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The sights of Jordan are architectural monuments, beautiful landscapes, rich cultural heritage and countless stories of all kinds. To get acquainted with them, one vacation is not enough. Let's consider what to see in Jordanif you came to this country for the first time.
What to see in Jordan in the first place
When deciding how to spend a holiday in this ancient country, please note that excursions in Jordan may involve moving to other countries. In addition, at some tourist sites (mainly of religious significance) there are certain rules for visiting tourists that must be followed.
1. Ajlun Castle (Ajlun)
< /p> Ajlun Castle on top of a mountain
An interesting example of a historical landmark in Jordan is the Ajlun Castle. They say that once there was a monastery on the site of the castle, and the monk Ajlun lived in it, whose name gave the name to the building. In appearance, it resembles a square and has several architectural elements reminiscent of its military purpose:
- a large moat; drawbridge; massive walls; Gates; 4 big towers.
Inside, the castle is a labyrinth of endless staircases, corridors, and huge rooms. There are also more than a dozen water storage tanks and a stone bath for the owner.
Climbing the castle walls, you can see the endless Jordanian expanses. It was at them that the guards peered, trying to determine whether they were in danger or not. Tourists will also be able to see the Dead Sea and the Jordan. You can get to the castle through the preserved bridge.
During recent excavations under the building, archaeologists found a church. And this means that the legend about the monk and the monastery in which he lived may turn out to be true.
2. King Abdullah I Mosque (Amman)
King Abdullah I Mosque
Excursions to Amman usually include a visit to the King Abdullah I Mosque, built in the capital in the eighties last century. This is the only Islamic temple in Amman where non-Muslims can enter.
The peculiarity of the temple is that there is a polygon at its base, and the top is crowned with a dome of huge diameter – 35 meters. The domes are decorated with a blue color, which symbolizes the blue of the sky, and the golden rays of the sun illuminate the 99 names of the Muslim god.
The building is also beautiful inside. In the central hall, tourists see a luxurious crystal chandelier with inscriptions from the Koran.
The section where women can pray is located to the right of the main mosque and can accommodate half a thousand people.
In memory of King Abdullah I, a museum has been set up in the mosque, where you can see the personal belongings of the ruler, his photographs, as well as various ceramic products , coins, stone engravings.
3. Dead Sea
Healing Dead Sea
Amazing and unusual nature – that's what everyone should definitely see in Jordan. Many people know about the Dead Sea – a very salty and healing reservoir. What is special about it?
In another way, this sea is called Salty or Asphalt. The reservoir is located in a valley that extends between the mountains of Moath and Judah. Due to a deep fault in the ground, the sea, as it were, “sank” more than 400 m below the level of the world's oceans. In fact, this is not even a sea, but a large lake that has no outlet to the ocean. It is fed by the Jordan River and underground mineral springs.
The Dead Sea coast is very popular among tourists. And this is not surprising, because it has healing properties:
- Mineral waters improve blood circulation, smooth the skin, saturate the body with useful substances. Air masses coming from the Indian Ocean calm the nervous system and fill the body with oxygen. Even the sun on the Dead Sea has an exceptionally beneficial effect on a person. Doctors recommend sunbathing here up to 8 hours a day. Therapeutic mud has no analogues on the whole planet. They rejuvenate the body and prolong the life cycle of each cell.
The Dead Sea must be part of your travel itinerary in Jordan.
4. Amman Citadel (Amman)
The sights of Jordan are, first of all, the history of the state, its secrets and mysteries. One of them is the Amman Citadel or the Fortress Hill. Tourists who have already visited this place believe that it must become part of the route. This applies even to those who do not like history, because the citadel is a unique opportunity to become a part of the past, at least for a few minutes, which is incomprehensibly intertwined with reality.
The structure, rightfully called the heart of Amman, consists of three parts:
- the ruins of the Temple of Hercules; Byzantine church; ruins of the Umayyad palace.
But the main attraction is the archaeological museum. It attracts not only historians and scientists, but also travelers from all over the world. It is in this place that you can see the Qumran scrolls, containing texts from the Bible.
In other parts of the citadel, mosaics and Corinthian columns are on display for tourists. All of them were found and restored by scientists. When climbing the Fortress Hill, you should pay attention to the huge amphitheater. Once upon a time, up to 6,000 people gathered there to watch gladiator fights.
