Feb 18: Welcome to Jordan! You will be met and assisted upon arrival at QAIA, then transfer to Amman for dinner and overnight at Regency Palace Hotel. (D)
Feb 19: Jordan has been at the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis, in addition to being host to Iraqi and Palestinian refugees over the decades. The kingdom has taken in millions of refugees in need of shelter and aid, some living in refugee camps while others have moved to cities and villages, or unofficial camps. Caravan-Serai Tours is partners with SCM Medical Missions, who provides medical and humanitarian aid to the refugees in Jordan, Greece, and to those being resettled in Washington state. This morning we will visit with the regional manager of SCM in Jordan, learn more about their activities there, and participate in a distribution of humanitarian supplies. This will give you a better picture of how the refugee crisis is affecting Jordan, and better answers when you clients ask you about the situation. In the afternoon, we will have a city tour of Amman. Amman, the capital of Jordan, offers both the old and new. See the Roman Amphitheater followed by the Citadel, the Archaeological Museum, Folklore Museum, and the beautiful King Abdullah Mosque. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Overnight in Amman. (B/D)
Feb 20: After breakfast, we will descend to the lowest point on earth to the shores of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. Just north of the Dead Sea is the site of Bethany, home to John the Baptist and the place where he baptized Jesus. Our tour will take us through the archaeological site to see the remains of the baptismal pools and a Byzantine church, and to the edge of the Jordan River itself. Afterwards we will go to the Dead Sea for swimming and relaxation in the healing waters, then return to Amman for dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the hotel. (B/D)
Feb 21: Today we will explore historical sites in northern Jordan: Jerash, Ajloun, and Um Qais. 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 cities in the world. You will see the Triumphal Arch, the Hippodrome, the Temple of Zeus, the Forum, the mile-long street of Columns, the Nymphaeum, the Temple of Artemis and the Viaduct Church. The Amphitheater is still used for an arts festival and is remarkably well preserved. Ajlun Castle (Qal’at Ar-Rabad) was built by one of Saladin’s generals in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajlun, and to deter the Franks from invading Ajlun. Ajlun Castle dominated the three main routes leading to the Jordan Valley and protected the trade and commercial routes between Jordan and Syria; it became an important link in the defensive chain against the Crusaders, who unsuccessfully spent decades trying to capture the castle and the nearby village. Um Qais, historically known as Gadara was renowned in its heyday as a cultural center. It was the home of several classical poets and philosophers, including Theodorus, founder of the School of Rhetoric in Rome. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, Um Qais has an impressive colonnaded terrace and the ruins of two theaters. You will see a blending of Greco and Roman architecture, as well as remnants of Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations. After our visits we will return to Amman for dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B/D)
Feb 22: After breakfast we will check out and depart Amman to head south to visit Madaba, Mt. Nebo, Kerak, and arrive in Petra. Madaba is best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, located on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. The art of mosaic is still practiced and taught in Madaba and the surrounding area. We continue on to Mt. Nebo, where it is believed Moses stood to view the promised land he could not enter. There is a church at the site of his tomb with amazing mosaics uncovered by archaeologists, and there is a spectacular view over the Jordan Valley from this mountaintop. After our visit here we will continue on to the hilltop crusader fortress of Kerak. Kerak’s most famous occupant was Reynald de Chatillon, whose reputation for treachery, betrayal and brutality is unsurpassed. He broke the truce with Salahdin that led to the defeat of the crusaders, and the fortress itself was later added on to by the Ayyubids and Mameluks. We continue to Petra for dinner and overnight at the Beit Zaman. (B/D)
Feb 23: After breakfast, we will have a full day sightseeing Petra. 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 was built by the Nabataeans who settled in southern Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. Petra was admired for its culture, massive architecture and ingenious water management system, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 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 film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” the towering facade of the Treasury is only one of many wonders at Petra. Explore the site and the buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, colonnaded streets and rock drawings, and a 3,000 seat open air theater. We will have a guide for an orientation of Petra then the rest of the time you will have free to continue exploring on your own. Be sure to wear comfortable and sturdy walking shoes and clothing this day. There is food and beverages available at kiosks around the site. Dinner and overnight at Beit Zaman. (B/D)
Feb 24: Today we will visit the national park of Wadi Rum, a beautiful mountain and desert landscape. We will have a tour of the park by 4×4 vehicle that will take us though the sands, along the rock formations jutting out of the sand, and learn the history of the area, and the people who have lived her over the millennia. We will see rock wall carvings made by prehistoric peoples, and probably see Bedouins who still live in the region today. The place is often referred to as the Valley of the Moon, but it recently has been popular as a location to film movies about Mars, due to its red and pink sands. After our visit we will go to Aqaba for a short visit then return to Madaba for dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Mosaic City Hotel. (B/D)
Feb 25: Departure, transfer to QAIA for your flight home. (B/D)
4 nts in Amman Regency Palace.
2 nts in Petra
1 nt in Madaba Mosaic City.
Recommended flights- if the group arrives together the visa fee is waived:
Feb 17, 2017 RJ 264 ORDAMM 930P 500P
Feb 24, 2017 RJ 263 AMMORD 1110A 415P
Price: $1265 pp/do
Single Supplement: $320