I’m no Arab history buff (shame on me), but Jordan’s got some history on it in every possible way. Sometime around this time in 2009, me and a couple of friends drove around the Kingdom in 3 days. In the dead of winter. When selfies were non existent.
Day 1: Amman to Dead Sea. That’s like a 50 minutes drive. But, it took us 8 hours because we drove up north to the ruins of the Roman City Jerash and back south to Madaba, known for its famous mosaic map of Jerusaleum in the 6th century. We then drove to Mount Nebo and looked out to the Holy Land. The air was clear, so we lucked out and saw the oldest populated and aromatic city of Jericho or Ariha from above, which goes back to 10,000 BC!
Day 2: Dead Sea to Wadi Rum in the far far south. We were up early and went down to do the most cliche of the cliches. Read paper on dead sea. We didn’t have to, but who knew when we would be back. 5 years later, and the dead sea butterflies are still out of juice. So we covered ourselves in dead sea mud and along with a few other tourists walked in the cold water, turned around, laid back and just floated. An exciting one in a life time experience. It took no more than 10 minutes until our excitement sunk in and we hit the Desert Highway, one of the most gorgeous desert drives in the world. We stopped by Kerak Castle, a fortress constructed by the Crusaders in the 1140s AD. 8 hours later, and TOTALLY OFF SEASON, we were the only ones at the camp site. The bright sky was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my LIFE. Full of stars, it looked like a fake observatory. I saw so many shooting stars on this unbelievable night, temperature at minus something. Unprepared, I wore everything I packed in my suitcase, squeezed my eyes and made a couple of wishes. Yeah.. wishing on a shooting star.. it sure don’t work. Anyway, what a unique eye opening experience it was.
Day 3: Wadi Rum to Petra and back to Amman. We left Wadi Rum’s rose red desert behind us, forgetful that Lawrence of Arabia once traveled here, and set out to Petra, the symbol of Jordan. It was lost until the early 1800s when a Swiss explorer discovered the ancient city carved out of sandstone cliffs, once an affluent capital of the Nabatean empire from 400 BC on wards until the Romans conquered. Was there life before 400 BC? Archeologists are still unearthing evidence of how far Petra dates back to. Believe it or not! Only 15% of the city has been uncovered. We walked along paths and trails devoid of life but indiscreetly exhibited a fascinating architectural insight of empires that once ruled and absorbed the former’s keeping in tact the most advanced water irrigation system built by the Nabateans. Petra was taken over by almost everyone: Nabateans, Romans, Egyptians, Greeks, Arabs, thieves, Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones and now street vendors.
Visiting the Kingdom of Jordan brings to life significant ancient religious episodes, the old and new testaments, and reminders of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations. It’s a shame I don’t know much about the history of its prized location. In order to avoid faking it and doing a two minute read (equivalent to 3 turbo tour days) on Jordan’s ENTIRE HISTORY, that goes back to the Paleolithic Period, I will stop. From a Financier’s perspective, it’s not just about Petra and the Dead Sea. Get out there and explore!