Jordan Overview

Located in West Asia, Jordan is bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, and Israel and Palestine to the west. Tourists can access the Red Sea through the southern port city of Aqaba. Amman, capital of Jordan is located in the northwest part of the country. While the majority of Jordan is desert, the northwest area is quite fertile and is part of the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent, which has been referred to as the “cradle of civilization”.

Etiquette Tips For Jordan:

Etiquette is very important in Jordanian culture. While Jordanians graciously tolerate behaviors from visitors that may not necessarily conform to their own standards of etiquette, you can show respect for Jordanian customs by following a few basic rules:

  • Stand when someone important, or another guest, enters the room.
  • Shake hands with everyone, but only with a Jordanian woman if she offers her hand first.
  • Don’t engage in any conversation about sensitive or personal topics unless you know the person you’re talking to well.
  • Most women don’t like to be clicked. Ask permission or avoid altogether.
  • Remove your shoes when visiting a mosque or a private house (unless you’re specifically told to keep them on).
  • Never interrupt someone praying.


What to wear in Jordan:

I found Jordan to be a liberal country. However some religious places may have clothes restrictions. Here are my packing tips based upon my trip in May:

  • Smart Casuals
  • Casual trousers / jeans and T-shirts.
  • A warm but light jacket/and or a shawl for nights.
  • Walking shoes – You will be walking a lot in Jordan. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Flip Flops advised for the nights and the beach.
  • Some places like Wadi Rum are remote. It is advised that the travelers must carry basic medications along. You might waste time finding the brand you need. Worse still, you may not be able to find the same brand in Jordan.
  • Jordan is a heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. Sunscreen and Sun glasses are must!
  • It is a picture perfect location. Do carry a good camera and enough memory cards!

Pics above: Mars Like Wadi Rum was my favourite in Jordan

More Soul Window Tips for Jordan:

  • The water is safe to drink here but if you are still unsure you can buy bottled water
  • Take these things back home– Dead Sea products, Local Souvenirs, Mugs, Mosaics from Madaba, Different kinds of nuts, olives, spices to name few.
Click to read why I ran out of Dead Sea as soon as I entered it!

Food Tips For Jordan:

Healthy food is available all over Jordan. The cooking standards are good. Most restaurants and take away outlets maintain hygiene and quality. It is a paradise for vegans as most of the mezzes and deserts are 100 % vegetarian and healthy.

Time Zone : Jordan

From the beginning of October to the end of March, Jordan is two hours ahead of Greenwich

Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Jordan switches to Daylight Saving Time in the summer, when it is three hours ahead of GMT between South Africa and its neighboring countries, or between the 9 provinces of South Africa.

Currency of Jordan:

The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar, commonly called JD. 1 JD = $1.41 USD (as on January 2017)

Denominations– 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 JD notes are in circulation. The Dinar is equal to 100 piasters (pronounced “peeaster”) of 1,000 fils. The piaster is the unit most commonly used. If you see prices written as 4,750, it means the price is 4.75JD. Currency can be exchanged at major banks, exchange agencies, and most hotels. Indians can withdraw JD at ATMs with their Indian Debit cards. My advice: Withdraw whatever amount you want to withdraw in Amman. It has more numbers of ATMs.

Aqaba : The only coastal city of Jordan which borders Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel!

Best Time To Go To Jordan:

Jordan boasts almost year-round sunshine with temperate weather.

  • The Spring and Fall seasons: Mild and temperatures range from 60-70°F/15-21°C, with rain being more common in the Spring.
  • Summers are sunny with temperatures averaging 90°F/32°C in the day with cool evenings.
  • July and August are the sunniest and driest months of the year, especially in Amman and the Jordan Valley. In the desert areas, temperatures can reach 100°F/38°C.
  • The winter months from November to April can be cold, but snow is rare. Aqaba is an especially pleasant wintertime resort with the colder temperatures staying in the north. About 75%of the country can be described as having a moderate climate with very little annual rainfall.

I went in May. It was a pleasant time to be in Jordan. The days were breezy and conducive to walking. The nights were cooler (Just a shawl or light sweater is fine). Below is a lowdown on what weather is like in May in Jordan:

– Amman – 26°C – 32°C

– Petra – 22° – 26°C

– Aqaba – 31° – 35°C

– Dead Sea – 23° – 26°C

– Wadi Rum- 26° – 30°C

Average temperatures in Jordan by season:

Month Lowest Highest

January 40°F/5°C 60°F/15°C

April 54°F/12°C 77°F/25°C

July 66°F/19°C 97°F/36°C

October 55°F/13°C 84°F/28°C

Amman Citadel : Click the link to read why this place is the cradle of civilizations.

