Jordan | Petra and the Desert Fortresses

Petra
Petra
Petra
Petra
Petra
Petra
Amman Citadel
Amman Citadel
Amman Museum
Amman Museum
Qasr Al-Abd
Qasr Al-Abd
Jerash
Jerash
Jerash
Jerash
Umm Qais
Umm Qais
Umm el-Jimal
Umm el-Jimal
Umm al-Rasas
Umm al-Rasas
Qasr Asraq
Qasr Asraq
Camels in Wadi Rum
Camels in Wadi Rum
Qasr Kharanah
Qasr Kharanah
Qasr Amra
Qasr Amra

Nothing can prepare you for Petra: the scale, the colours and the grandeur. Lively, cosmopolitan and rich, with goods from every corner of the known world, Ancient Petra was an extraordinary city. Its streets were swathed in a fusion of Nabataean, and Classical architecture — elaborate tombs, colonnaded streets and temples carved into rose-red rock.

Petra’s tombs and temples are only a fraction of Jordan’s story. We explore traces of biblical tribes, Roman legions, Christian crusaders, and Islamic caliphates in this promised land of archaeology and fascinating history.

  • Visit Jerash, the best-preserved (and Jordan’s largest) Roman town in the east, a site that is home to the Oval Plaza and the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis
  • Spend two days in the evocative rock-cut city of Petra, an iconic and instantly recognisable site that needs no introduction
  • Admire the almost lunar-like desert scenery of Wadi Rum, which was immortalised on film in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’, aboard a fleet of 4x4s
  • Discover the mighty crusader castle at Kerak, built in the 12th century and one of the largest in the Levant region

Themes

  • Romans
  • Rock Art
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches
  • Cultural Excursion

Practicalities

  • Special Access

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We depart from London Heathrow in the afternoon and arrive at Amman airport late evening. Upon arrival, we make our way to our hotel for a much needed rest.

Hotel: The Holiday Inn or Le Grand Amman
Meals: Snack in hotel room due to late arrival

Day 2

After a leisurely start, we head to the valley of Wadi Seet. Here we find the remains of Qasr-al-Abd, a well-preserved Hasmonean and rare Hellenestic period Palace. Hyrcanus of Jerusalem built the palace around 200BC as part of a much larger estate, that is now covered by the village of Iraq al-Emir. We then spend time both at and in the Dead Sea. The lowest place on earth is also the deepest hypersaline lake in the world, over nine times saltier than the ocean. This salinity has created a harsh environment so it is unsuitable for any plants of wildlife, hence its name. It is however, a unique experience to be able to ‘float’ on the Dead Sea, so we make the most of this opportunity. After our time spent here, we return to Amman.

Hotel: The Holiday Inn or Le Grand Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We explore two Roman Decapolis cities today as our adventure continues. We start off at the ancient city of Gadara (known today as Umm Qais), which offers views over the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee. After lunch we continue to Jerash (ancient Gerasa) for the afternoon, which is set in the pine valleys of the biblical land of Gilead, and is one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the east. The architecture is particularly fine, and includes the impressive 2nd century Hadrian’s Arch, the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis and the Oval Plaza - framed by a magnificent colonnade - a unique feature of the Forum.

Hotel: The Holiday Inn or Le Grand Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

The morning is spent in Jordan’s modern capital Amman. Here we visit the Archaeological Museum and the citadel. The museum is home to artefacts from archaeological sites from across the country, including the Dead Sea bronze scroll written in Aramaic characters. The citadel is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, and we visit the ruins of the Roman Temple of Hercules and the palace of the Omayyad Caliphs. Before lunch we visit the Memorial Church at Mount Nebo. In the afternoon, we make a short drive to the early Byzantine Church of St George in Madaba, where we view the amazing 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land depicting biblical sites of the Middle East from Egypt to Palestine. Afterwards we spend a little time in the Madaba Archaeological Park before heading back to our hotel.

Hotel: The Holiday Inn or Le Grand Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Today we head into the eastern desert to explore the dramatic basalt city at Umm al-Jimal, even the doors are made of huge black slabs and some of them still operate! After lunch we travel on to the desert castles, Qasr Azraq, Amra and al-Kharanah, with far-reaching views over the surrounding landscape. Jordan’s desert castles were so called due to their imposing stature, but they served mainly as agriculture and trade centres, and caravan stations. Examples of both early Islamic art and architecture they represent a fascinating era in the country’s rich history.