The Amman Citadel is a part of Jordanian history that played a big role in the development of modern life.
5. The ancient city of Petra (Wadi Musa Valley)
Ancient impregnable city-fortress of Petra
Guides in Petra highly recommend visiting the remains of the ancient city of Petra, lost in the sandy mountains in the Valley of Moses. The city of Petra can be safely included in the list of the most beautiful places in the world. Why does it attract travelers so much?
According to scientists, Petra was carved into the rocks about 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. It took more than 5 centuries to build it. During this time, the city was able to become an important trading center. This was facilitated by the fact that it was located at the intersection of several trade routes.
Petra is surrounded by rocks, and you can get here only through a small collapse. It is this collapse that can be seen in one of the films about Indiana Jones. According to legend, Moses passed through these lands when he led his people out of Egyptian slavery. Here he struck with his staff, which led to the formation of a gorge.
There is a lot to see in the city. Tourists are waiting for about 800 attractions: temples, tombs, columns, an amphitheater, palaces, canals and much more. And all this is carved out of stone.
One of the priests said that Petra is a city of the color of red roses, that it is as ancient as time. That is why visiting the ruins of the city of Petra is like taking a trip into the past. Only rare sights of Jordan give such an opportunity.
Official website: http://www.visitpetra.jo/
Check out the beautiful places in Jordan in this great video!
6. The ancient city of Jerash (northern Jordan)
Oval forum in the ancient city of Jerash
What to visit in Jordan to better understand the history and lifestyle of its inhabitants? The city of Jerash is second in popularity after Petra. And this is not surprising, because people have been living here for 6,500 years.
In 63 BC. the city was conquered by Pompey and became part of the Roman Decapolis. The time of its heyday was the years under the rule of Rome. Then Jerash was called Gerasa. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was hidden in the sands. Archaeologists managed not only to find the city, but also to restore its streets paved with stone, temples located on the hills, amphitheaters, baths, magnificent fountains, etc.
Jerash is a harmonious combination of two cultures: eastern and western. This is reflected in all areas of urban life: in architecture, in the religious views of the inhabitants and in the local linguistic diversity.
Tourists who decide to visit Jerash in July will be able to attend the annual festival. Various performances are held here around the clock. The most popular are dances, performances of opera singers, musical compositions. In addition, everyone has the opportunity to watch the competitions of speakers and poets, as well as see the products of local artisans and artists.
Jerash and other sights of Jordan are part of the historical heritage of all the inhabitants of the Earth. Therefore, they deserve attention and respect.
7. Wadi Rum Desert (Aqaba)
Wadi Rum Desert
If you want to visit Jordan's natural attractions, head to the Wadi Rum Desert in the south of the country. This place is known for its unique landscapes, reminiscent of Martian. Here, at the beginning of the last century, the uprising of the Arabs against the Turks took place, and today Hollywood blockbusters (The Martian, Transformers) are filmed in the desert.
At the entrance to the desert, visitors are greeted by a stone ridge called the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It was about them that the book was written by the British Thomas Lawrence, who participated in the war in the ranks of the Bedouins. Nearby is the Khazali canyon with rock paintings.
No less impressive objects in the desert are natural arches. Their bizarre forms were formed under the influence of rain and wind. In the source of Ain-Shellala, you can draw clean water, which always remains cool.
There are several Bedouin settlements on the territory of Wadi Rum. Indigenous people accompany tourists, acquaint them with their culture and way of life. In the Bedouin camp, you can take a break from the heat, try national dishes and listen to local music.
You can get to the desert by camel or off-road vehicle. Climbing and camping require a permit.
8. Archaeological Museum (Amman)
Archaeological Museum in Amman
To see the historical sights of Jordan, you should definitely visit the archaeological museum located in the capital of the country. The cultural heritage of the country for several millennia has been collected under the roof of the museum.
Before deciding what to visit in Jordan, you should get acquainted with the history and culture of the country. The museum has finds preserved from the Paleolithic period. The most valuable are the plaster statues of Ain Ghazal, made 6 thousand years ago. They depict ancient people with tattoos on their bodies.
