Cultural-Program 2

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Day No.1:      Arrival to Queen Alia   airport in Amman – Transfer to a hotel, overnight in Amman.

Day No. 2:     Visiting Jerash – City tour in Amman, overnight in  Amman.

Day No. 3:    Visiting Saint George church in Madaba  – Visiting Mnt. Nebo – Driving through

The King’s Way to Moujib Valley then to Karak Crusade Castel – Driving to Petra,  overnight in Petra.

Day No.4:    Petra full day visit, Overnight in Petra.

Day No.5:    Visiting Wadi Rum – Driving back to Amman – Overnight in Amman.

Day No.6:    Visiting Um Quis- Visiting Pella – Visiting the Dead Sea, overnight in Amman.

Day No.7:   Transfer to Queen Alia airport.

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All about the Cultural-Program 2.

the ancient city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. Beneath its external Graeco-Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted – The Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient.

A sprawling city spread over 19 hills, or “jebels,” Amman is the modern – as well as the ancient – capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Known as Rabbath-Ammon during the Iron Age and later as Philadelphia, the ancient city that was once part of the Decapolis league, now boasts a population of around 2.3 million people. Amman, often referred to as the white city due to its low size canvas of stone houses, offers a variety of historical sites. There are a number of renovations and excavations taking place that have revealed remains from the Neolithic period, as well as from the Hellenestic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages. The site which is known as the Citadel includes many structures such as the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. At the foot of the Citadel lies the 6,000 seat Roman Theatre, which is a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and is still being used for cultural events. Another newly restored theatre is the 500-seat Odeon that is used for concerts. The three museums found in the area offer a glimpse of history and culture; they are the Jordan Archaeological Museum, The Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Traditions.

The trip south from Amman along the 5,000-year-old Kings Highway is one of the most memorable journeys in the Holy Land, passing through a string of ancient sites. The first city to encounter is Madaba, “the City of Mosaics.” The city, best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of coloured stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta. Other mosaic masterpieces found in the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles and the Archaeological Museum, depict a rampant profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Literally, hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba’s churches and homes.

From Mount Nebo’s windswept promontory, overlooking the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho and the distant hills of Jerusalem, Moses viewed the Holy Land of Canaan that he would never enter. He died and was buried in Moab, “in the valley opposite Beth-Peor” (Deuteronomy 34:6). His tomb remains unknown. After consulting the Oracle, Jeremiah reportedly hid the Ark of the Covenant, the Tent and the Altar of Incense at Mount Nebo. Mount Nebo became a place of pilgrimage for early Christians from Jerusalem and a small church was built there in the 4th century to commemorate the end of Moses’ life. Some of the stones from that church remain in their original place in the wall around the apse area. The church was subsequently expanded in the 5th and 6th centuries into the present-day large basilica with its stunning collection of Byzantine mosaics. The Serpentine Cross, which stands just outside the sanctuary, is symbolic of the bronze (or brazen) serpent taken by Moses into the desert and the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. In addition to Bethany Beyond the Jordan and Mount Nebo, there are three other holy sites in Jordan that were designated by the Vatican as Millennium 2000 pilgrimage sites.

The fort itself is a dark maze of stone-vaulted halls and endless passageways. The best-preserved are underground, and to be reached through a massive door (ask at the ticket office). The castle in itself is more imposing than beautiful, though it is all the more impressive as an example of the Crusaders’ architectural military genius. Karak’s most famous occupant was Reynald de Chatillon, whose reputation for treachery, betrayal and brutality is unsurpassed. When Baldwin II died, his son, a 13-year-old leper, sued for peace with Saladin. The Leper King, however, died without an heir, and in stepped Reynald, who succeeded in winning the hand of Stephanie, the wealthy widow of Karak’s assassinated regent. He promptly broke the truce with Saladin, who returned with a huge army, ready for war. Reynald and King Guy of Jerusalem led the Crusader forces and suffered a massive defeat. Reynald was taken prisoner and beheaded by Saladin himself, marking the beginning of the decline in Crusader fortunes. The castle was enlarged with a new west wing added by the Ayyubids and Mameluks.

The ancient city of Petra is one of Jordan’s national treasures and by far its best known tourist attraction. Located approximately three hours south of Amman, Petra is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that enchants visitors from all corners of the globe. Much of Petra’s appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge. The site is accessed by walking through a kilometre long chasm (or siq), the walls of which soar 200m upwards. Petra’s most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the Siq. Used in the final sequence of the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” the towering façade of the Treasury is only one of myriad archaeological wonders to be explored at Petra. Various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls,temples, arched gateways, colonnaded streets and haunting rock drawings – as well as a 3,000 seat open air theatre, a gigantic 1st century Monastery and a modern archeological museum, all of which can be explored at leisure. A modest shrine commemorating the death of Aaron, brother of Moses, was built in the 13th century by the Mamluk Sultan, high atop mount Aaron in the Sharah range.

 

The moonlike landscape of Wadi Rum is unique to the world. The desert of Rum is dotted with massive mountains, coloured in shades of red, yellow, and orange. Their hues spill over to colour the sand dunes around the desert and the horizon of its breathtaking panorama. This is a place where you can become one with nature, where visitors are humbled by the towering mountains and overwhelmed by the serenity and quiet ambiance of this magnificent place. The eco-system of Wadi Rum holds many rare and endemic plants. Spring reveals hundreds of species of wild flowers. About 120 bird species have been recorded in the area, including the Griffon Vulture, the Fan-Tailed Raven, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Hume’s Tawny Owl. Baseline surveys show the existence of the Grey Wolf, Blandford’s Fox, the Sand Cat, and the Ibex within the area. One activity which keeps attracting thrill-seekers to Wadi Rum is mountain climbing. Ascents can range from simple hikes to serious 900m climbs up sheer granite and sandstone cliffs.

( Umm Qays) and Pella (Tabaqit Fahl) were once Decapolis cities, and each has unique appeal. Perched on a splendid hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, Umm Qays boasts impressive ancient remains, such as the stunning black basalt theatre, the basilica and adjacent courtyard strewn with nicely carved black sarcophagi, the colonnaded main street and a side street lined with shops, an underground mausoleum, two baths, a nymphaeum, a city gate and the faint outlines of what was a massive hippodrome.

Pella is exceptionally rich in antiquities, some of which are exceedingly old. Besides the excavated ruins from the Graeco-Roman period, Pella offers visitors the opportunity to see the remains of Chalcolithic settlement from the 4th millennium BC, evidence of Bronze and Iron Age walled cities, Byzantine churches, early Islamic residential quarters and a small medieval mosque.

At 410m below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth. Jordan’s Dead Sea coast is one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, and it remains as enticing to international visitors today as it was to kings, emperors, traders, and prophets in antiquity. A large amount of investment in the area has provided the Dead Sea with new roads making the new and luxurious 5 star hotels like the Movenpick Hotel and Resort, the Jordan Valley Marriott, the Kempenski Ishtar Hotel, and the 4 star Dead Sea Spa Hotel easily accessible. The main attraction of the Dead Sea is of course the soothing, abnormally salty water itself. The salt content of the water is 31.5% making the water so buoyant that it is impossible for the visitor to sink. The water also contains 21 minerals including high levels of magnesium, sodium, potassium, and bromine and 12 of these minerals are found in no other body of water in the world.