Jordan, a small but delightful country, offers a whole host of treasures that are ripe for discovery. The most well-known sights are Petra, Wadi-Rum Desert, and the Dead Sea, but there are many less popular tourist attractions that will allow you to get to know the “undiscovered” side of the country. Umm Qais, Ajlun, and Hammamat Ma’in are some of the jewels the country offers, hidden paradises where tourists can experience the holiday of a lifetime getting to know the Jordan that doesn’t appear in the guidebooks.
At the top of the peak that dominates the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, you’ll find the ruins of the city of Umm Qais. Previously known as Gadara, it was once an important cultural centre where poets and philosophers of the ancient world resided.
It’s a marvellous place with some impressive views. Thanks to its privileged location, it offers views of three countries – Jordan, Syria, and Israel. If you’re a fan of architecture and history, you’ll enjoy the ruins of the Roman city, the West Theatre, the street lined with columns, the Mausoleum, and the Umm Qays Museum, full of objects, mosaics, and statues that offer the intrepid traveller a unique insight into the area.
Located to the north west of Amman is the city of Ajlun. It’s a place that manages to combine beautiful scenery with medieval Arabic military architecture; the vast pine forest of Ajloun-Dibbine and the colossal Ajlun Islamo-Arabic castle.
Ajlun Castle is the oldest monument in the area, and the sheer size of the building ensures it can be seen from miles around. It has a number of interesting elements, such as the moat that surrounds it, the drawbridge, and a south-facing tower. The castle is an excellently preserved example of this kind of architecture and is actually regarded as the best preserved in the world.
Ajlun Forest Reserve is a mountainous area covered in oak trees that are very important locally. Those nearby use the trees for wood, medicine, and food. Mammals such as wolves, boars, and foxes, among other animals, also live here. In the spring, the reserve is bathed in colour as anemones, rock roses, and other flowers bloom. The reserve’s visitor centre has exhibitions and information about the area, as well as a craft shop where you can to buy local handicrafts to take home.
Very close to the Dead Sea you’ll find another must-see. Gazing over the beautiful landscape and through exuberant vegetation, you might spy a glint of sun on water or notice puffs of steam on the horizon. Soon after, you’ll find Wadi Zarqa Ma’in, home to more than 50 thermal springs.
The most famous of the springs is the tourist complex of Hammamat Ma’in. The waters here are rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium and the pleasant temperature is perfect for taking a relaxing dip in one of the small pools you’ll find here – the most popular are the Roman baths and the family pool. Tourists particularly love the mineral-enriched waters and extra-warm waterfalls in this beautiful place.
Supplied by the winter rains, these waters are first heated up to 63 degrees by the fissures of lava that run underneath the ground and later surface at the mouth of the Zarqa River. It’s one of the world’s most impressive oases.
Jordan, an oasis of peace in the Middle East
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan surprises visitors by being a modern, dynamic, stable, and completely safe country. From the evocative ancient steppe of Wadi Rum to the lively city centre of Amman, and from the majestic ruins of antique civilisations to the timeless splendour of the Dead Sea, Jordan reveals itself to be a unique destination that is as impressive as it is mysterious. High-quality accommodation, exquisite food, and endless entertainment options work together to inspire, amaze, and relax the would-be visitor.