Immunizations advice for Jordan:

 No vaccinations are required to enter Jordan, although preventive shots for hepatitis, polio, tetanus, and typhoid are recommended. Travelers with personal health issues should consult their physicians before traveling. Medications should be carried in hand luggage along with passport, tickets, money, and other important belongings. Carry a small carry-on case with change and other essential for the layover in Sharjah. Don’t check this piece in.

Electric Outlets available in Jordan:

The electrical system in Jordan is based on 220 AC volts/50 cycles and requires two-pronged wall plugs, similar to ones found in parts of Europe.

Religion in Jordan:

The main religion in Jordan is Islam with 92% of the population being Muslim, but all religions are free to practice. 6% of the population is Christian, with the remaining 2% being a mix of other religions including Druze and Baha’i.

Smoking advice for Jordan:

Smoking is much more common in Jordan than in Europe or the United States, and smoke-free accommodation is relatively unusual (with the exception of larger hotels). Smoking the traditional water pipe or nargileh, also known as hubbly bubbly, is an interesting experience that visitors can try in any coffeehouse and many restaurants. The tobacco flavor is mild and mostly fruit-flavored. Most restaurants have smoking and non smoking areas. When smoking on road, pls drop the ash tray attached to the poles (Yes, it is for real!)

Tipping Tips for Jordan:

As a tourism based economy, Tipping is always appreciated. A 10% service charge is often added in hotels and restaurants, and extra tips are discretionary. In restaurants, for example, tipping an extra dinar for breakfast and two extra dinars for lunch and dinner is customary.

In general, you should plan to tip guides, drivers, and anyone else who performs a service for you in the amount you deem appropriate for the service rendered. Having small bills on hand makes tipping more convenient.

How To Reach: Air Arabia runs economic yet comfortable flights from India via U.A.E. Check my review of Air Arabia Flight.


The view from the Amman Citadel in Jordan

Below is a 7 day itinerary for Jordan. It is more suitable for luxury but adaptable for budget too:


  • Arrive at Q.A.I. Airport on Air Arabia
  • Check in at hotel in Amman Crowne Plaza Amman Hotel
  • Lunch inside the hotel Al Halabi Restaurant
  • Visit the site of Jerash
  • Visit Citadel
  • Visit Down Town Local Markets
  • Rainbow Street
  • Dinner Sufra Restaurant
  • Overnight Crowne Plaza Amman Hotel


  • Visit Royal Automobile in the morning
  • Carry Shawerma & Falafel as take away lunch
  • Drive down South to Petra
  • 5:30 PM Early dinner with cooking class Petra Kitchen Rest.
  • 8:30 PM Petra by night event
  • Overnight Petra Guest House Hotel


  • Half day visit to the site of Petra
  • Lunch at Al Qantarah Restaurant near Petra
  • Visit Little Petra
  • Afternoon Drive to Wadi Rum
  • Jeep tour in the desert. Visit the sun set point.
  • Overnight Dinner and music program at Al Captain Camp


  • Morning drive to Aqaba
  • Lunch cruise with Yasmina Boat
  • Check in Moevenpick Resort &Residences Aqaba
  • Dinner Royal Yacht Club
  • Shopping in the streets near the hotel
  • Overnight Moevenpick Resort & residences Aqaba


  • Morning drive from Aqaba to Dead Sea
  • Check in Jordan Valley Marriott
  • Lunch in the in house restaurant
  • Time at Leisure
  • Floating in Dead Sea
  • Dinner inside hotel Italian Restaurant
  • Overnight Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa


  • Visit Baptism Site
  • Visit Mount Nebo
  • Lunch at Haret Jdoudna, Madaba
  • Continue the trip to visit Evason Mai’n Hot Springs
  • Time at Leisure
  • Dinner & overnight Evason Mai’n Hot Springs


  • Transfer to Q.A.I. Airport to depart

Jordan Tourism Details:



P.O.Box 830688 Amman 11183 – Jordan Tel. (962 6) 5678294 Fax (962 6) 5678295

Petra at Night is magical: Please click the link to read how it feels there at night. And of course for exclusive pictures!








Mövenpick Resort and Residences, Aqaba- The Ultimate Luxury Experience in Aqaba!


Click on the link to know all that you wanted to know about Petra – a UNESCO World heritage site and one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Spread the love, share this blog

Got any question/comments, ask in the comment section below so that it can benefit other readers.

Email me for collaboration:

Be a part of my journey on social media. The travel content I create there is different from this blog.

