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First Impressions Of Jordan


by Astrid Lowell



Welcome to the captivating land of Jordan, where ancient history meets vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes. Located in the heart of the Middle East, this small yet remarkable country offers a rich tapestry of experiences for travelers seeking an unforgettable adventure. From the bustling streets of Amman to the awe-inspiring ruins of Petra and the vast deserts of Wadi Rum, Jordan is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.


Stepping foot in Jordan is like stepping back in time. With a history spanning thousands of years, this land has been home to numerous civilizations, leaving behind a legacy that can be seen in its remarkable archaeological sites and cultural heritage. But Jordan is not just a destination for history enthusiasts; it is a destination for those who crave authentic experiences, warm hospitality, and a true taste of the Middle East.


Upon arrival at one of Jordan’s modern airports, you will immediately sense the warmth and friendliness of the local people. From the moment you set foot in the country, you will be greeted with a warm “Marhaba,” the Arabic word for “welcome.” The local Jordanians are proud of their heritage and eager to share their culture with visitors.


Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, Jordan has something for everyone. It offers a perfect combination of ancient wonders, natural beauty, and vibrant city life. From exploring the bustling streets of Amman to venturing into the vast desert landscapes, every corner of Jordan reveals a new story to be discovered.


In this article, we will take you on a virtual journey through Jordan, sharing our first impressions of this mesmerizing country. Join us as we explore the historic capital city of Amman, wander through the ancient ruins of Petra, immerse ourselves in the stunning landscapes of Wadi Rum, and experience the rich cultural heritage that Jordan has to offer. So grab your virtual passport and let’s embark on an unforgettable adventure through the wonders of Jordan!


Arrival at Jordan

As we touched down at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, the capital city of Jordan, our excitement reached new heights. The airport itself was a testament to the country’s modern infrastructure, with its sleek design and efficient facilities.


After clearing immigration and customs, we were greeted by our local guide, who welcomed us with a warm smile and a traditional Jordanian tea. As we stepped outside, the pleasant Mediterranean climate embraced us, stirring our anticipation for the adventures that lay ahead.


The drive from the airport to our accommodation in Amman provided us with a glimpse of the city’s bustling energy. The streets were brimming with activity, with a mix of modern buildings, local shops, and vibrant markets. We couldn’t help but be captivated by the vibrant atmosphere and the friendly faces of the locals going about their daily lives.


Amman, often referred to as the “City of Seven Hills,” is a fascinating blend of the old and the new. Its modern skyline is punctuated by ancient architectural wonders, such as the iconic Citadel and the Roman Theater, which serve as reminders of the city’s rich history. Driving through the city, we marveled at the juxtaposition of ancient ruins and contemporary structures, a testament to the country’s ability to seamlessly merge the past with the present.


Arriving at our hotel in the heart of Amman, we were greeted with warm hospitality and a stunning view of the city. The luxury accommodations provided the perfect base for our exploration of Jordan, ensuring we had a comfortable retreat after each day’s adventures.


Our arrival in Jordan was made even more special by the warmth and friendliness of the local people. Throughout our stay, we were constantly amazed by the genuine hospitality and generosity of the Jordanians. From our encounters with the shopkeepers in the local markets to interactions with taxi drivers and restaurant staff, everyone was eager to welcome us to their country and ensure our experience was memorable.


As we settled into our hotel and reflected on our arrival in Jordan, we were filled with anticipation for the days ahead. Our adventure was just beginning, and we knew that this enchanting country had so much more to offer. Little did we know that the wonders of Amman were only a taste of the awe-inspiring experiences that awaited us in the rest of Jordan.


Exploring the Capital City, Amman

Amman, the capital city of Jordan, is a vibrant metropolis that seamlessly blends ancient history with modern life. As we set out to explore the city, we were overwhelmed by the rich cultural heritage and the bustling energy that filled the streets.


Our first stop was the Citadel, a historic site perched on one of Amman’s seven hills. This ancient complex is home to significant archaeological remains, including the imposing Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace. As we wandered through the ruins, our guide painted a vivid picture of the city’s past, transporting us back to the era of Roman and Byzantine rule.


From the Citadel, we made our way down to the heart of Amman’s downtown area. The bustling streets were lined with a kaleidoscope of shops, cafes, and markets, where locals and tourists intermingled in a lively atmosphere. We delved into the vibrant local culture, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells that filled the air.


The Rainbow Street, a vibrant and trendy district in Amman, captured our attention with its eclectic blend of art galleries, boutique shops, and trendy cafes. As we strolled along the colorful street, we couldn’t resist indulging in some traditional Jordanian street food, including falafel and shawarma, which tantalized our taste buds.