In the museum you can see unique ancient scrolls. Artifacts were found by shepherds in the middle of the last century near the Dead Sea. They contain the text of the Bible and descriptions of the underground vaults in Hebrew and other ancient languages. The records were made two thousand years ago.
The Archaeological Museum invites you to plunge into history up to the 16th century. There are household items made of glass, stone and metal, statues and jewelry. Of particular interest is the collection of coins from different periods.
The museum is open to the public every day, except for Sundays. Children are entitled to free admission, students are given a discount.
9. Qasr Amr Palace in the Jordanian Desert (Amman)
Qasr Amr Palace in the Jordanian Desert
The historical sights of Jordan attract tourists from all over the world. One of them is the palace of Qasr Amr, located in the Jordanian desert. This is the former residence of Caliph Walid I, built in the 8th century for hunting and entertainment.
To this day, from a huge complex of buildings, including a fort and a guard post, only the foundation has remained. The bath complex, which is called the Caliph's palace, is quite well preserved. There is a deep well in the courtyard, the water from which was raised with the help of a cunning device.
The building has a special room for audiences and numerous halls. Medieval frescoes depicting noble and common people, animals, hunting scenes and everyday life are painted on its walls. The uniqueness of the frescoes lies in the fact that in Islam it is actually forbidden to depict drawings with animals and people on the walls. In Qasr Amr there are whole series of images that follow the same plot. A special wall was erected to protect the bathhouse from floods.
Qasr Amr Palace is one of the main items on the list of things to see in Jordan. This unique cultural monument proves that exceptions are possible even in strict rules.
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Water cascade at the hot springs of Main
The thermal springs of Main, located near the Dead Sea, have been known since the time of the Roman Empire. According to biblical legends, the Jewish king Herod bathed here.
Main springs are located 264 m below sea level. You can get here along the road, serpentine descending deep into the canyon. From above, an unforgettable view of the Dead Sea opens up, and as you descend, you will be accompanied by waterfalls cascading from basalt rocks. Due to its geographical location, the resort has a unique microclimate. The air temperature here is always 10°C higher than in other parts of Jordan. Therefore, you can relax and be treated here all year round.
At the bottom of the canyon there are many hot springs saturated with minerals. Water from these sources has a rejuvenating effect on the body.
For the convenience of vacationers, a chic five-star hotel with its own health-improving complex was built here. Highly qualified specialists will help you enjoy the full range of services: massages, baths, swimming pools, beauty salons and much more.
Main springs, like other sights of Jordan, are a national treasure.
< em>Official website: http://www.mainhotsprings.com/
Jordan attractions: what else to visit while in Jordan
There are many more places to visit when visiting this amazing region. It is safer and more convenient if you always have guides in Jordan with you, who will not only tell you about the history of the country and take care of transport and paying for museum entrances, but also tell you how to behave in accordance with local traditions.
11. Roman Amphitheater (Amman)
Roman amphitheater in Amman
Some sights of Jordan are better than any books can give an idea of the old days. It is to such monuments of the past that the Roman amphitheater in Amman belongs. The grandeur of this building is amazing. When you see it, you feel awe, imagining the events that once took place here in the arena.
The uniqueness of the amphitheater lies in the fact that it is carved into a monolithic rock and has 44 rows of seats. At the same time, the theater can accommodate 6,000 people, which is surprising for such a small town as Amman. Even today, various entertainment events are held here, and the theater easily accommodates everyone.
The amphitheater was built during the reign of Antony Pius in 138-161 AD to celebrate the visit of Amman by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Ancient architects designed the amphitheater in such a way that it was facing north, and the sun never interfered with the audience watching the performance. Underground there is a system of tunnels leading to the main fortress of the city, which allowed local rulers to freely attend performances.
Anyone who has been here will recommend that you definitely visit the Roman Amphitheater in Jordan when traveling in the Middle East.
12. Mujib Nature Reserve (Dead Sea)
The picturesque gorge of the Mujib reserve
What to see in Jordan while traveling around the Dead Sea? Be sure to visit the Mujib reserve, which is located in a picturesque gorge, which goes around the Dead Sea on the western side, and rests on the peaks of Madaba and Karaka on the eastern side. Throughout this space, the height difference varies up to 1300 m. Thanks to this factor and the presence of many water sources, a unique ecosystem has formed here.
