180 km)
Pella is a favorite among archaeologists for its wealth of antiquities. Besides the exposed ruins of the Greco-Roman era, including a theater, Pella offer visitors the chance to see the remnants of a Copper Age settlement from 4000 BCE, the traces of a walled city from the Bronze and Iron Ages, Byzantine churches and houses, an early Islamic community and a small medieval mosque. Pella has a variety of sides, many of which still lie in states of excavation. Some notable sites include the 6th-century West Church, the 6th-century Civic Complex Church, the 1st-century Odeon, the Roman Nymphaeum and the East Church.
The site of the Gadarene Swine Miracle was a center of culture in its day and is now known as Umm Qais. It was the home of countless poets and philosophers, including Theodorus, the founder of the rhetoric school in Rome, who called Pella "a new Athens." Umm Qais and its impressive columns, terraces and ruins of two theaters sit atop a wonderful hill with a view of the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee. Overnight stay in Amman.
Day 5: Amman - Madaba - Mount Nebo - Um Arrasas - Kerak - Petra (+/- 280 km)
A new and exciting day begins in Madaba! Visit the Basilica of St. George. Admire the floor of the church, decorated with mosaics of the holy land from the 6th century. The 2 million colorful stones used to create pictures of hills, valleys and cities of the holy land are certain to enchant. See Mount Nebo and walk in the steps of Moses 800m above the sea to where he saw the promised land.
Kastron Mefaa, the modern Um ar-Rasas, has a long and storied history. It's referenced in the Old and New Testaments, was built by the Romans and was decorated with mosaics by the Christians in Byzantine style over 100 years before the beginning of Islam. The rectangular walled city lay in ruins but new buildings were still constructed, like 4 churches and a beautiful stone arch. The main attraction lies outside the city walls in the Church of St. Stephan - a massive, perfectly preserved mosaic floor from the year 718 ACE. It depicts the 15 largest cities of the Holy Land east and west of the Jordan River. This beautiful mosaic is second only the world-famous Madaba Map.
Less than 2 km north of the protected city is the highest ancient tower in Jordan and a mystery even to specialists: a 15 m high, rectangular tower without a door or staircase, now inhabited by birds. Then, visit the best-preserved Crusader Castle in Jordan - Karak.
Reflect back upon this day rich in experience and spend the night in Petra.
Day 6: Petra - Full Day Visit (+/- 0 km)
Take a fascinating tour of Petra. Enjoy the nature and let the incredible architecture excite you. Stroll through Siq, a small and vibrantly colored gorge leading to the Treasury.
Admire the graves of the former kings, the wonderful Roman theatre, enchanting temples and museums.
If you like, hike up to the monastery or sacrificial area. Often described as the eighth wonder of the ancient world, Petra is the crown jewel of Jordan and the most beloved tourist attraction. The Nabateans hewed their city from rock for over 2,000 years to build Petra, which became a crucial hub for silk and spices and connected trade routes between China, India and Saudi Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
In the 14th century, Petra was lost to the west for over 300 years. However, in 1812, a Swiss man named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt convinced his guide to take him to the seemingly lost city. Burckhardt made notes and sketches and wrote, "It seems very likely that the ruins of Wadi Musa are of the old city of Petra."
Day 7: Petra - Bethany - Mukawir - Dead Sea (+/- 230 km)
Your last exciting day begins with a transfer through the Jordan Valley, which holds deep significance for religious visitors. The area across from Jericho has been known for over 2,000 years as the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Since 1996, it has become the biblical "Bethany beyond the Jordan." Incredible archaeological discoveries between Jordan and Tell al-Kharrar, where John lived when he baptized Jesus, have lent it this name. 2,000 years later, pilgrims from all over the world still come here to be baptized. Even the deceased Pope John Paul II visited this area on his spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the beginning of the last millennium. Tell al-Kharrar (St. Elias Hill), is a memorial to the Prophet Elias. From this mountain, he ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire.
Less than 1 hour from Madaba by car along the picturesque Kings' Highway lies the fortress of King Herod the Great. After Herod's death, his son Herod Antipas inherited the fortress, from which he commanded that John the Baptist be beheaded after the disastrous dance of Salome. Mukawir is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Madaba on the Kings' Highway.
Your wonderful and exciting tour has nearly come to its end and you spend the night at the Dead Sea.
Day 8: Dead Sea - QAIA (approximately 40 km)
After breakfast, head to the QAIA and depart from there at the end of service.