To delve even deeper into Jordan’s rich history, we visited the Roman Theater, one of the largest and most impressive Roman theaters in the world. The tiered seating provided a stunning view of the stage and the surrounding city, offering a glimpse into the ancient past of theatrical performances and public gatherings.


Amman is also home to numerous museums that offer a deeper understanding of Jordan’s culture and heritage. We visited the Jordan Museum, where we marveled at the well-preserved artifacts dating back thousands of years. The exhibits ranged from ancient pottery and jewelry to captivating statues and mosaics, each telling a story of the country’s diverse past.


To end our day in Amman, we headed to one of the city’s rooftop restaurants, where we could admire the stunning panoramic view of the city skyline as the sun set over the hills. As we savored delicious local cuisine, we couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to witness the fusion of ancient history and modern cosmopolitanism in this captivating city.


Exploring Amman was a true immersion into the heart and soul of Jordan. The city captivated us with its rich historical sites, vibrant markets, and warm hospitality. It was a testament to the country’s ability to preserve its heritage while embracing the modern world, leaving us with unforgettable memories of our time in the capital city of Amman.


Visiting the Ancient Ruins of Petra

Our journey through Jordan would not have been complete without a visit to the iconic ancient city of Petra. As we made our way towards this archaeological wonder, our excitement and anticipation grew with each passing mile.


Petra, also known as the “Rose City,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Hidden within the desert canyons of southern Jordan, Petra is a testament to the ingenuity and architectural brilliance of the ancient Nabateans.


Entering Petra through the Siq, a narrow and winding gorge, was like stepping into another world. The towering sandstone cliffs, with their intricate patterns and vibrant hues, created a dramatic sense of grandeur. As we followed the path, the anticipation built, knowing that something extraordinary was waiting to be revealed.


And then, there it was – the iconic Treasury, also known as Al-Khazneh. This magnificent facade, carved into the cliffs, stood before us in all its splendor. The intricate details and sheer size of the Treasury left us in awe, as we wondered at the craftsmanship that created such a masterpiece thousands of years ago.


As we explored further into the ancient city, we discovered a labyrinth of carved tombs, rock-cut temples, and ornate facades. Each turn of a corner revealed another breathtaking sight, such as the Monastery, the High Place of Sacrifice, and the Roman Amphitheatre. The scale and preservation of these structures was truly remarkable, transporting us back in time to an era of prosperity and cultural significance.


One of the highlights of our visit was climbing up to the viewpoints overlooking the Treasury and the surrounding cliffs. From these vantage points, we were able to take in the sheer magnitude and beauty of this archaeological marvel. The panoramic views of Petra from above were simply awe-inspiring and allowed us to appreciate the intricacies of this ancient city on a whole new level.


Visiting Petra is not just about exploring the ruins; it is also about immersing oneself in the captivating atmosphere and embracing the spirit of adventure. We embarked on a guided hike through the lesser-known trails, venturing deeper into the canyons and discovering hidden architectural gems. The rugged terrain, combined with the sense of discovery, made the experience even more exhilarating.


As we reluctantly bid farewell to Petra, we couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for having witnessed this extraordinary heritage site. Petra is more than just a collection of ruins; it is a testament to the ingenuity, creativity, and resilience of the ancient Nabateans. It is a place that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit, evoking a sense of wonder and reverence for the past.


Experiencing the Natural Wonders of Wadi Rum

Jordan’s natural beauty reaches its pinnacle in the breathtaking desert landscapes of Wadi Rum. This extraordinary desert region, also known as the “Valley of the Moon,” boasts towering sandstone cliffs, vast sand dunes, and awe-inspiring rock formations that have been shaped over millions of years.


As we ventured into Wadi Rum, we were immediately enveloped by the tranquility and otherworldly charm of the desert. The vast expanse of golden sand stretched out before us, with the ethereal silence broken only by the occasional sound of a camel’s footsteps.


Exploring Wadi Rum is like stepping into a cinematic masterpiece. The surreal landscape has served as a backdrop for numerous films, including the iconic “Lawrence of Arabia.” As we traversed the vast desert on a 4×4 jeep tour, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the immensity and grandeur of our surroundings.


The towering sandstone cliffs that rise from the desert floor are a sight to behold. These monolithic formations, known as “jebels,” create a dramatic contrast against the endless horizons of sand. Each jebel has its own unique shape and color, shaped by the forces of wind and time.


One of the highlights of our visit to Wadi Rum was a hike to the top of one of these jebels. As we reached the summit, we were rewarded with panoramic views that stretched as far as the eye could see. The surreal beauty of the desert unfolded before us, with its golden hues contrasting against the deep red rocks and the clear blue sky above.


