Author: Lauren Hunsberger | Photography: Yasmeen Nayfeh | Posted In: Go | March 2023
Our photographer and native Jordanian gave us an insider’s look into one of the most interesting countries in the Middle East.
Wadi Rum Reserve
Fun fact: Many movies were filmed here: Dune, Star Wars and Aladdin.
Insider tip: Stay the night and do a star tour, camel ride, hike or Jeep tour.
Located in southern Jordan, near the Saudi Arabian border, this vast desert landscape is known for being extreme. The temperatures, the beauty, the Bedouin history and vastness are all guaranteed to leave visitors with a sense of awe and wonder. The 278-square-mile area features vibrant rust-colored arches and canyons stretching out into a seemingly endless playground for eco-adventurers, with the most prominent natural site being the Burdah rock bridge.
If you are interested in Wadi Rum, also check out Wadi Mujib.
Temple of Hercules
Fun fact: It is the most prominent Roman structure in the Amman Citadel.
Insider tip: Be sure to check out the famous Hand of Hercules structure.
The Amman Citadel sits on top of one of the seven hills that surround Amman, the capital of Jordan. In the Citadel is the Temple of Hercules, built in AD 162–166, which was an extremely impressive structure for the time, possibly larger than any other temple in Rome. While it’s crumbled over the years, what’s left is nothing short of magic and filled with lore surrounding the massive statue of Hercules.
If you are interested in the Temple of Hercules, also check out the Roman Theatre of Amman.
Fun fact: It’s the lowest point on the earth, at 1,412 feet below sea level.
Insider tip: There are numerous smaller salt springs surrounding the shores, perfect for solo bathing.
While it’s called the Dead Sea, it’s actually a salt lake that sits on the border between Jordan and Israel. The mineral-laden water isn’t great for hosting life, as there are no fish, flora or algae in the lake. However, it does produce stunningly beautiful landscapes and an exhilarating, healing experience for humans of floating with relatively no weight. The lake also holds special meaning in biblical and historical contexts.
If you are interested in the Dead Sea, also check out Ma’in Hot Springs.
Fun fact: It’s also called the Lost City and the Rose City.
Insider tip: The Treasury building is the most photographed, but there are dozens of structures to explore.
One of the most famous sites in Jordan, Petra is an ancient city that was located on a large trade route and perfectly carved into valleys of vibrant red sandstone. Between the Red Sea and Dead Sea, it highlights the surrounding sandstone canyons and gorges. The site is so stunning it was deemed one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; it’s also one of the oldest cities in the world, built in 321 BC.
If you are interested in Petra, also check out Jerash, north of the capital Amman.
Fun fact: It is thought to be the best-preserved castle in Jordan.
Insider tip: Be sure to locate the Baybars’ Tower, which is the highest vantage point.
The Kerak Castle was built in 1142 as a military fortress for the Crusaders located off the King’s Highway. While impressive at first sight, the most fascinating part is the extensive labyrinth of tunnels and passages underground. Although the infrastructure was heavily damaged due to military sieges, there are still 16 towers standing that represent the original structure and the efforts to fortify the walls throughout the centuries.
If you are interested in Kerak Castle, also check out Ajloun Castle.