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Suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) British Airways flight departing London Heathrow at 15.05hrs arriving in Amman at 22.15hrs. On arrival private transfer to the centrally located Intercontinental Hotel, where four nights are spent. Light snacks will be provided on arrival.
Morning tour of Amman, visiting some of the city’s ancient ruins and buildings, such as on Citadel Hill – one of the seven jabals (hills) that originally made up Amman – the Temple of Hercules Temple and the Umayyad Palace. Visit the Roman theatre and museum in the lower part of Amman. Continue to visit the Jordan Museum hosting the country’s most important archaeological findings. Time permitting, visit the Darat Al Funun, a cultural centre for arts and artists from the Arab World. Transfer north to Jerash, one of the best examples in the Middle East of a Roman provincial city which is remarkably well-preserved.
Lunch at the Lebanese House Restaurant. This afternoon walk through original temples, theatres, plazas, and colonnaded streets, all enclosed within the remaining city walls. Return to Amman. Dinner at Jafra Café and Restaurant.
This morning drive south to Mount Nebo, mentioned in the 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 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.
Lunch at Haret Jdoduna restaurant, serving traditional Jordanian home-made dishes. Return to Amman for an afternoon at leisure. Dinner at Fakhr el Din, one of the best restaurants in Amman.
Drive east to visit three desert castles. Heading north-east we come to 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. Continue to Hamman as-Srah.
Lastly, we visit 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 in the hotel’s well-known Burj Al Hamam restaurant.
Drive (with luggage) south to the Wadi Mujib, the biblical Arnon Stream, a dramatic river canyon in Jordan which enters the Dead Sea approximately 420 metres below sea level. Continue 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 three 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 or horse ride 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 Deir Monastery (800 steps) and walk back down to the treasury. Return to the site entrance by horse and carriage. Return to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
Drive 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 cave buildings, you can find the remains of painted frescoes with birds, grapes and flowers, dating from the 1st century AD. Lunch at Al-Qantarah restaurant.
Return to Petra. Cooking demonstration followed by dinner at Petra Kitchen.
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 seeing the rock bridges of Jebel Burdah and Umm Fruth and the Khazali canyon.
Lunch in the desert before checking into the Wadi Rum Night luxury camp. Traditional desert dinner in the camp.
Drive (with luggage) north to Umm ar Rasas to see the mosaics in 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 700 metre -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 Kempinski Hotel. 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). Dinner under own arrangements.
Free day at leisure. Lunch under own arrangements. Farewell dinner at the hotel
Early morning transfer (with luggage) to Amman airport for a suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) British Airways flight departing Amman at 08.15hrs, arriving London Heathrow at 12.10hrs in the afternoon.
Rob was always quick, efficient, charming and helpful- CH, Burma