The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan may be less than a century old, but like many Bedouins, the Hashemite family share histories stretching back to biblical times.
For millenniums the river valleys, highlands and vast deserts of the Cradle of Civilization were the epicenter of the legendary, lucrative and infamous caravan trade linking Asia with the Mediterranean world. In an age before GPS pictographs were road signs directing caravans that could include up to 700 treasure laden camels.
One enterprising tribe, the Nabataeans, carved the city of Petra (300s B.C.E. – 800s A.C.E.) into sandstone cliffs and created the wealthiest financial center in the ancient world. With only one public entrance at the end of a lengthy, towering, narrow, canyon road, the Nabataeans made Petra immortal.
Coupled with its commercially strategic position, the Jordan region had been fused, either through mutual interest, religion or conquest, with the great powers of the day from Greece to the Ottomans. The Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, founded by Alexander the Great (331 B.C.E.) and continuing as a major city within the Roman Empire, is one of Jordan’s archeological gems. Heavily damaged by earthquakes in 749 A.C.E., the city continued, and the remarkably preserved site is surrounded today by Jordan’s modern city of Jerash.
The Jordan River of biblical fame still defines a land that has stirred great passions in human history from Moses to today’s conflict concerning the West Bank. People that share an ageless history are divided by a thin, slow moving stream of brown water.
Jordan’s storied history has created a legendary cuisine with variations of many dishes it shares with Spice Route neighbors. From breakfast to late night dinner a bounty of mezze (small plates) to aromatic wood grilled lamb and Bedouin ash bread baked in hot sand will be but a few of the dishes in a culinary repertoire as vast as the Kingdom’s deserts.
For the modern traveler there has never been a better time to enjoy hospitality as stunning as Jordan’s natural beauty. Despite surrounding turmoil, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan enjoys peace within its borders and goes to great length to ensure security for its citizens and visitors. Tolerant and democratic Jordan allows the 21st century traveler a rare glimpse at the entire history of the Cradle of Civilization from iconic archeological sites, ageless Bedouin lifestyles, the roots of modern cuisine, phenomenons of nature, accommodations from Bedouin tents to the heights of luxury and even newborn baby camels.
Discover Jordan for yourself.
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(disclaimer: author was a guest of Jordan Tourism Board North America )
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