Best Sites to Visit in Jordan

Petra : "The Red-Rose City "     

3 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value - as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man.

 Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed.

 Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.

 Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).

 This is an awe-inspiring experience. A massive façade, 30m wide and 43m high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock-face and dwarfing everything around it. It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king and represents the engineering genius of these ancient

 The Treasury is merely the first of the many wonders that make up Petra. You will need at least four or five days to really explore everything here. As you enter the Petra valley you will be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place and its outstanding architectural achievements. There are hundreds of elaborate rock-cut tombs with intricate carvings - unlike the houses, which were destroyed mostly by earthquakes, the tombs were carved to last throughout the afterlife and 500 have survived, empty but bewitching as you file past their dark openings. Here also is a massive Nabataean-built,

 Roman-style theatre, which could seat 3,000 people. There are obelisks, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets, and high above, overlooking the valley, is the impressive Ad-Deir Monastery – a flight of 800 rock cut steps takes you there.

 Within the site there are also two excellent museums; the Petra Archaeological Museum, and the Petra Nabataean Museum both of which represent finds from excavations in the Petra region and an insight into Petra's colorful past.

A 13th century shrine, built by the Mamluk Sultan, Al Nasir Muhammad, to commemorate the death of Aaron, the brother of Moses, can be seen on top of Mount Aaron in the Sahara range.

 Inside the site, several artisans from the town of Wadi Musa and a nearby Bedouin settlement have set up small stalls selling local handicrafts, such as pottery and Bedouin jewellery, and bottles of striated multi-colored sands from the area.

Petra was first established sometime around the 6th century BC, by the Nabataean Arabs, a nomadic tribe who settled in the area and laid the foundations of a commercial empire that extended into Syria.

 Despite successive attempts by the Seleucid king Antigonus, the Roman emperor Pompey and Herod the Great to bring Petra under the control of their respective empires, Petra remained largely in Nabataean hands until around 100 AD, when the Romans took over. It was still inhabited during the Byzantine period, when the former Roman Empire moved its focus east to Constantinople, but declined in importance thereafter.

 The Crusaders constructed a fort there in the 12th century, but soon withdrew, leaving Petra to the local people until the early 19th century, when it was rediscovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

What kind of animals we might use at Petra, and how often do we need to use any?

​ Petra is a huge site, and you will get the chance to ride on different stages at Petra according to your desire and ability to walk:

 You may ​take the free horse ride from Petra visitors center to the beginning of the Siq ( about 600 meters - 5 $ tip is expected to the horse man )

 You may take a carriage from Petra visitors center till the Treasury ( 3 km - cost 25 ​ JD for 2 ​ including the way back at the end of the day ) ,

 You may take horse or camel ride from the treasury to the first step to the Monastery ( 3 km - around 15 JD / P )

 You may take donkeys on going up to the Monastery ( 800 steps - around 10 JD/P)

 You may take any, according to the same order during your way back to the visitor's center.  

 Are there specific days to do Petra at night - Petra by Night ? How much does it cost?

 Petra by night is  every Monday, Wednesday & Thursday, starting at 20:00. You can buy the ticket there for 17JD/P

Can I explore Petra myself after the 2 hours or should I pay extra for a tour guide?

 In Petra you just need to follow the path, and they have explanation signs on each place you reach, you will be given a sitemap with the ticket at Petra  visitor center, and each spot on Petra has explanatory signs with 3 major languages. A local site tour guide along Petra (for site detailed information) can be requested if desired.

 Local tour guides can be requested and arranged in Petra Visitor center if not included in your itinerary, and it will cost 50 JD (around 70$) for basic trail coverage - around 2-3 hours. 

 First suggested trail to visit Petra: from visitor center -Basin area  (Restaurant area) starts with the Siq , the Treasury, Street of  facade, Theater, Royal Tombs, Great Temple Complex  and princess palace, can be taken in first day - 4 hrs and it will cost you 50 JD, later on you can walk all the way to Monastery in the same day- 2 hrs and it can be self guided (with guide will cost you another 50 JD). 

 Way 2 in the second day- from visitor center to High Area of Sacrifice and Back Area (Wadi Farasa) and the guide will cost you 50 JD (Guide is Highly Recommended) , you may continue to Mount Aroun in that day (Guide is recommended and will cost you 50 JD)

 During my hundreds of visits to Petra, I was able to cover the main trail, the Monastery and the back trail - Wadi Farasa and high area of Sacrifice few times, this involves walking of around 16km, and climbing over 2000 steps, equivalent to going 213 floors according to my iphone health application. 

