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Once lost in time, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra is a not-to-be missed icon whose beauty is as spellbinding as the history that surrounds it. Its intricate temples are hewn into the red rock of the jebels, and to see the soft desert light illuminate it with a rosy glow will have a striking effect on you. Best of all, it’s within striking distance, just a short included flight from the last city on your base program, Abu Dhabi. Your Jordan stay includes a visit to the Dead Sea; two nights in the capital, Amman; an excursion to Biblical Mount Nebo (where Moses took his last breath after seeing the Promised Land), and more. Make the most of your time in the Middle East by adding these travel milestones, at a great value.
Mövenpick Resort Petra (or similar) and 2 nights at the InterContinental Amman (or similar)
Arrive in ancient Petra
We’ll fly from Abu Dhabi to Amman and then transfer to the ancient city of Petra, a 2,300-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site and symbol of Jordan. Its strategic location at an important trade crossroads prompted the nomadic Arab Nabataeans to establish a settlement here around 312 BC. Carving beautiful buildings directly in to the rose-red rock of the area’s jebels, they also applied ingenious methods to control the water supply, creating a prosperous oasis. The city declined under Roman rule and eventually was abandoned, falling into obscurity until its rediscovery by the Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812. Our hotel is set directly across from the entrance to this spectacular archaeological site. You will enjoy a full day of discovery here tomorrow. For the balance of today you are free to relax and join your fellow travelers for dinner at the hotel, which is located directly across from this spectacular archaeological site. This is the best location possible in this incomparable destination.
Exploring Petra: From archaeology to Indiana Jones
Today will be a highlight of your travels as we set out to explore Petra. Our entrance is appropriately grand as we make our way along the narrow alley wedged between two sandstone cliffs known as the Siq (keyhole), which opens up before the majestic Al Khazneh (Treasury) building. Its intricate, galleried facade, carved into a rock wall, may be familiar to you as it was the setting for a crucial scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (among other films.) You will also see the Roman Theater, Great Temple, Monastery, and many rock tombs and monuments as your Adventure Leader recounts the history and legends of this amazing place. After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll return to the hotel by horse-drawn carriage. Then, with the afternoon at leisure, discover the area on your own or relax at the resort. Dinner is at the hotel tonight.
Swim the Dead Sea as you venture to Amman
We’ll begin our overland journey to the Jordanian capital of Amman today, stopping first to explore and swim in the legendary Dead Sea. Set at the Earth's lowest point, its salinity is so high you can float on your back and read a newspaper. We’ll enjoy lunch at a local resort here and then proceed to our hotel in the heart of Amman’s business and diplomatic area. The balance of the day is at leisure, and dinner is at the hotel tonight.
Amman's highlights: From the Bronze Age to the Bible
This morning we’ll discover the highlights of Amman, whose origins date to the Bronze Age and includes a stint as the Roman city called Philadelphia. All this history comes alive at the old Citadel, set atop the city’s highest hill and scattered with antiquities like the Temple of Hercules, Roman Theater, and Umayyad Palace. Time permitting, we’ll also peek into the small archaeological museum, with its treasure trove of ancient coins, glassware, and statuary. From here we set out on the 5,000-year-old King’s Highway, a scenic route that was mentioned in the Bible, Our first stop is Mount Nebo, from which Moses was said to have finally gazed upon the Promised Land before he died. It is believed that his tomb lies here. Take in the spectacular views of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea before we continue to Madaba. Here, we’ll visit the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. It is famous for its striking 6th-century Byzantine mosaics that depict an old map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. After breaking for lunch, we'll enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Madaba. Afterwards, we’ll return to Amman for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
After breakfast you’ll transfer to the Amman airport for your return flight to the U.S.