Jordan - Ancient cities, Biblical sites and desert castles

Prices from £3,750

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8 Mar 2020 - 15 Mar 2020
Duration: 7 nights
Ref: 20JORD
With: Sue Rollin

Prices

Prices from £3,750
Single Supplement: £525
Deposit: £300

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JORDAN - ANCIENT CITIES, BIBLICAL SITES AND DESERT CASTLES

Jordan’s romantic associations – lost cities, biblical stories, Lawrence of Arabia – are well known, but the country is still a mystery to many. Many civilisations have left their mark on Jordan. The modern state has grown out of these, its rich cultural heritage reaching back to the prophets of the Old Testament. Our tour includes spectacular sites created by Romans, Christians and Muslims: flourishing cities of the Decapolis, Byzantine basilicas with resplendent mosaics, a fascinating Umayyad desert baths complex and a crusader stronghold towering high above the valley of the Dead Sea. Perhaps most breathtaking of all, the rock-cut stronghold of Petra, hidden away in the mountains south of Edom, was the capital of the enigmatic Nabateans, a nomadic people of Arab origin who created there a city unique in the ancient world. In addition, Jordan offers a most diverse and magical landscape, ranging from the canyons of the King's Highway and the geologically interesting basalt zone of eastern Jordan, to the wild beauties of the desert.

YOUR STUDY TOUR LECTURER - SUE ROLLIN

"I am always amazed by Petra, which is quite simply one of the most extraordinary cities of the ancient world. The first glimpse of the Treasury, the striking colours and formations of the sandstone mountains and valleys, the monumental tomb facades, temples and churches all make for an unforgettable experience."

Sue Rollin specialises in the ancient and Islamic Middle East and Mediterranean. An archaeologist and linguist by training, she lectures for the Arts Society and the Art Fund and has led study trips in Spain, Sicily, Morocco, the Middle East, Central Asia and India. Sue speaks Spanish, Italian, French and German and works regularly as an interpreter for international organisations. She is co-author of two travel guides: the ‘Blue Guide to Jordan’ and ‘Istanbul: A Traveller’s Guide’.

DAY 1:

Mid-afternoon flight with British Airways from London Heathrow to Amman. Transfer by private coach to your five-star hotel for our first of three nights in Amman.

DAY 2:

A morning devoted to exploring the centre of Amman and the ancient citadel, with remains from the Bronze Age to early Islamic periods including the Roman Temple of Heracles and palace of the Islamic Umayyad governors. There is also a small archaeological museum. Continue to Jerash, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Roman cities in the region, situated in the hills of ancient Gilead. After lunch we explore the extensive ruins: temples, theatres, Byzantine churches, elegant plazas and colonnaded streets, before returning to our Amman for our evening meal.

DAY 3:

Today we drive south and east of Amman to explore forts of the eastern Roman frontier and a desert complex of the early Umayyad rulers. Our first stop is Umm ar-Rasas, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fortified settlement was once an important Roman frontier station. In the Byzantine period several churches with splendid mosaics were built within the impressive walls and in the settlement, which grew up outside. We continue into the eastern desert and stop for lunch at the RSCN Eco-Lodge, a converted 1940s British field hospital, before visiting the black basalt Roman fort at Azraq where Lawrence of Arabia stayed in 1917. At Qasr Amra, another UNESCO World Heritage site, there is a unique early 8th-century Umayyad baths complex, richly decorated with striking wall paintings representing a formative stage in the development of Islamic art. Return to Amman for dinner and the last of three nights in the city.

DAY 4:

After breakfast we bid farewell to Amman and travel by coach to Madaba. Here we visit the Archaeological Park, which houses a collection of Byzantine mosaics, and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George with the famous mosaic map of the Holy Land. North-west of Madaba is Mount Nebo, from where Moses is said to have glimpsed the Promised Land. The Moses Memorial church has more fine mosaics. We continue along the Kings’ Highway, crossing the spectacular gorge of the Wadi Mujib, to the Crusader castle of Karak. We arrive in Petra in the early evening, checking in to our five-star hotel for the first of three nights. Dinner is served in the hotel this evening.

DAY 5:

Today we begin our exploration of one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, the fabulous Nabatean city of Petra, half-built, half-carved into the warm sandstone rock, a wonderful blend of ancient Near Eastern and Hellenistic traditions. We walk through the Siq, a narrow gorge, to the famous ‘Treasury’ and beyond, past tomb facades, the rock-cut theatre and an early Byzantine church to the city centre. After lunch we climb past other monuments to the great ‘High Place’ from where there are magnificent views over the ancient site and surrounding landscape. We return to our hotel for dinner.

DAY 6:

This morning we continue our discovery of Petra. We walk the ancient processional route up to the Deir, the largest monument in Petra, high above the city centre, and see more of the surrounding plateau before descending for lunch. The afternoon is free for further exploration of this wonderful site. We return to our hotel for dinner and the last of our three nights in Petra.

DAY 7:

By coach to Siq al-Barid or ‘Little Petra’, with rock-cut chambers and the famous ‘Painted House’, decorated with birds and ‘cupids’ among vines, flowers and foliage in typical Hellenistic Alexandrian style. A scenic drive takes us down to the Wadi Araba and the Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth, below the Sanctuary of St. Lot with the remains of a 6th-7th-century Byzantine church. We continue along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea to our five-star hotel for the final night of this tour, and enjoy a farewell dinner together.

DAY 8:

Transfer to Amman airport for an early morning flight, scheduled to arrive in London Heathrow late morning.

STAMINA

Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

This tour involves a lot of walking, up and downhill, and sometimes on uneven ground or pavements; museum and site visits require prolonged periods of standing without the possibility of a rest. Coach journeys vary in length.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.

PRICES:

Twin/double share: £3750 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £525
Price of the tour without flights: £3400 per person
Deposit: £300 per person

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • Return flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Amman
  • Transfers and excursions in Jordan by private coach
  • Seven nights’ half board in locally rated 5* hotels
  • Six dinners and six lunches
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • A visa for entry into Jordan (included only if you are flying with the group; please make sure that your passports are valid for six months beyond the dates of the tour)

Intercontinental Hotel Amman *****

An iconic landmark in bustling Amman, the Intercontinental Hotel offers cosmopolitan amenities with a Middle Eastern touch. The light-filled rooms are equipped with satellite TV, climate control, a safe and Wi-Fi.

Mövenpick Resort Petra *****

The Mövenpick Resort Petra is located directly at the entrance to the historic Jordanian city of Petra. This resort features an exciting combination of natural stone, handcrafted wood and Middle Eastern fabrics and textures. Rooms are fully equipped with Wi-Fi, complimentary minibar selection, tea station, climate control, satellite TV and hairdryer.

Mövenpick Resort and Spa Dead Sea *****

The luxury 5 star Mövenpick Resort & Spa is designed in a traditional village setting nestled amongst lush gardens. The resort is set on the northern shores of the Dead Sea, at the lowest point on earth and rooms feature Wi-Fi, a complimentary tea station, minibar, TV and air conditioning.