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Jordan and Syria - The Crossroads of History

Amman - Madaba - Dead Sea - Wadi Rum - Baidha - Petra - Um ar-Risas - Jerash - Um Qais - Bosra - Damascus - Aleppo - Halabieh and Zalabieh - Deir Azur - Palmyra - Damascus

About the Program:
Length: 17 days
Min/max: 6/15
Tour type: deluxe cultural expedition

Jordan and Syria are lands steeped in history and culture. As a crossroads for early civilizations, traces of their rich heritage are present everywhere today. The great adventurer Gertrude Bell once described the rock-carved city of Petra as, "all pink and wonderful, surely the most beautiful sight I have ever seen..."

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which once captivated ancient travelers, still offers many attractions to the modern visitor. From the haunting, primeval starkness of Wadi Rum, to the teeming center of urban Amman. Visit the archeological splendour that is Petra and the Nabeatean Red Rose City. Float in the Dead Sea and visit the ancient city of Jerash, once called 'the Pompeii of the East'.

A journey through Syria is a journey through time. Stroll through Damascus, the oldest inhabited city in the world, visiting the impressive Ommayad Mosque. Explore Crusader Castles, and the oasis city of Palmyra. The ancient city of Aleppo with its souqs, castles and museums is testimony to the significance of Syria as an important terminus for the famed Silk Road.

This 17-day journey to the cradle of civilization will excite and educate. Join us as we explore ancient lands and examine their respective place as modern nations in the Middle East.

2011 - 2012
Contact us for more information.

COST (Per Person)
Land only (twin): upon request 
Single supplement: upon request 

Price includes:
  • Domestic land transportation
  • Transfers in each city
  • 4 & 5-star hotels in major centers and best available in remote areas
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Service of English-speaking guides
  • Travel manual

Price excludes:

  • International flights from/to home country
  • Entry visas (if necessary)
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters and hotel staff
  • Personal expenses



Day 1 Sat. Arrive Amman/Madaba
Upon arrival at Queen Alia Airport in Amman you will be transferred to Madaba to the hotel. Welcome Dinner.
D Madaba Inn

Day 2, Sun. Madaba
 Spend the day exploring Madaba, an archbishopric during the Byzantine era and home to the world’s largest collection of ancient mosaics. This bustling Jordanian city, with a population evenly divided between Muslims and Christians, is also the production centre for two of Jordan’s most outstanding handicraft industries—mosaics and Bedouin carpets.
Begin your walking tour with a visit to the Madaba Archaeological Park (a wonderful collection of restored mosaics, a complete church floor and public hall from Byzantine days, portions of the Roman colonnaded street and the Madaba School for Mosaic Arts). A block away, you’ll visit the Burnt Palace, the St. George Church with its famous 6th Century mosaic map of the Holy Land, A block away, you’ll visit the Burnt Palace, the St. George Church with its famous 6th Century mosaic map of the Holy
Land, the Madaba Museum and the Apostles’ Church with its noted “Queen of the Sea” mosaic floor.
In the evening, enjoy a feast of traditional Jordanian mezza and suwanee at Madaba’s renowned Haret Jdoudna, a restaurant nestled amongst restored homes built in the early 20th Century.
B/L/D Madaba Inn

Day 3, Mon.Madaba/Mt. Nebo/Wadi Mukhayit/Bethany/Dead Sea
Drive a few kilometers from Madaba to Mt. Nebo, the spot from which it is believed that Moses saw the Promised Land. The panoramic view includes the Jordan River, Dead Sea, Jericho and the distant spires and domes of East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The contemporary Mt. Nebo church houses the restored mosaics from a succession of pilgrimage churches that have occupied this venerated spot.
Nearby Wadi Mukhayit, another stop on the ancient Christian pilgrimage routes, contains several church ruins as well as a fine mosaic floor in the Church of SS Lot and Procopious.
Descend to the Jordan River Valley to tour the recently excavated site of Bethany Across the Jordan. Biblical archaeologists, working from clues supplied by the Madaba mosaic map, believe this to be the spot where John the Baptist lived and worked, and where Jesus was baptized in the waters of the Jordan River. The extensive water channels, cisterns and baptismal fonts, as well as the impressive size of the very early (3rd-4th Century) pilgrimage churches on this site, certainly suggest that this is where the earliest Christian pilgrims believed the Baptism took place. The walk past "Elijah's well" to the St. John church on the banks of the Jordan is a pleasure in itself, as you follow the winding trail through marshes of high reeds and tamarisk trees.
A few kilometers’ drive brings you to the shores of the Dead Sea, lowest point on the earth’s surface. Try a “swim” in its mineral-rich therapeutic waters (mineral content of 33%, as compared to the 3% content of the world’s oceans), or indulge yourself with pampering wellness treatments at the resort Spa.
B/L/D Movenpick Dead Sea Resort

