A bedrock in a famous region, Jordan contains ancient ruins and cultural treasures that go far beyond its most famous attraction.
My father and I dangled our bare feet over the edge of a cliff, a column of light broke through the clouds and swept across the dunes of Wadi Rum. In his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the British officer and archaeologist T. E. Lawrence, who often camped here during the Arab revolt of 1916, described the place as “vast and echoing and godlike.” We’d been discussing how much this 300-square-mile wadi, or valley, in southern Jordan reminded us of the canyons of the American West as mythologized by Edward Curtis, one of our favorite photographers. But we fell silent when the sun lit up the red earth. So did a dozen other travelers scattered atop the mount. My father, a longtime travel photographer and the man responsible for these images, reached for his camera. We all took in the view until a pickup truck appeared, kicking up clouds of sand, to ferry us back to our tented camps for sunset.
To travel in the Kingdom of Jordan is to be constantly reminded of the ancient world. Four days earlier, as we explored the capital city of Amman, our guide had taken us up Mount Al-Qalah, one of the seven limestone hills that make up the old city. We stopped for an aerial view of a Roman amphitheater, built in the second century, that is now surrounded by low apartment buildings. The steep rows still seat spectators for cultural events. A plaza at the base of the amphitheater hummed with gentle activity, as locals enjoyed the cool evening. Floodlights cast shadows against the Roman walls as the call to prayer echoed.
Read more: https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/jordan-beyond-petra