During our time in Wadi Rum, we also had the opportunity to interact with the Bedouin people, who have called this desert their home for centuries. The Bedouins, known for their hospitality and vast knowledge of the desert, welcomed us into their traditional tents and shared stories of their culture and way of life. It was a truly immersive experience, giving us a glimpse into the rich Bedouin heritage.


As the sun began to set, we were treated to a spectacle like no other. The desert transformed into a sea of vibrant hues, as the setting sun painted the sand and rocks with shades of orange, pink, and purple. It was a moment of sheer beauty and serenity, as we stood in awe of nature’s masterpiece.


Experiencing Wadi Rum is not just about sightseeing; it is about connecting with the vastness and timelessness of the desert. It is about embracing the simplicity and tranquility of the surroundings, finding solace in the silence and the vastness of the landscape. Wadi Rum is a place where one can disconnect from the chaos of the modern world and reconnect with the wonders of nature.


Discovering the Historic City of Jerash

In the northern region of Jordan lies the ancient city of Jerash, a prominent center of Roman civilization and one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world. Stepping into Jerash is like stepping back in time, as the city’s remarkable ruins tell the story of its vibrant past.


As we entered the archaeological site, we were immediately struck by the grandeur of the city’s main entrance, known as the Hadrian’s Arch. This monumental gateway served as a symbol of Jerash’s importance during the Roman period and set the stage for the awe-inspiring sights that awaited us.


Exploring Jerash is like navigating a living museum. The well-preserved ruins paint a vivid picture of life in a prosperous Roman city, with its colonnaded streets, impressive theaters, and sprawling public spaces.


One of the highlights of our visit was the ancient Roman theater, which could seat up to 15,000 spectators. As we stood in the center of the theater, we could almost hear the echoes of past performances and imagine the vibrant atmosphere during its prime.


Adjacent to the theater, we discovered the impressive Oval Plaza, a vast open space surrounded by towering columns and adorned with intricate mosaics. This public gathering space was the heart of Jerash, where political, social, and cultural events took place.


As we wandered through the ancient streets, we came across beautifully preserved temples, such as the Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Zeus. These religious structures stood as testaments to the spiritual and cultural significance of Jerash during the Roman era.


The Decumanus Maximus, the city’s main street, provided a glimpse into daily life in ancient Jerash. Lined with shops, artisan workshops, and cafes, this bustling thoroughfare showcased the economic prosperity and vibrant social scene of the city.


Jerash is not only known for its Roman ruins but also for its impressive collection of Byzantine churches. These religious sites, such as the Church of Saint Theodore and the Church of Saint Cosmas and Damian, demonstrated the transition from Roman to Byzantine influence in the city.


As we explored Jerash, we couldn’t help but be amazed by the level of preservation and attention to detail. It was a testament to the dedication and efforts of the Jordanian authorities in preserving and showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage.


A visit to Jerash is not only a journey into the past but also an opportunity to appreciate the timeless beauty and architectural marvels of the Roman Empire. It is a place where history comes alive, allowing visitors to witness the grandeur and sophistication of an ancient civilization.


Immersing in the Rich Culture of Jordan

Jordan is a country steeped in a rich tapestry of culture and traditions that have been passed down through generations. From its vibrant arts scene to its warm hospitality, Jordan offers a unique and immersive experience that allows visitors to truly connect with its people and heritage.


One of the best ways to immerse oneself in the culture of Jordan is through interactions with the local communities. Whether it’s exploring the narrow alleyways of Amman’s downtown area, bargaining for souvenirs in the vibrant markets, or sipping tea with Bedouin tribes in Wadi Rum, the warmth and friendliness of the local people create an atmosphere of genuine hospitality.


The traditional arts and crafts of Jordan provide a window into its cultural identity. We had the opportunity to watch skilled artisans create intricate mosaics, handwoven textiles, and delicate ceramics, all reflecting the country’s rich history and craftsmanship. Engaging with these artists and learning about their techniques was a humbling experience, deepening our appreciation for the artistic heritage of Jordan.


Music and dance are integral parts of Jordanian culture, and we were fortunate enough to witness traditional performances during our journey. The rhythmic beats of the tabla and the melodies of the oud filled the air, captivating our senses and inviting us to join in the celebration. Experiencing these lively performances allowed us to connect with the expressive spirit of the Jordanian people.


Jordan is also home to numerous cultural festivals and events that showcase the country’s diverse heritage. From the Jerash Festival, which celebrates the ancient city’s Roman past through music, dance, and theater, to the Madaba Arts Festival, highlighting the artistic talents of the region, these events offer a chance to experience the vibrant cultural scene of Jordan.