Petra Entry fee is 71 US$/P or 50 JOD For one Day - Included in Jordan Pass (Wanderer) If you purchase it.

130 US$/P or 90 JOD for one day visiting to Jordan - From/to Airport.

80 US$/P or 55 JOD for Two Days Visit  - Included in Jordan Pass (Explorer) If you purchase it.

86 US$/P or 6o JOD Three Days visit - Included in Jordan Pass (Expert) If you purchase it.

Local Guide: You May Hire A Local Tour Guide in each Site From the Visitors Center, Local tour guide at Petra will cost 50 JD (71$) for Petra Basic coverage for 2 hrs  tour), around 100 JD (145 US$) 4 hrs and 150 JD for full day coverage (215 US$)- Not included in our Price.

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Jerash : A Rome away from Rome

1 hr Driving  from the Capital (Amman)

 A close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan is the ancient city of Jerash, which boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years.

 Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities of the Decapolis League.

 The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.

Beneath its external Graeco - Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted - The Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient.

 The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.

Jerash Entry fee is 14 US$/P or 10 JOD - Included in Jordan Pass If you purchase it.

Local Guide: 45 US$ - Not included in the price.

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Wadi Rum: (Moon Valley)

4 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 The crimson sunset on its stupendous cliffs and slanted ladders of hazy fire down its walled avenue “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” ‘T.E Lawrence’.

 This is a stupendous, timeless place, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E.  Lawrence as “vast, echoing and God-like..."

 A maze of monolithic rockscapes rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750m creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers. Hikers can enjoy the tranquility of the boundless empty spaces and explore the canyons and water holes to discover 4000-year-old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in store.

 Also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’, this is the place where Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and T.E. Lawrence based their headquarters during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in World War I, their exploits intrinsically woven into the history of this amazing area.

 There are several options for exploring Wadi Rum. Visitors should head for the Visitors' Centre where, apart from visitors’ facilities, they can hire a 4x4 vehicle, together with driver/guide, and then drive for two or three hours into the Wadi system to explore some of the best known sites. Alternatively they can hire a camel and guide. The duration of the trip can be arranged beforehand through the Visitors' Centre, as can a stay under the stars in a Bedouin tent, where they can enjoy a traditional campfire meal accompanied by Arabic music.

 Once transport has been arranged, there are various excursions available - for example, a trip to Burdah Rock Bridge, the highest in Wadi Rum, via the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and many other interesting sights, is a full day by car or an overnight trip by camel. There are many alternative routes and information on these is available from your tour operator or from the Visitors' Centre on-site.

 The Bedouin people that inhabit the area still maintain their semi-nomadic lifestyle. They are hospitable and offer a friendly welcome to visitors, often inviting them to sit and enjoy a coffee or even a meal.

Things to Do at Rum/ Activity:

Jeep tours: 2 hrs, 3 hrs or 4 hrs

Camel Ride

Hot Air Balloon 

ATV

Wadi Rum Entry fee is 07 US$/P or 5 JOD - Included in Jordan Pass If you purchase it.

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Aqaba : Discover the delights of Jordan Red Sea

4 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 With its wealth of other attractions, Jordan’s splendid Red Sea resort is often overlooked by modern-day visitors. But apart from being a delightful place for discerning holidaymakers, this is actually a great base from which to explore various places of interest in southern Jordan.

 Aqaba is a fun place. It is a microcosm of all the good things Jordan has to offer, including a fascinating history with some outstanding sites, excellent Hotels and activities, superb visitor facilities, good shopping  and welcoming, friendly people, who enjoy nothing more than making sure their visitors have a good time.

 But perhaps Aqaba’s greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The temperate climate and gentle water currents have created a perfect environment for the growth of corals and a teeming plethora of marine life. Here You can swim with friendly sea turtles and dolphins as they dart amongst the schools of multi-colored fish. Night dives reveal the nocturnal sea creatures, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, as they search for a midnight snack.

There are several dive centers in Aqaba. All offer well-maintained diving equipment, professional instructors, and transport by boat to a variety of dive sites

 For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, all the deep sea wonders can be viewed through a glass-bottomed boat or by submarine, or you can just relax under the sun on the resort’s sandy beaches. Plus, of course, there are plenty of other water-sport activities available, as well as an extensive and interesting Marine Park.

 From as far back as five and a half thousand years ago Aqaba has played an important role in the economy of the region. It was a prime junction for land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, a role it still plays today. Because of this vital function, there are many historical sites to be explored within the area, including what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world.

Activities you can do at Aqaba:  Snorkelling, Scuba Diving, Glass Boat, Parasailing (Parachute).

