Jordan is an incredible and storied Arab kingdom in Asia, bordering Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel. In a region so rich in culture, in history, in meaning for so many people, it is tempting to think we know everything there is to know about it. But Jordan has a few surprises to bestow upon the sophisticated traveler who is willing and eager to learn about the secrets of the Middle East.
Healing in the Dead Sea
Forgot chemical peels and laser treatments! In Jordan, you can get an ancient, effective, and invigorating body scrub. The Dead Sea waters are home to 35 different minerals, which are believed to cure everything from psoriasis to arthritis. The mud on the shore is very mineral-rich and visitors luxuriate in its restorative properties.
Jordan is one of the world’s premiere medical tourism destinations, and the Dead Sea is a big reason why. The Dead Sea Research Center, for instance, offers programs for patients that promote sun, Dead Sea baths, emollient creams, thermo-mineral baths, mud soaks, scalp treatments, sulfur baths, and more. Those seeking relief from respiratory illnesses benefit from Jordan’s high oxygen levels and low pollution and allergen levels.
Ancient Art Revealed
In the magical city of Petra, “a rose red city half as old as time,” ancient cave art has been restored. Far from primitive, the paintings feature angel-like figures, flowers, and birds, all intricately and brightly rendered. It is believed that the cave in which these are found was a refuge for a cult which worshipped Dionysus, the god of wine. Greek-inspired art in Jordan; a city carved into sandstone cliff faces; an adventure waiting for every visitor – especially those who are fans of Indiana Jones. Several scenes from the series were filmed in Petra.
The Holy Month of Ramadan
It’s not surprising that many Jordanians observe the holy month of Ramadan. What may be surprising to visitors is that the month of fasting, where eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited during the day – is actually a great time to visit. Try to fast yourself so you can feel a part of the sacrifice and celebration; you break the fast at iftar, or the evening meal. This is often a community ritual, and people gather to eat and celebrate. The westernized hotels and restaurants offer meals, or you can head out (early – lots of hungry people will be waiting in line!) to cafes. Stay up for the festivities that occur after iftar; it is a month-long party – at least at night!
Jordan is an intriguing land where visitors will find something new and fascinating with every day that dawns and every night that falls. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan invites you to explore its mysteries and charms.