Jordan is surrounded by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Its only narrow opening towards the Red Sea above the Gulf of Aqaba, comprises about 25 km. The total surface counts 89411 km². The country’s western frontier is marked by the depression of the Jordan River, a rift of the Dead Sea whose extension, Wadi Araba, runs down to the Gulf of Aqaba.
Behind the western depression of the Jordan, the Dead Sea and El-Ghor, a depression situated under the sea level (up to 300 meters), the Transjordan Desert Plateau covers most of the country. It inclines gently towards Al-Azzak in the north and towards Al-Jafr in the south before the desert steppe, area of Bedouin traveling, is then extended by the Syrian Desert. In the East of Aqaba you will find the desert of Wadi Ram which reveals the most ancient geologically known stratum of the earth’s crust.
The climate is hot and dry, with average temperatures in the highlands of around 7°C in the winter and 30°C in the summer. The valleys, watered by sources, are relatively fresh and favorable for agriculture. It barely rains but in case it does the downpours can reach up to 600mm in the highlands.
The ancient city of Petra is one of Jordan's national treasures and by far its best known tourist attraction. Located about three hours south of Amman, Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans, who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 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 kilometer long Wadi (or siq), the walls of which soar 200 meters upwards. Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the siq.
A sprawling city spread over 19 hills. Amman is the modern, as well as the ancient capital of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. Often referred to as the white city due to its low size canvas of stone houses, Amman offers a variety of historical sites and modern facilities that is complemented by wonderfully gracious and welcoming people.
Towering above Amman, the site of the earliest fortifications is now subject to numerous excavations which have revealed remains from the Neolithic period as well as from the Hellenistic 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 6000 seat Roman Theatre which is deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and still used for cultural events.
Famed for its preserved coral reefs and unique sea life, this Red Sea port city was, in ancient times, the main port for shipments from the Red Sea to the Far East.
The Mameluk Fort, one of the main historical land marks of Aqaba was originally a Crusader Castle, rebuilt by the Mameluks in the sixteenth century. Square in shape and flanked by semicircular towers, the fort is marked with various inscriptions marking the latter period of the Islamic dynasty.
The trip south from Amman along the 5,000-year-old Kings´ Highway is one of the most memorable journeys in Jordan, 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 colored stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.
Close to the village of Faysaliyah seven kilometers west of Madaba, Mount Nebo rises from the Transjordanian plateau. It is bound on the east by the Wadi Afrit and the Wadi Judeideh further south and on the north by the Wadi en-Naml. It is flanked on the west by the Jordan Valley.
Mount Nebo's highest crest reaches an altitude of 800 meters above the surrounding Belqa plateau. The two most important, historically speaking, are the peaks of Siyagha (710m.) on the western side and the peak of el Mukhayyat (790m.) on the S-E. All the year round several streams flow down the sides of the mountain.
Mt. Nebo provides a unique natural balcony for a bird's-eye view of the Holy Land and southern Jordan. If the observer looks to the south, the panorama extends over the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert. Looking to the west, it includes the Jordan Valley, and more to the north Jebel Osha.