Desert & Aqaba
Jordan’s deserts are dotted with a number of ancient, mysterious desert castles that tell untold stories of ancient civilizations, built and restored in the seventh and eighth centuries by the Umayyad caliphs. Qasr Amra, Hallabat, Kharaneh, Mushatta and Azraq present fine, admirable examples of Umayyad art and architecture that include baths, water and agricultural systems, mosaic floors and painted wall frescoes. Most of these castles served as fortresses as well as hunting lodges and leisure resorts by the caliphs. Azraq Castle, situated near the desert oasis of Azraq -an important stopping, resting and watering place for thousands of species of migrating birds that journey every year between Africa, the Middle East and northern Europe- served as Jordan Valley of Arabia’s headquarters during the Arab Revolting 1917.
Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, Aqaba lies strategically at the junction of land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe. This charming little city on the Red Sea, shaded by palm trees, lapped by crystal clear waters and encircled by purple mountains that change color throughout the day, is a warm, sunny and inviting city at any time of the year. Aqaba’s wealth is in its sea.
With a dazzling reef, adorned with untold variety in its coral and fish, Aqaba boasts some of the world’s best scuba- diving by day or night. For other water- sports lovers, poplars ports on offer include snorkeling, fishing, wind- surfing, and sailing. Several first- rate hotels provide excellent accommodation and facilities for all kinds of water sports. Two diving centers offer facilities for diving and snorkeling, and provide instruction for first-timers.