Aqaba

Amman City: A Modern City built on the sands of time

 Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley. 

 In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels,smart restaurants ,art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city’s much older.

Due to the city’s modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost uniformly white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone.

 The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewellery to everyday household items.

The people of Amman are multicultural, multi-denominational, well-educated and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.

Places you can visit in Amman: 

Amman Citadel 

Roman Theater

Downtown - Al Balad

Royal Automobile Museum

King Abdullah Mosque 

The Jordan Museum 

Rainbow Street

Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art

Hashem Restaurant 

Habibah Sweets 

Entry Fees to site in Amman;

Amman Citadel; 4.30 US$/P or 3 JOD

Roman Theater; 3 US$/P or 2 JOD

Royal Automobile Museum; 4.30 US$/P or 3 JOD

The Jordan Museum; 3 US$/P or 2 JOD

Local Guide:

Amman Theater: 15$

Citadel Amman: 45$.


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Jordan Valley & the Dead Sea

45 Mins - 1 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 Nature’s Living Miracle. A place to rejuvenate and restore both Body & Soul

 Without a doubt the world’s most amazing place, the Jordan Rift Valley is a dramatic, beautiful landscape, which at the Dead Sea, is over 400m (1,312 ft.) below sea level. The lowest point on the face of the earth, this vast stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are landlocked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.

 The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebwin and Zoar (Bela).

 One of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, the Jordanian east coast of the Dead Sea has evolved into a major hub of both religious and health & wellness tourism in the region. A series of good roads, excellent hotels with spa and fitness facilities, as well as archaeological and spiritual discoveries make this region as enticing to today’s international visitors as it was to kings, emperors, traders, prophets and pilgrims in antiquity.

 The leading attraction at the Dead Sea is the warm, soothing, super salty water itself – some ten times saltier than seawater, and rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several others. The unusually warm, incredibly buoyant and mineral-rich waters have attracted visitors since ancient times, including King Herod the Great and the beautiful Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. All of whom have luxuriated in the Dead Sea’s rich, black, stimulating mud and floated effortlessly on their backs while soaking up the water's healthy minerals along with the gently diffused rays of the Jordanian sun.

Dead Sea Entry Fee 5* Resort Beach is 30 US$/P without Lunch & 40 US$/P with Lunch - Not included in the Jordan Pass if you purchase it.

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Bethany Beyond the Jordan

45 Mins - 1 hrs Driving from the Capital City (Amman)

 The site of John the Baptist's settlement at Bethany Beyond the Jordan ,where Jesus was baptized, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from the Byzantine and medieval texts.

 The site has now been identified on the east bank of the Jordan River, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and is being systematically surveyed, excavated, restored, and prepared to receive pilgrims and visitors. Bethany Beyond the Jordan is located half an hour by car from Amman.

 The Bethany area sites formed part of the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mount Nebo. The area is also associated with the biblical account of how the Prophet Elijah (Mar Elias in Arabic) ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire.

Baptism site entry fee is 17 US$ or 12 JOD - Can be purchased as an add-on with the Jordan Pass.

Local Guide: Included with the ticket.

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Madaba City & Churches

45 mins to 1 hr Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 The fertility of Madaba's plains have made it a strategic location for 3500 years. Fought over by many peoples during different times, it later became a Nabataean town. During the Byzantine era, the city became a bishopric and the mosaics, for which it became famous, were laid. Today, the city is still famous for mosaics, both historical and for its mosaic school, the only one of its kind in the Middle East. 

 Many biblical civilizations coveted the rich plains surrounding Madaba. In 106 AD, the Romans became the governors, and Madaba gained a colonnaded street and the usual impressive public buildings of a provincial town. Coins minted during this time, found during local excavations, featured grandiose statements about the city. The town failed, however, after the earthquake of 747 AD, and lay abandoned for about 1100 years.

 The oldest and most famous floor, the Mosaic Map, was discovered in 1884 in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. It was originally laid in 560 AD. Centering on Jerusalem, the map portrays the region with accuracy and humor. Archeologists have been able to positively identify most of the 150 named sites due to the accurate portrayals of natural features such as the River Jordan or the Dead Sea, as well as the labels, which used color and font size to indicate the importance of the sites. The geographical accuracy gives credence to the idea that the wildlife shown on the map, such as lions and gazelles, actually lived in the area. Amusing features, such as a horrified fish rushing away from the Dead Sea, not only indicate much about the region, but also show the humanity of the mosaicists Only one-third of the map has survived.

