JORDAN - THE KING'S HIGHWAY

Day 1 – Sunday 1st June 2014
Today we fly from London Heathrow Airport to Jordan with Royal Jordanian. On arrival we take our private transfer to our superior rooms in the first-class Kempinski Amman Hotel in the heart of the city. We check in for three nights on room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 – City and Castles
This morning we have a city tour. We drive to Jabal al-Qal’a to explore the Citadel with its numerous Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic remains, before heading to the Roman Theatre set in to the side of the mountain to accommodate over five thousand people. We also take a tour of the excellent National Archaeology Museum. We head out of the city towards Kharana. This lovely building, standing isolated in the desert is a caravanserai rather than a true castle but served as protection against brigands in medieval times. We have a relaxing buffet lunch at a local restaurant in Azraq before entering the castle built by the Romans in the third century AD. This fortification with its dark basalt walls was used by T.E. Lawrence during the fight against the Ottoman Empire. On our way back to the city we stop at Amra to view one of the best known desert castles in eastern Jordan. Only the foundations of the castle remain but a summer residence and bathing house are notable for the frescoes on the ceilings. A representation of the zodiac and some more scandalous pictures have survived for hundreds of years. We return to our hotel in Amman. (BL)

Day 3 – Jerash
After breakfast we drive straight to the city of Jerash, ancient Gerasa. One of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. Standing on one of the ancient world’s trade routes the city has been inhabited for nearly five thousand years but it was in the 1st and 2nd centuries that it attained its most glorious period. We have plenty of time to visit all the main elements, the Tetrapylon, Temple of Artemis, Arch of Hadrian, Colonnades, Theatre, Forum and much more. We have a lunch at the Lebanese Restaurant in Jerash before continuing to the medieval town of Ajlun with its 12th Century hilltop fortress with beautifully preserved towers, galleries and staircases. (BL)

Day 4 – The King’s Highway
We begin with the drive to Mt Nebo where there are magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Here Moses looked over the Jordan River towards Palestine, across the Sinai towards the Promised Land. We stop in the city of Madaba where we see the 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land in the Church of St George. Our journey continues with time to stop and admire the view and take photographs of Wadi Mujib, Jordan’s Grand Canyon. Lunch today will be at Kings Castle Kerak Restaurant. At Kerak we will explore the ruins of the great castle with its seemingly insurmountable defences. On to Shobak another castle in the great chain of Crusader fortresses that stretches across Jordan. Perched on a small hill we see ruins of baths, cisterns, rainwater pipes and millstones. Late afternoon we arrive at Petra and check in to the Marriott Petra Hotel for three nights on room and half board basis. (BLD)

Day 5 – Petra and the High Place
Today we are to experience one of the  greatest of archaeological experiences, turning that last bend in the Siq, the narrow chasm that leads into Petra, and seeing the magnificent Treasury through a giant fissure in the rock, it takes the breath away! The Nabataeans carved this enormous site from the solid rock of the mountain. Our journey today will concentrate on the beautiful and unusual. We enter the first part of the city and then take a sharp left to climb the long staircase that leads to the High Place of Sacrifice. From here, Petra is laid out in front of us. In the distance, we can see Aaron’s tomb and the mountains beyond. We then begin a descent but by a different path. A series of winding staircases takes us down into the Wadi Farasa and the most beautiful colour sandstone formations to be found in Petra. Here, too, we find the exquisite Garden Tomb, as well as the Roman Soldier Tomb and the Triclinium. Back on the main city floor there is time for a rest or perhaps lunch for those that wish. Later our tour of the site continues, before we meet up for the return to our hotel. (BD)

Day 6 – The Central City
Once again we descend into the Siq and out into ‘The Rose Red City’. Today we will concentrate on the Royal Tombs, the Theatre and the Cardo with its splendid temples. After a rest those who wish to, can join us and ascend the long staircase up to the Monastery, el Deir. Five minutes further and you reach ‘the view at the end of the world’ out over part what is, in fact, the northern end of the Great Rift Valley. Alternatively take more time to gently wander the city itself. As there will be free time at the site we will meet at a pre-arranged time for the ride back to the hotel. (BD)

Day 7 – Wadi Rum
Our day begins at Little Petra, a northern suberb of Petra with a myriad of rock chambers, rock-cut stairs and cisterns to be explored. We continue to Beidha a Neolithic village first excavcated in the 1950’s. This area is famous for its wonderful Rose Finches and we will spend some time here.  We then head to the famous Wadi Rum also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon,’ where we will have lunch at the Sun City Wadi Rum Tourist Camp. We transfer to local vehicles for our desert drive. Best known for the connection to T.E.Lawrence we will of course explore the rock formations known as the ‘Seven Pillars’ named after Lawrence’s book, ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.’ We stop at Lawrence’s Well, the Bridges, and Khaz’ali Canyon where we see  petroglyphs etched into the rock dating back hundreds of years. After our adventure in Wadi Rum we drive to the Dead Sea where we check in to our superior rooms at the Marriott Dead Sea Resort and Spa for two nights on room and breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 8 – Dead Sea
At 400 metres below sea level this is the lowest point on earth. One of the world’s first health resorts, the Dead Sea is a salt lake with over 30% salinity and its main tributary is the Jordan River. Today there is plenty of time to enjoy the healing and calming mineral rich waters of the sea, take a spa treatment or perhaps just lounge by the pool. Whatever your choice take time to relax and enjoy the amazing natural elements of this sea so devoid of life. (B)

Day 9 – Monday 9th June 2014
An early start as we check out of our hotel and drive to Amman. On arrival we board our Royal Jordanian flight to London arriving later the same day. (B)

 

(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

 

JORDAN-THE KING'S HIGHWAY

DEPARTURE DATE  Sunday 1st June 2014 

TOUR CODE AWJO 010614

 

BASIC HOLIDAY PRICE: £2,165

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £303

LAND ONLY DISCOUNT: £450  (If you arrange your own flights)

 

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