Arrive Amman and transfer to our hotel.
The remains of a Hellenistic palace at Qasr al- Abd; then on to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, with a salt content of 33%.
Two Decapolis cities: Umm Qais (Gadara) on the edge of the Jordan River valley, from where there are views over the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. As everywhere you turn in Jordan, this is the setting for one of the biblical stories - that of the Gadarene swine. Jerash is set in the pine valleys of the Gilead, and is one of the best-preserved Romans cities in the East. The architecture is particularly fine, and a unique feature is the Oval Plaza - framed by a magnificent curved colonnade.
Citadel and museum of Amman; south down the King's Highway to Mount Nebo and the 6th century Madaba mosaic map. This schematic depiction of the Holy Land, with Jerusalem at the centre, has all sorts of lively detail depicting life beside the River Jordan.
The dramatic basalt city at Umm al-Jimal. There area is almost waterless, so aqueducts, storage and management were crucial to the inhabitants’ survival. One of the beauties of the site is the surviving domestic architecture - stables, manger, and ablution areas. Azraq has far-reaching views over the surrounding empty landscape, and is situated in an oasis area of dried-up marshland on the southern tip of the Hauran. In the middle of town is a Roman basalt fort with stone doors which still work. The hunting lodge at Amra is unique and one of the most lovely monuments in Jordan. Behind a rather plain exterior are baths decorated with colourful and unique murals and frescoes. Qasr Kharaneh appears as a military installation but seems to have led a purely civilian life, possibly as a trade stopover point.
Visit the church at Umm al-Rasas, with remarkable 6th - 8th century mosaics inspired by the Madaba map, with vignettes of the Holy Land and Nile cities. Dramatic drive through the Wadi Mujib, with spectacular scenery. The mighty ruins of the Kerak crusader castle, originally the site of an Iron Age Moabite town.
All day in Petra.
“The remains of an ancient city, a place which, as far as I know, no European traveller has ever visited. In the red sand stone of which the valley is composed, are upwards of two hundred and fifty sepulchres entirely cut out of the rock…There is a mausoleum in the shape of a temple, of colossal dimensions, a most beautiful specimen of Grecian architecture, and in perfect preservation.” So said Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt, who re-discovered Petra in 1812.
We recommend walking into the site (2 km), as Burckhardt did, both for the sense of discovery and because there are so many interesting monuments in the Siq. This is a city of the Nabateans, who settled in this wide hidden valley, and it grew into one of the most famous cities in the world. Its tombs cover a huge area, all cut into the richly coloured rock - it is called the ‘rose red city’ for good reason. There are two (optional) steepish climbs to the Nabatean ‘High Places’, which afford incredible views.
Another full day in Petra.
The Neolithic site of Beidha, where prehistoric houses can still be seen. Drive to Wadi Rum, 50 miles south of Petra, where we take 4x4s through spectacular desert scenery. There are also several very fine rock art sites to be explored here, with carvings from very early times to the fairly recent past - this was how nomadic peoples left messages for each other.
Return to Amman for flight home.
NB Petra is a huge site and lots of walking is required, even before you enter through the Siq. There are some steep climbs on well-trodden but uneven paths sometimes with rock-cut steps
What's Included & Choice
- Flights - The best scheduled flights in 2013 which fly direct from London to Amman are with Easyjet and we have to buy tickets from them directly online. This means that costs vary. Your local airport may also offer direct flights to Amman
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach; 4x4 pick-up trucks at Wadi Rum
- Guide Lecturer - Nick Jackson (Oct 13). Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations (we normally manage to circumnavigate these) but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 29 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them
- Tour Manager - Odeh Al Shobki (Oct 13). We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient
- Meals - All meals included; drinks (except water) are not
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Local Guide
- Field Notes
5 nights in a very comfortable business-style hotel in Amman;
4 nights in a hotel converted from a traditional Ottoman village not far from Petra
|Tues 1st Oct -Thurs 10th Oct 2013 with Nick Jackson
|Tue 7th - Thu 16th Oct 2014 with Nick Jackson