Madaba Churches: 

1. St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church

2. The Church of Saint George

3. Church of the Apostles

4. Memorial Church of Moses

Madaba entry fee is 3 US$ or 2 JOD - Can be purchased as an add-on with the Jordan Pass.

Madaba ChruchMap

Mount Nebo

45 mins to 1 hr Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 Mount Nebo is one of Jordan's most important Christian Holy Sites: this is the spot where Moses(or Prophet Musa) is believed to have first seen the Promised Land that he would never enter ( He died at Nebo area and was buried there - His crave has never been found however).

 The site was abandoned by 1564 and remained mostly neglected for several centuries more. Finally, in 1993, the site was purchased by the Franciscans, who excavated and restored the area. On March 19, 2000,Pope John Paul II visited the site during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, planting an olive tree next to the Byzantine chapel for peace.

 Today, Mount Nebo is an active Franciscan monastery, the headquarters of the Franciscan Archaeological Institute, and a popular stop for pilgrims and tourists alike.

 According to Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses was buried on this mountain by God himself, and his final resting place is unknown. Scholars continue to dispute whether the mountain currently known as Nebo is the same as the mountain referred to in the Torah.

Islamic belief holds that Musa (Moses) was buried not on the mountain but a few kilometers to the west, somewhere beyond the River Jordan.

Mt Nebo entry fee is 4.5 S$ or 3 JOD - Can be purchased as an add-on with the Jordan Pass.

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Karak /A Maze of Stone – Vaulted Halls and Endless Passageways

2 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 The fort itself is a dark maze of stone-vaulted halls and endless passageways. The best-preserved are underground, and to be reached through a massive door (ask at the ticket office). The castle in itself is more imposing than beautiful, though it is all the more impressive as an example of the Crusaders' architectural military genius. Karak's most famous occupant was Reynald de Chatillon, whose reputation for treachery, betrayal and brutality is unsurpassed. When Baldwin II died, his son, a 13-year-old leper, sued for peace with Saladin. The Leper King, however, died without an heir, and in stepped Reynald, who succeeded in winning the hand of Stephanie, the wealthy widow of Karak's assassinated regent. He promptly broke the truce with Saladin, who returned with a huge army, ready for war. Reynald and King Guy of Jerusalem led the Crusader forces and suffered a massive defeat. Reynald was taken prisoner and beheaded by Saladin himself, marking the beginning of the decline in Crusader fortunes. The castle was enlarged with a new west wing added by the Ayyubids and Mamluks.

 Whether you approach Karak from the ancient King's Highway to the east or from the Dead Sea to the west, the striking silhouette of this fortified town and castle will instantly make you understand why the fates of kings and nations were decided here for millennia.

 An ancient Crusader stronghold, Karak sits 900m above sea level and lies inside the walls of the old city. The city today is home to around 170,000 people and continues to boast a number of restored 19th century Ottoman buildings, restaurants, places to stay, and the like. But it is undoubtedly Karak Castle that dominates

 The town is built on a triangular plateau, with the castle at its narrow southern tip. The castle is some 220m long, 125m wide at the north end, and 40m wide at the southern end where a narrow valley deepened by a ditch separates it from the adjoining and much higher hill – once Saladin's favorite artillery position. Throughout the castle, dark and roughly-shaped Crusader masonry is easy to discern from the finely-crafted blocks of lighter and softer limestone used in later Arab work.

 While the castle we see today essentially dates back to the 12th century, Karak has been a fortress since biblical times. The Bible relates how the King of Israel and his allies from Judah and Edom ravaged Moab and besieged its king Mesha in the fortress of Kir Heres, as Karak was then known.

 Centuries later, it took the Crusaders some twenty years to erect their vast castle. Once finished in 1161, it became the residence of the lord of Transjordan, by then the most important fief of the Crusader kingdom, rich in produce and tax revenues. After withstanding several sieges in the early 1170s, Karak came under the rule of Raynald of Chatillon, a lord who became known for his recklessness and barbarism. Breaking all treaties, he began looting merchant caravans and Mecca-bound pilgrims, attacked the very homeland of Islam – the Hijaz – and raided Arabian ports on the Red Sea, even threatening Mecca itself. Saladin, the ruler of Syria and Egypt, reacted swiftly. He took the town of Karak by force, burned it down and almost managed to storm the castle as well.

 Reynald’s peacetime robbery of a large caravan in 1177 prompted fast retribution from Saladin - who attacked the Crusader kingdom – ending in the defeat of the Crusader army at the Battle of Hattin. Saladin spared most of the captives except Reynald, who he executed himself. The defenders of Karak held out for eight months in a prolonged siege before surrendering to the Muslims who, mercifully, allowed them to walk free. 