This nature reserve was established in 1987 and, despite its relatively small area, it amazes with a variety of flora and fauna: more than 100 species of birds, more than 400 plant species and 10 animal species. Such representatives of the Red Book as ibexes, red foxes and caracals live here.
To fully appreciate the beauty of this landmark of Jordan, five routes around the reserve have been developed for tourist excursions, along which you can travel both on foot and by bike. Permission to visit the reserve is issued by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, which organizes excursions and increases the population of animals living here.
13. El-Karak Fortress (Karak city)
< /p> The wall of the western facade of the fortress of El-Karak at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level in western Jordan
When planning where to relax and what to see in Jordan, pay attention to the El-Karak fortress, located at an altitude of 1 km above sea level. From the top of the castle walls, there is a beautiful view of the picturesque valley leading to the Dead Sea.
The history of this landmark of Jordan begins in 1142, when the city of Karak was captured by the Crusaders. In order to firmly gain a foothold in the conquered city, it was decided to build a fortress here. This place was not chosen by chance. It was here that the main trade route from Syria to Arabia passed. It took 20 years to build the castle, and in 1161 it was decided to make the city the capital of the kingdom of Transjordan.
Since then, the fortress has changed many owners and has undergone some changes. The fortress of El-Karak is not famous for its beauty and grace of forms. It is of interest as an example of the military architecture of the Crusader era. The fortress has many huge halls with stone vaults, long corridors and a system of tunnels several floors below.
In 1980, the Karak Archaeological Museum was created here, among the exhibits of which are objects related to different periods of the history of Karak. Some fragments date back to the 6th millennium BC.
14. Royal Automobile Museum (Amman)
Exhibits at the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman Ankur P
Luxury cars from the collection of the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman Ankur P
The Royal Automobile Museum in Amman is one of the most interesting museums in the country, where Jordan is revealed from a new perspective, through the prism of the automotive industry. It is one of the world's finest motorcycle and automobile expositions, founded by King Abdullah as a tribute to the past King Hussein after his death, and today, looking at historical and rare models, one can appreciate the passion of the former monarch. This place is especially delightful for motorists, because here are dozens of the rarest cars that have been produced in limited editions since the beginning of the last century. Here you can meet the royal Lincoln Capri, in which Hussein came to the coronation, and the Cadillac, once presented to the king, and numerous Ferraris and Porsches. The journey through time begins with the exact replicas of the first invented car and motorcycle, the attention is drawn to the design of the unique amphibious car and the shining models of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
15. National Gallery of Fine Arts (Amman)
Entrance to the National Gallery of Fine Arts in the Jordanian city of Amman Rami Tarawneh
The small but impressive building of the 1979 Fine Arts Gallery is rightfully respected and popular in the tourist environment, because it is here that you can get an idea of Jordanian art, painting, ceramics and sculpture. Once a small collection of 50 exhibits, over the years it has grown into a huge exhibition with more than 2,000 works of art from all over the Middle East. The National Gallery patronizes the development of contemporary art in Jordan and other developing countries, so the practice here is to showcase the work of young and still unknown masters – this opens the way to the art world for new talents. Often there is an exchange of exhibitions with galleries in other countries, and a demonstration of local works abroad, and seminars on national culture and art. The gallery has a cozy art cafe, which will allow you to diversify your impressions and relax during the tour.
16. Dana Biosphere Reserve (Jordan)
Landscape the largest Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan
There are many picturesque nature reserves in the Middle East, one of them is the largest natural reserve in Jordan, Dana. This is a real treasury of natural rarities, which are presented in areas where valleys and mountains alternate, ranging from the high landscapes of the Rift Valley to the low-lying desert of Wadi Araba. This unique place concentrated in itself 4 geographical zones at once – the Mediterranean, Sudanese, Iranian and Sahara-Arab. About eight hundred species of plants grow on the lands of the reserve, about 3 hundred species of animals and 2 hundred species of birds live, about a hundred archeological monuments have been discovered. Among other things, Dana is also a great region for hiking, so a network of various routes has been laid across its territory, from small ones that take several hours to long ones, for a couple of days, including spending the night in tourist camps and campsites equipped here.