Cuisine plays a significant role in any culture, and Jordanian cuisine is a culinary delight. We indulged in mouthwatering dishes such as mansaf, a traditional Bedouin dish of lamb and rice, and mezze, a colorful array of small plates featuring hummus, falafel, and tabbouleh. Sharing these meals with locals and learning about the stories behind each dish allowed us to connect with the flavors and traditions of the region.


Throughout our journey, we couldn’t help but be captivated by the deep-rooted sense of pride and respect that the Jordanian people have for their culture. From preserving ancient archaeological sites to embracing traditional customs, Jordan serves as a living testament to the importance of heritage in shaping a nation’s identity.


Immersing ourselves in the rich culture of Jordan was a transformative experience. We walked away with a deep appreciation for the diversity, traditions, and warm hospitality of the Jordanian people, and a deeper understanding of the values that make this country truly unique.


Trying Authentic Jordanian Cuisine

Jordanian cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, spices, and culinary traditions that reflects the country’s rich history and cultural diversity. Exploring the local food scene provided us with a tantalizing journey of taste, where each dish told a story and left a lasting impression on our palates.


One of the highlights of our culinary adventure in Jordan was indulging in traditional Bedouin cuisine. We had the opportunity to savor dishes like mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, which consists of tender lamb cooked in a rich yogurt sauce and served on a bed of fragrant rice. The combination of flavors, the tender meat, and the creamy sauce created a taste sensation that was both comforting and unforgettable.


Another culinary gem we discovered was falafel, a popular street food made from deep-fried chickpea fritters. Served with a variety of accompaniments such as tahini sauce, pickles, and fresh vegetables, falafel is a delicious and satisfying snack that truly captures the essence of Jordanian street food culture.


Mezze, a traditional style of dining where a variety of small plates are shared, allowed us to experience the full range of Jordanian flavors. From creamy hummus and smoky baba ganoush to tangy tabbouleh and crispy fried kibbeh, each bite was a burst of distinct flavors that showcased the country’s vibrant culinary heritage.


During our culinary journey, we also discovered the delights of Jordanian sweets and desserts. We indulged in kunafa, a delectable pastry made from shredded phyllo dough filled with sweet cheese and topped with a syrup of rosewater and orange blossom water. The combination of textures and flavors was a true treat for the taste buds.


To truly immerse ourselves in the culture, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to partake in traditional Bedouin tea rituals. Sipping on sweet mint tea served in ornate silver teapots, we experienced the Jordanian hospitality and learned that tea is not just a beverage but a symbol of warmth and friendship.


What made our culinary experience in Jordan even more special was the emphasis on fresh and local ingredients. From the aromatic spices sourced from local markets to the seasonal fruits and vegetables that adorned our plates, every dish celebrated the bountiful produce of the region.


Trying authentic Jordanian cuisine was not just about satisfying our taste buds; it was an opportunity to connect with the vibrant culture, traditions, and history of the country. Each dish we savored told a story of the people who created it and the generations who cherished its flavors.


The culinary diversity and the passion for food in Jordan showcased the country’s ability to blend tradition and innovation. It left us with a deep appreciation for the richness of the cuisine and a desire to continue exploring the flavors of this remarkable country.


Departure and Final Thoughts

As our time in Jordan came to a close, we couldn’t help but reflect on the remarkable experiences and unforgettable memories that we had made during our journey. The warmth and hospitality of the Jordanian people, the awe-inspiring historical sites, the breathtaking natural landscapes, and the mouthwatering cuisine all combined to create a truly magical adventure.


As we bid farewell to the vibrant streets of Amman, the ancient ruins of Petra, the magnificent desert of Wadi Rum, and the cultural treasures of Jerash, we carried with us a piece of Jordan in our hearts. The country had left an indelible mark on us, challenging our perceptions, igniting our curiosity, and enriching our understanding of the world.


We were grateful for the opportunity to immerse ourselves in Jordan’s rich culture, to connect with its people, and to witness the grandeur of its historical sites. The trip had not only broadened our horizons but also reminded us of the importance of embracing different cultures and appreciating the beauty of diversity.


As we boarded our flight home, we felt a mix of emotions – a sense of fulfillment, a tinge of nostalgia, and a yearning to return one day. Jordan had captured our hearts and awakened a deep appreciation for its captivating landscapes, its resilient people, and its multifaceted history.


Our departure from Jordan was not just the end of a journey; it was the beginning of a lifelong connection with a country that had left an indelible mark on our souls. We vowed to share the stories, the beauty, and the wonder of Jordan with others, and to encourage fellow travelers to embark on their own adventures in this remarkable destination.


As we gazed out of the airplane window, watching Jordan fade into the distance, we carried with us the memories, the friendships, and the profound impact of our time in this mesmerizing country. Jordan, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, had imprinted itself on our hearts, reminding us of the power of travel to transform, inspire, and connect.