Inhabited since 4000BC, Aqaba is the Jordanian port city on the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba, and gateway to the world-famous stone-city of Petra. The Lost City of Petra is the impressive archaeological site carved from the sandstone hills more than 2,000 years ago, and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its breath-taking tombs and ruins remained hidden to the world until their rediscovery in 1812 by a Swiss explorer. [ReadMoreMob]
The seaport of Aqaba has been strategically important for traders for centuries. The Crusaders built a fortress here, which was rebuilt by the Mamlukes in the 16th century, and it remains one of the town’s most important landmarks. The Aqaba Archaeological Museum houses Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid artefacts, an unearthed treasures from the ancient city of Aila, are also within its walls.
The small town of Aqaba itself has a relaxed vibe, and is a regular stopover for visitors heading to the diving and snorkelling clubs of the Yamanieh coral reef.
Lost City of Petra
Petra is a historic and archaeological city in Southern Jordan. It was established, possibly as early as the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. The city is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the colour of the stone out of which it is carved. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage". Petra is one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east, Israel, and Palestine to the west. Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres below sea level, while the Dead Sea is 304 metres deep. With a salinity of 342g, or 34.2%, it is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean and one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and 15 kilometres (9 miles) wide, and has a density of 4.24kg/litre. Those who choose to take a refreshing dip will find that they can float effortlessly on the buoyant, mineral-rich waters, which are more than four times denser than fresh water.
Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley of the Moon, is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in Southern Jordan. Wadi Rum is Arabic for ‘Sand Valley’ as Rum means sand, especially light sand that can be carried by the wind. Its lunar-like landscape crevice-riddled cliffs and ever evolving light inspire unbridled awe. The days are as dramatic as they are dusty and due to the harsh climate, the only permanent inhabitants are several thousand Bedouin nomads and villagers. Desert scenes from Lawrence of Arabia were filmed among the fiery orange landscapes. Elsewhere, there are temple ruins, petroglyphs, rock formations and more.