17. Montreal Castle (Shobak) (35 km from Petra)
The ruins of the castle of Montreal (Shobak) on the slope of a rocky conical mountain in the Bernard Gagnon valley
The Jordanian lands are extremely rich in ancient forts, castles, caravanserais, and most of these structures were built in the era of the Crusades. Christian knights built castles on the lands conquered from Muslims, which today are united by one name – the castles of the Crusaders, and today visiting them is one of the most interesting destinations for tourists who are interested in Jordan. Petra keeps one of these treasures in its surroundings – Shobak Castle rises at a proud kilometer height. It was erected in the 12th century in a strategically important place where the paths of merchants and pilgrims ran. And today, after many centuries, visitors are amazed by the power of this colossus, its giant triple walls and huge gates. But even these most powerful fortifications, a few decades later, fell under the onslaught of the troops of the famous Sultan of Syria and Egypt – Saladin. Then the castle was abandoned by the crusaders, and later it was rebuilt by the Mamluks, and only at the end of the last century did archaeological research start in these territories.
18. City of Aqaba (Jordan)
Flagpole on the waterfront of the resort town of Aqaba on the Red Sea in Jordan
In the very south of the country there are attractive places to see in Jordan, Aqaba is one of them. The Jordanian window to the sea is often called this resort town, which is located on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. After constant trips through the deserted Jordanian lands, Aqaba will literally become a breath of fresh air – clean sea air will have a beneficial effect on the body, and the Red Sea will be wrapped in the warmth of emerald waters. Aqaba has gained particular popularity among diving enthusiasts – the amazingly beautiful underwater world of the bay attracts thousands of people to these parts who want not only to improve their health, but also to engage in outdoor activities. The best time to visit Aqaba is the period from October to April – during these months, Jordan, whose weather is optimal for adapting to the new climate, provides the widest opportunities for recreation. Among the sights of Aqaba, it is worth highlighting the Mamluk fortress, the monastery complex in the cave of Lot and the Mujib reserve.
19. Umm Qais (Gadara) (northern Jordan)
Terrace with columns in the ancient city of Gadara in northern Jordan Ankur P
Western theater of the 2nd century AD of the ancient city of Umm Qais (Gadara) in northern Jordan
A hundred kilometers north of Amman, on a high cape, is the city of Umm Qais, which is especially famous for its views. From here, unique panoramas of the Dutch Heights, the Yarmuk River and Lake Tiberias, known from the Bible, open up – it was here that Jesus Christ cast out demons from two possessed men, sending evil spirits into a herd of pigs. Since antiquity, Umm Qais has occupied a strategically important position, famous for its fertile lands, and during the reign of Augustus it was a cosmopolitan center where famous poets, artists, scientists and philosophers gathered. Today, no description can convey the charm and attractiveness of the former Gadara – despite the numerous destructions that the earthquake brought, many interesting objects have been preserved here: the remains of a Byzantine church of the 6th century, the ruins of amphitheatres, the main street framed by a colonnade, a forum, a fountain, an underground mausoleum and a hippodrome. An archaeological museum operates in one of the old houses.
20. The ruins of Umm al-Jimal (north-east of Jordan)
Remains of buildings of the Greco-Roman city Umm al-Jimal from black basalt in northeast Jordan
The “Black Pearl” is called Umm al-Jimal, a large-scale monument in the form of an entire Greco-Roman city, all the buildings of which are made of black basalt. Once it was the main stopping point of the caravan route passing through the Syrian desert. Today, numerous stone ruins remain from the once prosperous city, which date back to around the 2nd century BC. – here you can discern the remains of churches, city gates and barracks, stone tombs, and around the ruins there is a modern settlement that exists, despite the aridity of local soils, thanks to agriculture. The village itself arose as a suburb of the ancient capital of Nabatia – Bostra. In the 8th c. AD there was a major earthquake that destroyed Bostra and all nearby towns and villages, and the ruins remained untouched for more than a millennium, until a community arose in the last century to protect the ancient city and study this region.