Day 4, Tue Dead Sea/Karak/Wadi Rum
Drive south along the Dead Sea’s shoreline. At the south end of the inland sea, ascend 1300 meters to tour the imposing remains of the Karak Crusader Castle.
Continue south to Wadi Rum, the moonscape terrain rightly described by T E Lawrence as “vast, echoing and God-like.” You’ll have an afternoon’s jeep safari to enjoy the haunting desert landscapes, unique rock formations and natural rock bridges, millennia of rock art and caravan markers and inscriptions, and the brilliant red sand dunes of this famed desert. In the evening, arrive at our private campsite deep in the heart of the desert for a Bedouin feast, entertainment by local Bedouin musicians and an overnight in our “zillion star” camp beneath the dazzling night sky of the desert.
B/L/D Camping

Day 5,WedWadi Rum/Baidha/Petra
Transfer to Petra, legendary capital of the Nabatean trading empire. After check-in and a chance to refresh yourself, drive to “Little Petra” in the Baidha wilderness. This spot was once the northern customs outpost for caravans arriving from Jerusalem, Damascus or Gaza. The small passageway into the “Siq al Barid” (cold canyon because it always offers shade) is lined with carved Nabatean facades, and one of the larger halls still shows traces of the delightful Nabatean frescoes, which once covered most of the area’s cave-buildings.
A short walk takes you around the mountain to Baidha, site of the world’s earliest agricultural settlement. This Pre-Pottery Neolithic village is dated to around 7,000 BCE.
Return to Wadi Musa, the modern town outside the ancient Petra ruins, for an evening at the Petra Kitchen. Work alongside local women to prepare a traditional local meal (soup, hot and cold mezze and salads, main course), and enjoy a fine dinner.
B/L/D Taybet Zamaan Resort

Day 6, Thu Petra
Enter the World Heritage Site of Petra through the mysterious mile-long canyon (Siq). The day’s touring will include visits to the Khazneh (of Indiana Jones fame), the Street of Facades, Theatre, Colonnaded Street, Museum and ad-Deir, Petra’s largest carved façade. Overnight Petra.
B/L/DTaybet Zamaan Resort

Day 7 Fri Petra
The second day in Petra will begin with a climb along the “secret road” of al-Madras. You will visit the High Place of Sacrifice, Wadi Farasa, the Great Temple, Byzantine Church and Royal Tombs.
B/L/D Taybet Zamaan Resort

Day 8 Sat Petra/Um ar-Risas/Amman/Jerash
Drive to Jordan’s newest World Heritage Site: Um ar-Risas was an important waystation along the ancient spice caravan routes, and later a garrison point for the Roman armies along the Via Trajana. The late Byzantine St. Stephen church contains what is perhaps Jordan’s finest mosaic—a complete church floor composed with a dramatic black-basalt background. The floor contains medallions celebrating all the major pilgrimage stops between Constantinople and Egypt. The extensive ruins of Um ar-Risas contain many interesting architectural elements, as well as the imposing outlines of one of the area’s earliest Stylite towers.
In the afternoon you’ll make a visit to Amman, Jordan’s modern capital as well as the site of the Decapolis city of Philadelphia. Visit the Citadel and the Jordan National Archaeological Museum. Enjoy dinner at the Wild Jordan Café in the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, with its splendid view of the Citadel and the bustling downtown souks of Amman. Drive on to Jerash.
B/L/D Olive Branch Hotel

Day 9 Sun Jerash/Um Qais/Jerash
In the morning tour Jerash, one of the world’s best-preserved Roman provincial cities. The extensive remains are only a small part of what was once the important Decapolis trading city of Gerasa (the modern city of Jerash lies atop the remaining ruins of this city), but they include fine theatres with virtually perfect acoustics, the Temples of Artemis and Zeus, the magnificent Forum and Cardo which have given the city the sobriquet “City of Columns,” the ancient souk era where you can still see the marks of chariot wheels in the city pavements and guess the types of shops from the remaining artefacts.
To complete your “Roman” experience, go on to the Jerash Hippodrome to attend the RACE (Roman Army and Chariot Experience) historical re-enactment program. The show includes a demonstration of Roman Army tactics and weaponry, gladiator
contests and an exciting 7-lap chariot race.
In the afternoon, drive northward to visit another Roman Decapolis city outside the modern town of Um Qais. This site, know to history as Gadara (as in the Biblical story of the Gadarene swine), was built of black basalt, which gives the ancient ruins a dramatic and brooding quality. The view from the ancient Temple Square encompasses the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee.
B/L/D Olive Branch Hotel

