The Levant has long been a crossroads for people of the Asian, African and European continents. It is therefore no surprise that it is also a crossroads for other species on the globe. In particular, a great many bird species cross this area regularly and use it as part of their migratory paths each year. As such, this is a wonderful place for those who love to watch not only people but also the creatures of the air. And indeed, the area’s reputation has been growing in that regard, which is why it is now becoming a popular tourist activity to go bird watching in Aqaba, one of the most picturesque and bio-diverse locations in the entirety of the Levant.
The Kingdom of Jordan
The Dead Sea, the Sandstone City of Petra, Antioch on the Golden River or Jerash, Mount Nebo (where Moses stood to see the promised land), the waterside city of Aqaba, the baptismal place of Jesus along the Jordan River, Madaba and its mosaic maps, the cliffs of Wadi Rum. These are some of the greatest attractions of the Levant, and they can all be found in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This wondrous little desert kingdom with its treasures and temptations is also part of the cradle of civilization, which indicates that its role in human history is even greater than might be suspected merely from its presence in the Biblical narratives. This is a land of significance, not just to locals, but possibly even to all the world.
Jordan is a country for the tourist, no doubt about it. A single look at the expanses of sand in its deserts, broken up by the striated walls of the gigantic canyons and their turquoise waters, is enough to convince anyone of the country’s worthiness of a grand expedition of some kind. And of grand expeditions there have been many here. Even Indiana Jones himself has not been able to resist Jordan’s pull, drawn almost magnetically as many still are to Petra.
It may be tempting to think Jordan a world of sand as a result. But this is also a place of blue waters, as travelers discover at the Gulf of Aqaba. In the same way, this is not merely a place of ancient amphitheatres and citadels like those at Amman and Jerash: it is also about the modern buildings, the latest amenities and modern-day palaces. Jordan’s great strength as a tourist spot is its very diversity, and its ability to offer something to everyone while still holding everything together with an undeniable sense of history informing its progress to the future.
The weather in Aqaba is definitely something you should check out first before you head over to the city for a trip. A lot of people may tell you that the city has pleasant weather, but you had best take that advice with a grain of salt: they may be people more inured to hot weather than others, so if you are not aware of how warm Jordan in general can get, you may well be surprised by the overly warm welcome Aqaba has in store for you.
The Aqaba climate can be divided roughly into a cool season and a hot season. These are relative terms, keep in mind: “cool” should [Read more…]
Due to its status as Jordan’s only port to the Red Sea, Aqaba boasts quite a number of excellent and professionally-run dive shops. One of the best of the bunch would have to be the Aqaba International Dive Center, without a doubt. This is not just one of the most highly-regarded of dive centres by tourists for the friendliness of its personnel and the excellence of its instructors but also has the distinction of being owned and established by the very first of all of Aqaba’s dive instructors, a person who got his training from the British Navy.
The Aqaba International Dive Center is actually not a very big one. It would definitely be a stretch to refer to the instructors as an [Read more…]
In the southern parts of Jordan bordering the Red Sea, perched on the city of Aqaba is the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts. This is a special graduate school focusing on productions and art forms involving the silver and TV screen, and it is perhaps among the best of its kind in the world today, despite its relative youth. The inauguration of the institute was in September of 2008, but it has already made a name for itself in terms of the quality of its education and faculty as well as through the garnering of various awards by both staff and students, with at least one faculty member being part of an Academy Award-winning sound team (Baha Othman of the Sound Department, for his work in the film Hurt Locker) and several students winning honours in the prestigious Nowrooz Hamghadam film festival.
The institute offers a terminal degree, the Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, and is perhaps the first to do so in the region. Its very [Read more…]
The city of Jerash, which is about 48 kilometres away from Amman, is another of the famous tourist locations of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and it has a lot in common with the country’s capital. Like Amman, Jerash went through a significant period of Roman rule, and both cities have a wealth of relics left over from that era, from amphitheatres to temples. Indeed, most archaeologists compare the ruins and structures of either city to each other regularly. There are particular structures that one city has that the other cannot boast, though. For example, Amman has the ever-popular ruins of the gigantic Hercules statue that once stood by the Temple of Hercules on its Citadel (which temple is comparable to Jerash’s Temple of Artemis, by the way). On the other hand, Jerash has Hadrian’s Arch, also often called the Triumphal Arch of Hadrian.
While this structure is indeed situated in old Jerash-modern Jerash being another town next to it-it may be included in a roster of [Read more…]
There is a splendid arts complex in the capital of Jordan that is situated just north of the Amman’s Downtown. Going by the name Darat al-Funun, this gallery aims to promote local arts in the city as well as the region in general, and does so by holding regular exhibits as well as displaying a growing permanent collection.
The small house of the arts (this is the literal translation of the name) is located almost at the very centre of the city of Amman, in a place generally regarded as the artistic centre of the city too. Near Darat al-Funun are several other art galleries, in fact, including the [Read more…]