Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts ? a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley.
In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city's much older past.
The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewellery to everyday household items.
The people of Amman are multi-cultural, multi-denominational, well educated and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed.
Petra the world wonder, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is without doubt Jordan's most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes.
Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1 kilometre in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80 metres high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colours and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).
This is an awe-inspiring experience. A massive facade, 30m wide and 43m high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink, rock-face and dwarfing everything around it. It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king and represents the engineering genius of these ancient people.
The Treasury is just the first of the many wonders that make up Petra. You will need at least four or five days to really explore most of what this alluring city has to offer. As you enter the Petra valley you will be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place and its outstanding architectural achievements.
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