Journey across thousands of years of history from Biblical sites to Greek and Roman outposts. Move from the battle fields of Saladin and the Crusaders to the beauty of the Red Sea where beneath its surface lies another living kaleidoscope. Travel from the vast, otherworldliness of the Wadi Rum Desert, where Lawrence of Arabia and his Bedouin bands won glory against Ottoman Turks to Petra—the Nabataean rock cut archaeological wonder of the desert. Follow the ancient trader’s route and explore magnificent landscapes and the remains of some of antiquity’s greatest monuments. Join us for a wonderful new crusade—a medley of past and present—to experience the riches of Jordan that have an exceptional place in our history.
Thursday, October 31
On independent arrival to Amman, transfer to the Al Qasr Metropole Hotel Executive Rooms. The balance of the day is free.
Friday November 1…………………B
Enjoy the first of two seminars led by Dr. John Swanson, a Professor and Vice-Provost American University in Cairo who holds a Ph.D. Middle East History. His seminar will cover the history of Jordan from Neolithic/Biblical times to the present. John’s presentations will shed light on all of your experiences and offer a depth and breadth that will inform and inspire.
Depart this afternoon for the Citadel; the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon with Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic remains; the Roman Theater, which dates back to 138–161 A.D.; and the Jordan Archaeological Museum.
John Swanson, Ph.D. in Middle East History, is Associate Provost American University in Cairo and Professor of Middle East History and Egyptology since 1978. John has led seminars for Journeys of the Mind to rave reviews.
Saturday, November 2………….B/L
After the second seminar led by Dr. Swanson and lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Jordan Museum, which houses artifacts from Jordanian History and is home to some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the enigmatic Copper Scroll, and the ‘Ain Ghazal’ statues, which are among the oldest figurines ever made by human hands. Take a panoramic tour of the new sections of Amman and attend a private reception at ACOR to meet with archaeologists and view the Petra Scrolls.
Sunday, November 3…………..B/L
Traveling North of Amman through beautiful pine forests and olive groves, visit Ajloun, a 12th-century Muslim castle built by the Ayyubids that guarded three wadis that led to the Jordan Valley below; Anjara, or “running spring,” home to the “Our Lady of the Mount” Catholic pilgrimage site; and Tel Mar Elias, an archaeological site recognized by some as the possible Biblical site of Tishbe mentioned in 1 Kings 17:1, the residence and/ or birthplace of the Prophet Elijah. Enjoy a Lebanese lunch and visit Jerash, one of the best-preserved Hellenistic and Roman sites in the eastern Mediterranean. This Decapolis city of Biblical Gerasa (Mark 5:1) is a vast treasure trove of remains of temples, theaters, colonnaded streets, and a magnificent cardo maximus, transporting you back to the glory of Rome.
Monday, November 4………………B
Traveling north of Amman, explore Um Quis, the former Decapolis city of Gadara (Matt. 8:28), which was leveled during the Jewish Revolt against Rome. Explore the ruins with magnificent views of the Golan Heights and Lake Tiberias. After a local lunch, visit the Decapolis city of Pella. Known as early as the Neolithic period, Pella grew powerful during the Greek and Roman periods and became a center for Christianity, constructing hundreds of monasteries during the Byzantine period.
Tuesday, November 5……………..B/L
Depart Amman driving along the King’s Highway, one of two main trade routes in antiquity, connecting Africa with Mesopotamia and the east. Our first stop is Mt. Nebo, the traditional mountain that Moses ascended to gaze into the promised land (Deut. 34:1). Madaba is famous for the Madaba Mosaic Map in the floor of the Church of St. George, which offers a snapshot of where ancient cities were in the sixth century A.D., when the map was created.
At the rarely visited Archaeological Park, we’ll view exquisite mosaics in a collection of Byzantine Churches. After lunch in a 19th century villa (considered some of the best food in Jordan), visit Machaerus, the hilltop fortress where John the Baptist was imprisoned and executed by Herod Antipas (Josephus, Antiquities 18.5.2; Mark 6:24). Arrive at Petra, check in to Hyat Zaman Hotel, a restored ancient Nabataean Village. The balance of the day is free.
Wednesday, November 6…………B/L
Over 2,000 years ago, the Nabataean Arabs created a city by carving houses, temples, tombs, theaters and a water system out of rock. This morning, meet an expert archaeologist for a full day tour of Petra. The capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, Petra is the crown jewel of Jordan and one of the archaeological wonders of the ancient world. A city carved from stone, Petra is a must-see site that cannot be adequately captured in words or on film.
Experience Petra by night. During the day, it is awe-inspiring; experienced at night lit by 1,800 candles, it is out of this world! Walk through the Siq on a candle-lit path to the Kanzeh and enjoy the haunting music of Bedouins at the Treasury, where you will be told stories about ancient Petra and the Nabataeans who lived there around 2,000 years ago.
Thursday, November 7……….B/L/D
This morning, visit Beidha, or Little Petra, where archaeologists believe the site was a merchant’s “suburb” of its namesake. Travel to the overnight site Wadi Rum, where you will be immersed in stunningly magnificent desert landscapes that T.E. Lawrence described as “vast, echoing, and God-like.”
Take a desert safari, enjoy lunch in a Bedouin tent, and spend a memorable evening gazing at the desert sky.
Wadi Rum is home to modern Bedouins, ancient Nabataeans, some of the most massive and unique rock formations on earth, and, for a while, Lawrence of Arabia. Dinner and an overnight experience under the stars in Bedouin tents are among my most unforgettable experiences.
—BAR Editor Robert Cargill
Friday, November 8…………………….B
Depart Wadi Rum and visit Um er-Rasas, which is identified with the Biblical site of Mephaat (Jer. 48:21) due to the discovery of massive, sophisticated mosaics that once served as the floor of the eighth-century Church of Saint Stephen. From here drive to the Dead Sea and check in to the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa where the balance of the day is free to enjoy the hotel amenities.
Saturday, November 9…………….B/L
Our first stop today is Bethany Beyond the Jordan, mentioned in the New Testament as the place where John the Baptist performed baptisms, including that of Jesus. Bethany (John 1:28-29) is known as Bethabara on the Madaba Map.
From here, visit Lot’s Cave, the traditional site where Lot hid and lived with his two daughters (Gen. 19:30), and the Sugar Mill recent archaeological discovery and its museum. Meet local farmers, pick fruits and vegetables, and enjoy lunch with them. The perfect ending to your unforgettable experiences in Jordan.
Sunday, November 10…………………B
Transfer to the airport for your individual flights to the U.S.
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