The history of Jordan goes back a long time. Jordan was inhabited as early as the Stone Age. Throughout the ages it has been influenced by Persians, Nabateans, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mamluks and Ottomans.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the Arab tribes fought for their independence. The well-known 'Lawrence of Arabia'. Lawrence, played an important role in this battle. As a result in 1921 Britain recognized Transjordan as an independent state under British mandate. After the Second World War Britain gave up its mandate on Transjordan and Jordan became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Petra and Jerash are the most beautiful reminders of this rich history. Petra was the central meeting point of the Nabatean spice routes, which originated from the Persian Gulf, Western Arabia and the Red Sea. About two thousand years ago Petra became the capital of the Nabatean Empire.
Petra puts your imagination to the test. It's a mystic and glorious place, an eternal tribute to a lost civilization. The natural richness of the mountainous area combines with the refined culture and massive architecture of the Nabateans. They carved their theatre, temples, façades, tombs, monasteries, houses and roads entirely into the natural red-rose sandstone . No wonder Unesco placed Petra on its World Heritage List.
One enters Petra by passing the Siq, a deep and narrow gorge, at the end of which all of a sudden dramatically appears the most famous monument in Petra: al-Khazneh or the Treasury. Many people will recognize the Treasury as the place where the final sequence of the film 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' was staged. But the Treasury is just the start. Walking and climbing in Petra hundreds of buildings carved in stone and eroded through the centuries into fabulous multi-coloured walls will be revealed to you.
North of Amman lies the city of Jerash, sometimes referred to as the Pompei of the East. Jerash was part of the Roman Decapolis, the league of ten cities. It's one of the best preserved Roman towns outside Italy. Its colonnaded streets, baths, theatres, plazas and arches remain in exceptional condition. A walk through Jerash is a journey in time. Can you imagine yourself being a Roman commander entering the town while riding your chariot over the paved stone? Or perhaps an actor staging a play in the amphitheatre? Or a priest leading a procession up the stairs to the Artemis' temple?