LONDON / AMMAN
Depart London Heathrow on an afternoon British Airways flight to Amman arriving late in the evening. On arrival, transfer to the centrally located Intercontinental Hotel, where four nights are spent. Light snacks will be provided on arrival in guests’ rooms.
AMMAN & JERASH
Transfer north to Jerash, one of the best examples in the Middle East of a Roman provincial city which is remarkably well-preserved. Walk through original temples, theatres, plazas, paths and colonnaded streets, all enclosed within the remaining city walls.
Lunch at the Lebanese House Restaurant. Transfer back to Amman for a tour of some of the city’s numerous ancient ruins and buildings, as well as the ‘Darat Al Funun’, a cultural centre for arts and artists from the Arab World. Return to the hotel. Dinner at Lebanese Fakhr El Din Restaurant, known as one of the best restaurants in Amman.
AMMAN, MADABA, MT NEBO & BETHANY
This morning drive south along the King’s Highway, one of the oldest roads in antiquity, to Madaba, known as the City of Mosaics, famous for its large Byzantine mosaic map of the Holy Land on the floor of St. George’s Church, depicting all the major biblical sites of the Middle East. Drive to Mount Nebo, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land, and climb to the very top to take in its spectacular views over the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. Continue to Bethany, the site of John the Baptist’s settlement.
Lunch at the Sufra restaurant, serving traditional Jordanian home-made dishes. Return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Dinner at restaurant Levant.
AMMAN & QASR AL-HALLABAT
Drive to the town of Qasr al-Hallabat, originally a Roman Fortress, constructed under Emperor Caracalla to protect its inhabitants from Bedouin tribes. The site dates to the second and third century AD, although there is evidence of Nabatean presence at the site. Continue to Qasr Amra, considered to be one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture; this desert castle was built early in the 8th century, sometime between 723 and 743 by Wallid Ibn Yazid, the future Umayyad Caliph Walid II.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Return to the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel’s Burj Al Hamam restaurant.
AMMAN / KERAK / SHOBAK / PETRA
Drive to Kerak to visit the magnificent 12th century Crusader fortress built by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem in AD 1142 and featured in legendary battles between the Crusaders and the Islamic armies of Saladin.
Lunch in Kerak, before continuing to the ruins of the early 12th century Shobak Castle, formally known as ‘Mons Regalis,’ named in honour of the king’s own contribution to its construction. Continue along the desert highway to Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check into the Mövenpick Resort Petra, where two nights are spent. This hotel is located next to the entrance to Petra. Dinner in the hotel.
Full day’s sightseeing at Petra. Hewn from towering rust-coloured rock in the valleys of the Shara Mountains, Petra is testament to the prosperity of the Nabataeans. Walk through this narrow, winding 1.2km-long fissure with walls towering up to 200 metres overhead. At the end lies the unforgettable sight of the ‘rose-red’ Treasury, ‘Khazneh’ with its stunning 40-metre high façade.
Lunch at Basin Restaurant. Ride by donkey up to the Monastery and walk back down to the treasury. Return to the entrance by horse and carriage. Return to the hotel. Experience a cooking demonstration of typical Jordanian food at Petra Kitchen.
Second visit of Petra to visit the Temple of High Sacrifice.
Lunch in a local restaurant in Petra. Afternoon visit to Little Petra, a magical spot with its own miniature version of the Siq. It is believed Little Petra was an important suburb of Petra, the entry and exit point for the trade routes to the north and north-west. As in Petra, the buildings were carved into the sandstone, used as residences, storages and tombs, with water channels and cisterns. In one of the buildings you can find the remains of painted frescoes with birds, grapes and flowers, dating from the 1st century AD. Return to the Petra. Dinner in the hotel.
PETRA / WADI RUM
Drive (with luggage) south east to Wadi Rum – forever now associated with T. E. Lawrence – a spectacular desert landscape broken by 800-metre high mountains – rust-coloured jebels – capped with sandstone rising sheer from the wide sandy valley floor. Desert safari in 4×4 jeeps.
A buffet style lunch at a Bedouin camp before checking into the Sun City Camp which is located in the heart of Wadi Rum’s majestic desert. Traditional desert dinner in the camp.
WADI RUM / UMM AR RASAS / MACHAERUS / DEAD SEA
Transfer to Umm ar Rasas and visit St. Stephen’s Church, one of four churches in the original village of Umm ar Rasas. Look at its magnificent mosaic floor dating back to about AD 785. Continue to the spectacular 700m-high hilltop fortress of Machaerus, the castle of Herod the Great, which offers spectacular views over the surrounding landscape and Dead Sea. The hill was first fortified in about 100 BC and expanded by Herod the Great in 30 BC. It is renowned as the place where John the Baptist was beheaded by King Antipas, the successor to Herod the Great. Also of interest are the remains of a Roman siege ramp on the western side of the hill dating from when the Romans took the fort from Jewish rebels in AD 72.
Lunch at the Panorama Dead Sea Restaurant. Drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, sitting at 400 metres below sea level. Check into the Mövenpick Resort & Spa. The Resort has excellent amenities including a beach, several swimming pools and spa and treatment centre, which offers a range of restorative treatments (payable locally). Enjoy, also, the famously buoyant saline waters of this unique environment. Dinner at the hotel.
DEAD SEA / AMMAN / LONDON
Morning transfer (with luggage) to Amman for a morning flight to London Heathrow arriving early in the afternoon.
Rob was always quick, efficient, charming and helpful- CH, Burma, 2013