Our tour departs from South Africa on 14 April 2009 and flies via Dubai to the Jordanian capital of Amman where three nights will be spent exploring this fascinating city and its surrounds.
From Amman, the group will travel to the Dead Sea visiting en route Mt Nebo where Moses is believed to have been buried, Madaba and the baptism site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” where it is believed Jesus was baptised. We will spend a night at the Dead Sea and have the opportunity to try out some spa treatments.
Travelling through Wadi Al Mujib, a deep valley with breathtaking views, we will drive through the mountains of the Rift Valley to the Dana Nature Reserve to spend one night at Feynan Lodge, a perfect retreat from the frantic pace of modern urban life!
The following day we’ll continue to Beida, also known as Little Petra, and the place where the Nabateans used to entertain their guests.
Three nights will be spent at the ancient Lost City of Petra to explore the mysteries of the world’s most famous archaeological site. Half-built and half-carved in the walls of a richly hued sandstone valley, this hidden world is ringed by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Situated not far from the tip of the Red Sea, Petra was the heart of a trading empire which brought gums, spices silks and other riches up from the gulf of Aqaba to Sinai, Dead Sea, Syria and beyond.
From Petra its a short drive to the enchanting desert of Wadi Rum. Here we will have dinner in an exclusive Bedouin camp deep in the desert before proceeding to Aqaba for the night.
We return to Amman before heading towards the Syrian border visiting Ajlun Castle and the Greco-Roman city of Jerash. Once in Syria, and en route to the ancient and oldest continually inhabited city of Damascus, we will visit Bosra and its magnificently preserved Roman amphitheater.
We will spend two nights in Damascus with time to explore its National Museum, Umayyad Mosque, Azem Palace and the tiny Chapel of Ananias before travelling north west to the impressive archaetype medieval Crusader Castle, Crac de Chevaliers.
The following day we will visit Ugarit, home of the world’s first alphabet, Saladin Castle and St Simeon Monastery en route to Aleppo where two nights will be spent. Aleppo is on the coast and perhaps themost picturesque and unspoiled of Arab cities with its citadel dominating the maze of narrow alleyways, mosques, christian churches, khans, madrassas and souks.
From Aleppo the itinerary continues to the most awe-inspiring of all Roman sites, Palmyra where a night will be spent at a hotel on the archaeological site.
Its back to Damascus for two nights with a day excursion into Lebanon to visit Baalbek, one of the largest and most celebrated sancturies of the Roman Empire. Baalbek is renowned for its exquisitely details and colosal architecture. Here the magnificent Temple of Bacchus has a front row of unfluted Corinthian columns, which mask a further row of fluted columns. Internally, a good deal of the original structure and decoration is preserved.
Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, known collectively as “The Levant”, are a genuine paradise for lovers of ancient architecture, history and archaeology. Make a plan to be part of this fascinating tour! Do not get left behind!