Both sides of the Jordan River belong to a unique land-bridge joining Africa with Asia and Europe. Both abound in nature and history. On the east side, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has preserved large stretches in their pristine beauty. We can walk through a forest of pillars in Roman Jerash and spend another half day in the real forests around it. We will want a day at Petra, now counted among our world’s seven wonders, but just 40 miles to the south is Jordan’s most stupendous landscape, Wadi Rum: wide valleys flanked by silent twisted giants—mountains rising from an ocean of sand, inviting the hiker.
Jordan is rich in biblical memories. The King’s Highway stretched through it. On a bank of the Jabbok, Jacob wrestled with an angel. In the plains of Moab, Moses addressed the Israelites, and from Mt. Nebo he viewed the Holy Land. We can visit the likely place of Jesus’ baptism, as well as the ruins of the fortress where the Baptist was beheaded. Following in the footsteps of Jesus, we can pass through Decapolis cities like Gadara, Gerasa and Philadelphia – today the bustling Amman. And, for a break, we can enjoy one of the luxurious spa hotels on the Dead, or snorkel in the Red.
Because of its exposure to the desert, this land was often scarce on stability. It had it in the times of the Nabataeans and the Romans, and it has it again under the Hashemite dynasty. Here, then, is a land of contrasts—desert and sown, heights and depths, ancient and modern—a place for anyone who is ready to be amazed by what human beings once accomplished.