21. Caliph desert palaces ( Jordan)
Qasr Harran – one of the thirty Caliph palaces in the eastern part of the desert in Jordan
Sandy landscapes and bizarre landscapes reveal eastern Jordan. The photo here is not complete without the characteristic views of the caliph's palaces, built of multi-colored sandstone. Desert Palaces is the name given to the complex of fortifications located east of Amman along the roads leading to the borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. About thirty residences, decorated with ancient mosaics and frescoes, have survived here – once the palaces were buried in the greenery of gardens, which were irrigated with the help of irrigation facilities, and some elements of these systems have survived to this day. In fact, the Palaces are a generalized concept of a complex of forts, farms, centers of trade and resting places for trade caravans built in the 7th-8th centuries AD. All these buildings were erected in the era of the Umayyads, who, by the way, were distinguished by harsh methods of government, so they were not favored either in the Middle East or in Europe. As a result, this dynasty was cleaned up, and the most significant monuments of their era were partially destroyed.
22. Royal Tank Museum (Amman)
Visitors to the Royal Tank Museum in Amman, Jordan, Freedom's Falcon
American and British tanks in Freedom's Falcon Royal Tank Museum
Large exhibition hall at the Royal Tank Museum in Amman Freedom's Falcon
Another museum in the Jordanian capital is of great interest both among tourists and among everyone who is interested in the military history of Jordan over the past century, namely its technical side. This is the royal tank museum, which can be called the only one of its kind in the Arab world, presenting one of the world's largest expositions of tanks. It was opened quite recently – at the beginning of 2018, and on its huge area of 20 thousand square meters there are 110 tank and armored vehicles that have been used over the past century in Jordan and in the surrounding regions. Here, for example, you can see the equipment that was used in the Iran-Iraq war and in a number of armed conflicts between the Arab states and Israel. There are vehicles provided by Azerbaijan – they were used during the Karabakh war. Of particular interest is the technique of the Second World War, which was used by Nazi Germany.
Official website: http://rtm.
23. Children's Museum of Jordan ( Amman)
Part of the interactive exhibits of the Children's Museum in Amman in the open air Freedom's Falcon
The Children's Museum was established in 2007 on the initiative of the wife of the Jordanian king. This is a very fascinating exposition of one and a half hundred exhibits, divided into age categories and located both in the museum and in the open air. There is, for example, a miniature model of the city, departments for the study of ancient times, the human body, space, optics, light, and other interesting places. Young visitors are given the opportunity to make interesting discoveries through the game, through various experiments and research. A wide variety of educational games, exciting items and interactive programs allows you to organize a creative game through construction, craft, science and other areas of knowledge, and the museum library will encourage children to read. A visit to the souvenir shop will leave no questions about what to bring from Jordan – here the little guests can choose a memorabilia for themselves.
Official website: http://www.cmj.
24. Diving in Aqaba (Jordan)
Diving is one of the main attractions for tourists in the city of Aqaba
The Red Sea is rich in inhabitants and picturesque reefs
Aqaba has warm water all year round and excellent visibility. Due to the wide variety of diving sites, this is a great place for both beginners and experienced divers. In the diving centers of Aqaba, you can dive with experienced instructors and look at outlandish marine life, as well as admire the picturesque reefs of the Red Sea.
25. Vifawara (Jordan River)
The supposed site of the Baptism of Jesus Christ on the east bank of the Jordan River in Jordan Jan Smith
As you know, most of the historical monuments associated with the life and preaching of Jesus Christ are located in Israel. But there are such places in Jordan – according to the Gospel, it was on the banks of the Jordan that John the Baptist performed the rite of baptism of the Son of God. More precisely, it happened near Bethany Transjordan, and today there are several villages with this name. However, Christians have already confirmed long-standing scientific arguments that the true place of baptism is located in Bethavary – today it is revered by both Catholics and Orthodox. Bethavara is an area on the banks of the Jordan River, which flows exactly along the border of the states of Israel and Jordan. The sea is located only 8 kilometers from here, and in the place where the Jordan flows into it, there was a river crossing, with which the gospel tradition of Baptism is associated. Over the millennia, the Jordan has changed its course many times, so a separate artificial reservoir with marble steps has been created here for baptism – the ruins of 20 ancient temples located nearby testify to the sanctity of this place. Near Jordan is the “Holy Land” – the country of Israel. While in Jordan, consider visiting this country as well. Read about the sights of Israel and get inspired for your further journey through the countries of the Middle East!