A great way to explore Karak Castle is through the sight and sound event. The Castle and its towers are lit by 50 post lights that is accompanied by a showing of a documentary film about the history of Karak and the major events that took place since 800 BC.

 The film also displays the invasion of Karak by many civilizations including Greek, Nabataean, Byzantine Crusaders and finally by the Ottoman rule in the 19th century.

It also sheds light on the city of Karak with its new development and how Karak is a great example for coexisting between Muslims and Christians.

Karak Castle entry fee is 03 US$ or 02 JOD - Can be purchased as an add-on with the Jordan Pass.

Local Guide:  40$- 50$

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Desert Castles

1 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman) 

 Jordan's desert castles, beautiful examples of both early Islamic art and architecture, stand testament to a fascinating era in the country's rich history. Their fine mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carvings and illustrations, inspired by the best in Persian and Graeco-Roman traditions, tell countless stories of life as it was during the 8th century. Called castles because of their imposing stature, the desert complexes actually served various purposes as caravan stations, agriculture and trade centers, resort pavilions and outposts that helped distant rulers forge ties with local Bedouins. Several of these preserved compounds, all of which are clustered to the east and south of Amman , can be visited on one - or two-day loops from the city.

 Quseir Amra, one of the best preserved monuments, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with lively frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colorful mosaics.

 Qasr Al-Azraq, is a large fortress located in present-day eastern Jordan. Qasr al-Azraq is located on the ancient main trade route. Pools of fresh water, now depleted, made it the largest oasis in the Jordanian desert.

Qasr AL-Kharraneh lies 55 km east of Amman. Two stories high, with puissant stone walls interspersed with rounded intervals and corner towers, this caravanserai, like some other desert castles, was never fully completed. Qasr Kharana is Built of limestone rubble and mortar, Kharana is a small castle of 35 m. square.

Qasr Al-Mushata, is situated just north of Queen Alia International Airport's north runway. Never completed, the castle is thought to have been initiated by Caliph Walid II around 743-744 AD, just before the Umayyad dynasty gave way to the power of the Baghdad-based Abbassid rulers.

Desert Castles entry fee is 4.5 US$ or 3 JOD - Included in the Jordan Pass if you purchase it.

Local Guide on site: Mostly it is not possible to find guides on these sites

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Ajloun Castle

1 hrs Driving from the Capital (Amman)

 Ajloun Castle is one of the greatest examples of Islamic Ayyubid military architecture. The first stage of construction began ca.1184 by General Izzidin Usama, nephew of Salahuddin AL Ayyoubi, who built it on a hill 1100 meters above sea level.

 The initial structure consisted of a compact nucleus stronghold with four main towers. Subsequent enlargements followed immediately with the addition of two more towers between 1184 and 1193 AD. Between 1193 and 1218, during the times of AL Malek AL Adel, the second stage of construction was completed with enlargements by the castle governor Aybak Bin Abdullah. He added the seventh tower, which wraps around the southeast corner of the building.

Stage three of construction centered on the renewal of the northeast tower when the castle was used as administrative center during the reign of AL Malek AL Nasser Salhudin Yousef between 1250 and 1259.

Ajloun Castle entry fee is 4.5 US$ or 3 JOD - Included in the Jordan Pass if you purchase it.

Local Guide: 15 US$.

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Al Shobak Castle

2 hrs Driving for the Capital (Amman)

 Part of the great beacon chain of Crusader fortresses, Shobak Castle is by far the most lonely. Built in 1115 AD by Baldwin I, who later built Karak, it was originally known as Mont Realis (Montreal) and was the first outpost of the kingdom of Jerusalem in the Crusader district of Outrejordain. Situated on an isolated knoll overlooking the trade routes that run through the wadi below, Shobak is breathtaking.

 The original entrance to Shobak Castle was through a dog-legged triple gate. Above this is the Crusader Church, with strategic views of the old village. There are several wells found within the castle walls, although the main water source was the spring at the foot of the hill. One of the treasures of this site is the secret passage of over 350 steps that goes down to the spring, ensuring that during times of siege, the castle would have access to adequate supplies of freshwater. Baldwin l's court, a large room with antechambers running around it, has been partially reconstructed. Other rooms hold olive presses and a second church. It is still possible to see the cisterns, baths and pipes for harvesting rainwater.

Al Shobak Castle entry fee is 1.5 US$ or 1 JOD - Included in the Jordan Pass if you purchase it.

Local Guide: 15 US$.

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