Hotel: The Holiday Inn or Le Grand Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

We visit the church and spectacular mosaics at Umm al-Rasas. A Roman and Byzantine site, the mosaics of the churches have fine depictions of the principal cities of the region. Before lunch we have a brief stop at a viewpoint at Wadi Mujib. On next to the mighty crusader castle of Kerak, one of the largest in the Levantine region. Overlooking the Dead Sea, it was built in 1132 as the first line of defence for the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. It’s position also gave control of important trade routes between Damascus, Egypt and Mecca, and of the Bedouin herders of the region.

Hotel: Movenpick Resort Petra or Hayat Zamen Hotel & Resort
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

Today is the first two full days in Petra, and with the archaeological park spread across 200 square kilometres, we will easily fill out time spent here as there is much to explore. Located among mountains and rugged desert canyons, this ancient capital of the Nabatean Arabs is carved directly into a mixture of sandstone cliff face, its colours a mixture of red, white and pink hence it is also known as the “Rose City”. We walk into the site each day, both for the sense of discovery, and to experience the famous entrance to the ravine site, the Siq. As wander along the colonnaded streets, we take in some of the ancient city’s most significant structures, such as the world-renowned “Treasury” (Al-Khazneh), a temple over 40 metres in height with a truly impressive ornate façade. The Nabateans, though essential nomadic, developed a sophisticated water technology, the remains of which we will also see here during our extensive visit. Led by our expert guide, there are optional climbs on both days to Nabatean ‘Monastery’ and ‘High Place’.

Hotel: Movenpick Resort Petra or Hayat Zamen Hotel & Resort
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

A further opportunity to explore the magnificence of Petra.

Hotel: Movenpick Resort Petra or Hayat Zamen Hotel & Resort
Meals: All meals included

Day 9

This morning we will visit the Neolithic site of Beidha, where 8th Millennium BC houses can still be seen, and the painted tomb at “Little Petra” (Siq al-Bahrid). Thought to have been an important suburb of Petra the site includes temples, tombs, water channels and cisterns carved out of rock. We drive to Wadi Rum, home of the largest Roman copper mine in the empire. Here we take 4x4s through spectatular scenery, made famous by the filming of “Lawrence of Arabia”. There are also several rock art sites to be explored here. Afterwards, we head back to Amman for a farewell dinner.

Hotel: The Holiday Inn or Le Grand Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 10

We fly from Amman today, arriving back into London in the afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast included

Itinerary 2020

Day 1

We depart from London Heathrow in the afternoon and arrive at Amman airport late evening. Upon arrival, we make our way to our hotel for a much needed rest.

Hotel: Overnight in Amman
Meals: Snack in hotel room due to late arrival

Day 2

After a leisurely start, we head to the valley of Wadi Seet. Here we find the remains of Qasr-al-Abd, a well-preserved Hasmonean and rare Hellenestic period Palace. Hyrcanus of Jerusalem built the palace around 200BC as part of a much larger estate, that is now covered by the village of Iraq al-Emir. We then spend time both at and in the Dead Sea. The lowest place on earth is also the deepest hypersaline lake in the world, over nine times saltier than the ocean. This salinity has created a harsh environment so it is unsuitable for any plants of wildlife, hence its name. It is however, a unique experience to be able to ‘float’ on the Dead Sea, so we make the most of this opportunity. After our time spent here, we return to Amman.

Hotel: Overnight in Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We explore two Roman Decapolis cities today as our adventure continues. We start off at the ancient city of Gadara (known today as Umm Qais), which offers views over the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee. After lunch we continue to Jerash (ancient Gerasa) for the afternoon, which is set in the pine valleys of the biblical land of Gilead, and is one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the east. The architecture is particularly fine, and includes the impressive 2nd century Hadrian’s Arch, the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis and the Oval Plaza - framed by a magnificent colonnade - a unique feature of the Forum.

