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DESTINATIONS JORDAN MIDDLE EAST


RIGHT: St Regis Amman


FAR RIGHT: Al-Husseini Mosque


BELOW: Madaba


the Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa. It takes me 45 minutes to get from my hotel, the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, to Madaba, the city of mosaics. Madaba, referred to in the Old


SAMPLE PRODUCT


Intrepid Travel features a six-day Real


Food Adventure escorted tour, taking in Wadi Rum, Petra and the Dead Sea. Prices start at £915 per person, excluding international flights.


intrepidtravel. com/uk


Explore offers an eight-night


Jordan Discovery package that


takes in Madaba, Mount Nebo, the Dead Sea and Petra. Prices start at £835 per person, excluding international flights.


explore.co.uk 56 travelweekly.co.uk 7 June 2018


Testament, has so many Byzantine-era mosaics that I suspect the creators halted their production line only because they ran out of room. The most famous example is in the Greek


Madaba has so many mosaics that I suspect the creators halted production only because they ran out of room


Orthodox St George’s Church. Inside, a scrap of carpet has been casually thrown over the biggest exposed section, and I discover another exposed patch beneath a pew. The mosaic map, which dates back to AD 560 and depicts every Middle Eastern biblical site, originally contained two million pieces. At the nearby Madaba


Archaeological Museum, I find the remains of a house, the entire floor of which is covered by a mosaic depicting peacocks and dancing women. There’s further proof of Jordan’s popularity at the nearby Dead Sea Panoramic Complex, which is home to a restaurant, conference centre and the Dead Sea Museum. But most people come for the view – head to the terrace for stunning views over the surrounding mountains, or sign up for a guided walk along the nearby Zara Cliffs, part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Get lucky and you’ll spot an ibex or a gazelle.


Another popular wildlife-spotting


destination is nearby Wadi Mujib, the world’s lowest nature reserve. Adrenaline junkies flock to this spectacular spot (depending on the season) to hike, abseil, swim or canyon along the breathtaking gorge.


w PROMISED LANDS One of the area’s most popular sites is the Unesco-listed Bethany Beyond the Jordan, on the eastern banks of the River Jordan. Said to be the spot where Jesus was baptised, it includes Byzantine remains and several churches. The historic (and now


PICTURES: ST REGIS AMMAN; JORDAN TOURISM BOARD/KIMBERLEY COOLE


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