Jordan is one of the most underrated countries in the Russian tourism market. With attractions rivaling those of its more popular neighbors, Israel and Egypt, Jordan offers the Red Sea, pre-Christian era monuments, historical heritage sites from the Crusaders, biblical landmarks, and fantastic natural scenery.
For those who have yet to explore Jordan, this article aims to provide a first impression and perhaps inspire a future trip.
How to get there?
Tourists must take two PCR tests: one 120 hours before departure and another upon arrival at the airport. It is crucial to pay for the research before leaving. If arriving at Amman airport, you can do so here, and if heading to Aqaba, here. Additionally, travelers must have insurance for the entire duration of their stay.
Where to stay?
Jordan offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget guesthouses to premium chains. For example, the Tell Madaba Hotel offers rooms from $30 per night per person.
What to see?
Although small in size, Jordan’s location on the northern Arabian Peninsula, bordering Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, allows visitors to experience numerous attractions in a short period.
Despite boasting Petra, one of the seven New Wonders of the World, and a Red Sea outlet, most tourists overlook Jordan. Approximately 80% of travelers who visit the country (around one million people annually) choose it for medical tourism. This is mainly due to the unique balneological resort on the Dead Sea’s shores, which serves as a border between Jordan and Israel.
Even if you’re not visiting for medical reasons, it’s worth experiencing this natural wonder and taking a dip in the saltiest lake on the planet, situated nearly half a kilometer below sea level.
Not far from the resort area lies the picturesque El Mujib River canyon. This rare body of water carves its way through the rocky massif, with a riverbed altitude difference of over a thousand meters, creating numerous cascading waterfalls. The canyon offers exciting walking trails, some along the riverbed and others alongside it. However, it’s essential to book a tour in advance, as there is a daily limit on tourists visiting this national park.
Jordan’s stunning deserts, which cover about 90% of the kingdom’s area, also offer otherworldly landscapes. The most famous is the rocky Wadi Ram, located near the coastal town of Aqaba. Its unique topography has made it a popular location for Mars-themed movies, such as “The Martian,” “Red Planet,” “Last Days on Mars,” and a couple of “Star Wars” episodes.
As mentioned earlier, Jordan is also home to Petra, the ancient capital of the Nabatean kingdom. Carved into the pink sandstone cliffs of Sik Canyon, Petra is a gem of Jordanian tourism and a recognizable location from the Transformers and Indiana Jones franchises. Local travel agencies offer one- and two-day tours, with the latter recommended for experiencing the night show at El Khazneh (Treasures) and visiting the remote but stunning Al-Dare monastery.
Jordan’s capital, Amman, combines a modern atmosphere with ancient heritage. The city has served as the capital of Semitic tribes, the home of the Nabateans, a Greco-Roman polity, a Byzantine and Arab trade center, and was eventually revived with the construction of a railway to Medina for Hajj pilgrims. A couple of days in Amman with an experienced tour guide is highly recommended. Accommodations are plentiful, with options like the Saray Hotel Amman, where single rooms start at $50 per night.
For those seeking more ancient history, the magnificent city of Bras is just an hour away from Amman, featuring a well-preserved complex of ancient ruins. Built by Alexander the Great, the city was part of the Decapolis and boasts preserved ancient temples, elegant colonnades, streets, forums, and a racetrack that still hosts historical reconstructions of races.
Pilgrimage tourism is also significant in Jordan, with Bethabara being a primary destination for Christians. It is believed that John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in this location. While the exact site is challenging to pinpoint, the area is surrounded by the ruins of several ancient temples, indicating its centuries of reverence.
Finally, no trip to Jordan would be complete without a few days of relaxation on the Red Sea’s azure waters. The area offers stunning diving opportunities, beautiful coral reefs, and pristine water, making it a perfect spot to unwind after exploring the sands and antiquities of this captivating country.