Travel and Culture

There is no mistaking the fact that Jordan is a Kingdom steeped in history and culture. From the moment you arrive, you get a sense of its rich heritage; all around are remnants of ancient civilizations long since passed, yet they still remain, stamped into the very fabric of this amazing Kingdom and etched into the soul of the people who live here.

What do the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Prophet Moses and Lawrence of Arabia have in common? These are just three of the many historical personalities who passed through Jordan through history, and whose itineraries now attract adventure seekers and action vacationers from throughout the world.

Outdoor 'adventure tourism' is expanding at a fast rate in Jordan, and promises to remain one of the most dynamic and innovative travel industry sectors for years to come. Several Jordanian companies have started to specialize in eco-tourism and action tourism, providing the combination of safety, adventure, and comfortable facilities that make action tourism such an exciting proposition today.

The popularity of the spa vacation has increased worldwide as many people are adopting healthier lifestyles. For this reason, Jordan has complimented its natural therapeutic sites with first class resorts offering a diverse range of amenities. The goal is to provide its visitors with a unique and relaxing experience catering to all of their health and fitness and beauty needs.

Jordan is a modern country with an ancient culture, a land of which visitors can walk through the valleys, hills and plains whose names have become part of human history by virtue of the simple deeds and profound messages of prophets who walked the land and crossed its rivers during their lives.

Many of the sites where they are said to have performed miracles or reached out to ordinary people have been identified, excavated and protected, and are now more easily accessible to visitors.

Jordan is an ideal destination for those seeking cultural knowledge and spiritual enrichment. Jordan values its ethnically and religiously diverse population, consequently providing for the cultural rights of all its citizens. This spirit of tolerance and appreciation is one of the central elements contributing to the stable and peaceful cultural climate flourishing within Jordan. More than 92% of Jordanians are Sunni Muslims and approximately 6% are Christians. The majority of Christians belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, but there are also Greek Catholics, a small Roman Catholic community, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and a few Protestant denominations. Several small Shi'a and Druze populations can also be found in Jordan.

The site of John the Baptist's settlement at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from the Byzantine and medieval texts.

The site has now been identified on the east bank of the Jordan River, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and is being systematically surveyed, excavated, restored, and prepared to receive pilgrims and visitors. Bethany Beyond the Jordan is located half an hour by car from the Jordanian capital Amman.

The Bethany area sites formed part of the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mount Nebo.

The area is also associated with the biblical account of how the Prophet Elijah (Mar Elias in Arabic) ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire.