Amman is experiencing a massive change from a quiet sleepy village to a bustling metropolis. Amman's roads have had a reputation of being very steep and narrow in some of the underdeveloped parts of the city but now the city has state of the art highways and paved avenues. New resorts and hotels dot the city and there are many things for the traveler to see and do. Use Amman as a staging point for travels to nearby cities and settlements in Jordan. For many people Jordan begins and ends with the magical ancient Nabataean city of Petra. And it's true, Petra is without doubt one of the Middle East's most spectacular, unmissable sights, battling it out with Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat for the title of the world's most dramatic 'lost city'.
Yet there's so much more to see in Jordan - ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels and powerful biblical sites: the brook where Jesus was baptised, the fortress where Herod beheaded John the Baptist, and the mountain top where Moses cast eyes on the Promised Land. Biblical scenes are not just consigned to the past in Jordan; you'll see plenty of men wearing full-flowing robes and leading herds of livestock across the timeless desert. But it's not all crusty ruins. Jordan's capital Amman is a modern, culturally diverse Arab city which is lightyears away from the typical cliches of Middle Eastern exoticism. The country also offers some of the wildest adventures in the region, as well as an incredibly varied backdrop ranging from the red desert sands of Wadi Rum to the brilliant blues of the coral-filled Gulf of Aqaba; from rich palm-filled wadis to the lifeless Dead Sea. Ultimately it's the sensual delights of daily life in the Middle East that you'll hanker for longest after you return home; the bittersweet taste of cardamom coffee or the smell of a richly scented nargileh (water pipe); the intoxicating swirl of Arabic pop sliding out of an Amman doorway and the deafening silence of the desert.
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