Hotel: Overnight in Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

The morning is spent in Jordan’s modern capital Amman. Here we visit the Archaeological Museum and the citadel. The museum is home to artefacts from archaeological sites from across the country, including the Dead Sea bronze scroll written in Aramaic characters. The citadel is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, and we visit the ruins of the Roman Temple of Hercules and the palace of the Omayyad Caliphs. Before lunch we visit the Memorial Church at Mount Nebo. In the afternoon, we make a short drive to the early Byzantine Church of St George in Madaba, where we view the amazing 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land depicting biblical sites of the Middle East from Egypt to Palestine. Afterwards we spend a little time in the Madaba Archaeological Park before heading back to our hotel.

Hotel: Overnight in Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Today we head into the eastern desert to explore the dramatic basalt city at Umm al-Jimal, even the doors are made of huge black slabs and some of them still operate! After lunch we travel on to the desert castles, Qasr Azraq, Amra and al-Kharanah, with far-reaching views over the surrounding landscape. Jordan’s desert castles were so called due to their imposing stature, but they served mainly as agriculture and trade centres, and caravan stations. Examples of both early Islamic art and architecture they represent a fascinating era in the country’s rich history.

Hotel: Overnight in Amman
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

We visit the church and spectacular mosaics at Umm al-Rasas. A Roman and Byzantine site, the mosaics of the churches have fine depictions of the principal cities of the region. Before lunch we have a brief stop at a viewpoint at Wadi Mujib. On next to the mighty crusader castle of Kerak, one of the largest in the Levantine region. Overlooking the Dead Sea, it was built in 1132 as the first line of defence for the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. It’s position also gave control of important trade routes between Damascus, Egypt and Mecca, and of the Bedouin herders of the region.

Hotel: The Old Village Resort Hotel
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

Today is the first two full days in Petra, and with the archaeological park spread across 200 square kilometres, we will easily fill out time spent here as there is much to explore. Located among mountains and rugged desert canyons, this ancient capital of the Nabatean Arabs is carved directly into a mixture of sandstone cliff face, its colours a mixture of red, white and pink hence it is also known as the “Rose City”. We walk into the site each day, both for the sense of discovery, and to experience the famous entrance to the ravine site, the Siq. As wander along the colonnaded streets, we take in some of the ancient city’s most significant structures, such as the world-renowned “Treasury” (Al-Khazneh), a temple over 40 metres in height with a truly impressive ornate façade. The Nabateans, though essential nomadic, developed a sophisticated water technology, the remains of which we will also see here during our extensive visit. Led by our expert guide, there are optional climbs on both days to Nabatean ‘Monastery’ and ‘High Place’.

Hotel: The Old Village Resort Hotelt
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

A further opportunity to explore the magnificence of Petra.

Hotel: The Old Village Resort Hotel
Meals: All meals included

Day 9

This morning we will visit the Neolithic site of Beidha, where 8th Millennium BC houses can still be seen, and the painted tomb at “Little Petra” (Siq al-Bahrid). Thought to have been an important suburb of Petra the site includes temples, tombs, water channels and cisterns carved out of rock. We drive to Wadi Rum, home of the largest Roman copper mine in the empire. Here we take 4x4s through spectatular scenery, made famous by the filming of “Lawrence of Arabia”. There are also several rock art sites to be explored here. Afterwards, we head back to Amman for a farewell dinner.

Hotel: The Old Village Resort Hotel
Meals: All meals included

Day 10

We fly from Amman today, arriving back into London in the afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2019 Tour Details

Tue 8th Oct - Thu 17th Oct

Call for Availability

Guaranteed Departure

£3,325

inc.

sgl supp: £395

JOR19B

Led By: Nick Jackson

Tue 26th Nov - Thu 5th Dec

Available

£2,995

inc.

sgl supp: £395

JOR19D

Led By: Nick Jackson

2020 Tour Details

Wed 4th Mar - Fri 13th Mar

Available

£3,145

Full Price £3195 Save £50

inc.

sgl supp: £550

JOR20A

Led By: Nick Jackson

Tue 24th Mar - Thu 2nd Apr

Available

£3,145

Full Price £3195 Save £50

inc.

sgl supp: £550

JOR20B

Led By: Nick Jackson

Tue 6th Oct - Thu 15th Oct

Available

£3,145

Full Price £3195 Save £50

inc.

sgl supp: £550

JOR20C

Led By: Nick Jackson

Wed 28th Oct - Fri 6th Nov

Available

£3,145

Full Price £3195 Save £50

inc.

sgl supp: £550

JOR20D

Led By: Dr Neil Faulkner

Guide Lecturers

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