13 Old Ruins to explore in Jordan
Located at the cross roads of Asia, Africa and Europe. Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an "oasis of stability" in a turbulent region. It has been mostly unscathed by the violence that swept the region following the Arab Spring in 2010. From as early as 1948, Jordan has accepted refugees from multiple neighbouring countries in conflict.
L-shaped hill with a long history of occupation by many great civilizations- Assyrians, Babylonians, the Ptolemies, the Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, and the Umayyads. The hill became the capital of the Kingdom of Ammon sometime after 1200 BC. The major buildings at the site are the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad Palace.
Originally built by Crusaders in the 12th century. It was the location to the victory of the Arab Revolt, when this heavily defended Turkish stronghold fell to an Arab camel charge. Lawrence of Arabia rode triumphantly from here to Cairo to report the good news to General Allenby.
Historic 3rd-century church, considered to be the world's oldest-known purpose-built Christian church. Its first phase was dated between 293 and 303, which makes it older than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, both of which were built in the late 320s.
A fortified hilltop palace, it is the location of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist. It was originally built by the Hasmonean king, Alexander Jannaeus (104 BC-78 BC) in about the year 90 BC. The hilltop, which stands about 1,100 meters above Dead Sea level, is surrounded on all sides by deep ravines which provide great natural strength.
A much smaller version of the grand Petra, consisting of three wider open areas connected by a 450-metre (1,480 ft) canyon. Like Petra, it is a Nabataean site, with buildings carved into the walls of the sandstone canyons. While the purpose of some of the buildings is not clear, archaeologists believe that the whole complex was a suburb of Petra, the Nabatean capital, meant to house visiting traders on the Silk Road.
Desert castle built sometime before the early 8th century AD. The purpose of this building is still unclear- the building's internal arrangement does not suggest a military use, and slits in its wall could not have been designed for arrowslits. It could have been a resting place for traders, but lacks the water source such buildings usually had close by and is not on any major trade routes.
Ruin of an Umayyad winter palace, part of a string of castles, palaces and caravanserais known collectively in Jordan as the Desert Castles. Though much of the ruins can still be found in the site, the most striking feature of the palace, its facade, has been removed and is on display at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
A crusader castle perched on the side of a rocky, conical mountain. It was built in 1115 by Baldwin I of Jerusalem during his expedition to the area where he captured Aqaba on the Red Sea in 1116. The castle was strategically important as it dominated the main passage from Egypt to Syria. This allowed who ever to hold the castle to tax not only traders, both those who were on pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina.
Situated in the Jordanian Desert, the site has been allied to the biblical settlement of Mephaat mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah. The Roman military utilized the site as a strategic garrison, but it was later converted and inhabited by Christian and Islamic communities. The mosaic floor of the Church of St Stephen made in 785 (discovered after 1986) is the most important discovery on the site. The perfectly preserved mosaic floor is the largest in Jordan.