Day 10 Mon Jerash/Bosra/Damascus
Transfer to the border for transit to Syria. You will be met by your Syrian tour guide at the border crossing.
The city of Bosra, on the Houran plain in southern Syria, was first mentioned in Egyptian hieroglyphs of the 14th Century BC. It much later became, for a time, the capital of the Nabatean Empire as trade route shifted away from the more famous capital in Petra and as Nabatean influence extended northward. The extensive remains at Bosra include most impressive Roman public buildings and later ruins of Bosra in its period as a Byzantine archbishopric. Continue to Damascus.
B/L/D Damascus Cham Palace

Day 11 Tue Damascus
Full day tour of one of the world’s oldest cities. You will visit the National Museum, Tukieh Sulaimanieh, handicraft souk, Omayyad mosque, Tomb of Salah ad Din, Azem Palace, Straight Street, Church of Ananias and St. Paul Window. In the course of this tour, you will have the chance to visit with a family still living in the heart of the old city, and to visit a public hammam (Turkish Bath).
While you are in the centre of the old city, you will visit the Mustafa Ali gallery to see the work of one of the Middle East’s most famous sculptors.
At the end of a busy day, take a moment out to enjoy the panoramic view and sunset from Mt. Kasioun, overlooking the city.
|At the end of a busy day, take a moment out to enjoy the panoramic view and sunset from Mt. Kasioun, overlooking the city.
B/L/D Damascus Cham Palace

Day 12 Wed Damascus/Krak des Chevaliers/Ebla/Aleppo
Drive from Damascus to Aleppo. En route, visit Krak des Chevaliers to tour one of the most impressive Cruasder Castles still to be seen. Continue to Ebla to explore the mysterious ruins of a once-mighty Bronze Age city, which is known to have had trading relations with the ancient Akkadian and Sumerian empires.
B/L/D Diwan hotel

Day 13 Thu Aleppo/St. Simeon/Aleppo
Begin the day with a visit to the Church of St. Simeon, built in honour of St. Simeon the Stylite who lived 37 years atop a stone tower to get closer to God. This influential 4th Century mystic attracted pilgrims from throughout the Byzantine Empire, and the church today is similarly an important stop on many pilgrimage routes.
For the rest of the day, explore the legendary city of Aleppo, with its magnificent Citadel, the famed covered bazaar, khans, Grand Mosque and national museum.
B/L/D Diwan hotel

Day 14 Fri Aleppo/Halabieh and Zalabieh/Deir Azur
Visit the twin cities of Halabieh and Zalabieh on the banks of the Euphrates River. Originally established by Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, in the 3rd Century, the cities were later expanded under Byzantine rule.
Continue by boat along the Euphrates River, with lunch aboard and arrive at a private farm where you have the option to take a horseback excursion. Arrive at Deir Azur for a visit to its splendid archaeological museum.
B/L/D Furat Cham Palace

Day 15 Sat Deir Azur/Mari/Dura Europos/Palmyra
From about 2900 BC, the state of Mari was an important tin producer and trading partner of the Mesopotamians and Akkadians. The ruins include a noteworthy royal palace and temple to Ishtar.
The ancient city of Dura Europos, founded in the 4th Century BC as a Seleucid colony, was successively an important waystation and garrison point along the trading routes, and occupied at various times by the Parthians, Palmirians and Romans. Finally abandoned in the 3rd Century AD, the city ruins were built along a typical Hellenistic plan, with the remarkable addition of underground mines, which were also the scene of a battle between the Sassanians and Romans. Drive on to the oasis of Palmyra, legendary capital of an extensive trading empire.
B/L/D Palmyra Cham Palace


Day 16 Sun Palmyra/Damascus
Full day tour in Palmyra, including visits to the Museum, Valley of Tombs, Bel Temple, Colonnaded Street and Theatre. Return to Damascus for the night.
B/L/D Damascus Cham Palace

Day 17 Mon Depart Damascus
Depart Damascus today on your flight home.