Pls subscribe/follow/like:

You Tube




NOTE: I was invited by Jordan Tourism Board to Jordan on a Press Trip




Amman Citadel aka Jabal al-Qal’a (Hill of The Citadel)

A Brief History

THANKS TO MY PRE TRAVEL RESEARCH, I had obsessed about the hand of Hercules even before I had stepped foot in Jordan. It looked eerie in pictures. The fact that only a hand is all that which remains from a tall marble statue built centuries ago, made me curious. As soon as I entered the Amman Citadel, the first thing I asked is “Where can I find the Hand of Hercules?” The size of the hand left me a little disappointed because the pictures made it look much larger than it is! It was lying unceremoniously, belying its importance, in front of the little museum. The statue was 13 meters high, which makes it one of the largest statues from Greco Roman times.

The hand of Hercules and the city of Amman as seen from Citadel.

In the background were gloomy looking refugee colonies of Amman, all of them painted in a sad, monochromatic pastel hue! As if mourning their refugee status! As if mourning the loss of the Statue of Hercules! I learnt it is a Government mandate and what I mistook as paint was actually local stone which is compulsory in the construction of buildings in Amman.

The hand of Hercules. Not as big as it seems in this picture though!

In far distance was a 6000 seater Roman amphitheatre, making its presence felt amongst modern construction. It is still used for cultural programs. In its opposite direction Jordanian flag flew with aplomb! Amman Citadel is one of those rare gems which have been continually inhabited by different civilizations at different times. Humans have lived here since Neolithic age (10,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C.). Bronze Age (1800 BCE) onwards the citadel was fortified.  Ever since, the place has seen reconstruction by different empires. No wonder it boasts of a Roman temple, a Byzantine Church, an Umayyad Palace amongst other gems. The ruins are a result of an 8th century earthquake, looting and reuse of materials from existing buildings to create new ones. Let’s explore Citadel’s main attractions in the chronological order of the age:

The new and the old co exist in Amman. This ancient amphitheater is still in use.

1) The Mysterious Cave (2250 BC):

Just as we were leaving Citadel in a hurry, I ran to check out a mysterious looking cave. It is a tomb cave from the Bronze era. The sheer age of the cave gives you some perspective about the place along with some goose bumps.

The exterior of the cave.

Such tombs are found across Amman. These are meant for multiple burials. It was dark and sunlight from limestone cavities helped me observe the insides of the cave. During middle bronze age (1700-1550 BC), it was modified for communal burial. The cave at Citadel like many others of its kind was used for purposes other than burial too. During the Umayyad period it was cleared and re used by stone cutters who carved the stones for the construction of other buildings on a large scale.

The interior of the cave

2) Fortification Walls: 150 A.D.

The walled city has been fortified many times by different empires. Towards the end of Middle Bronze Age (1700-1550 BC), a sloping wall called ‘glacis’ was erected around the Citadel. It was slippery and discouraged invaders to climb the wall. Not much of such walls from Middle Bronze Age and Iron Age are found during excavation though. Later Roman (161-166 A.D.) and thereafter Umayyads (730 A.D.) improved the walls. The Umayyads rebuilt the walls completely, even incorporating the sections of Roman wall in the new plan. The 1680 meter long wall covered the entire Citadel. The Abbasids (800 AD) restored much of the fallen wall post earthquake of 749 A.D.

The temple of Hercules

3) The Temple Of Hercules: 161-166 AD

Hercules, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, is known to have supernatural physical strength.  In those times, Amman was called Philadelphia (It was called Rabbath Ammon during Iron Age) and coins minted in the city depicted Hercules. The importance of Hercules can be ascertained from the ruins of a massive Temple of Hercules (161-166 AD) aka Roman Temple. A colonnaded temenos (sacred precincts) supports the temple. It is said that the temenos was once connected to the Roman City below via staircase. Not much has remained from the original structure though. Much of its treasures were looted long as long ago as 8th century. Since new construction came up in the Citadel in subsequent years, much of its material was used to new construction. The four columns of the temple were ruined by an earthquake in January, 749 AD. The column you see today is restoration work. New columned drums were carved to support the ancient structures. It is said that a temple dedicated to Ammonite God Milkom once stood here.

This is how the temple looked like originally. Notice the absence of columns in the background. Pic Credit:


An ancient inscription at the top of the façade of the temple says that it was built when Geminius Marcianos was governor of Provincia Arabia (161- 166 A.D.) According to inscription, it was dedicated to the co-emperors of Rome. In fact, another Roman Temple (built before mid 2nd century A.D.) stood nearby. It stood at the highest point of acropolis, North of Citadel. However, the temple was dismantled and its material was used in the construction of Umayyad Complex in 730 A.D. On the basis of absence of columns in the rear of the temple, historians have concluded that it was an incomplete temple.

One of the better preserved remains of Umayyad palace

4) Byzantine Church: 550 A.D.

The Byzantine Empire aka Eastern Roman Empire left its traces in Citadel as well. This basilica was constructed during 6th century. Not much of what must have been an impressive building is left today. What I saw was a nave (central part of a Church), flanked by some Corinthian columns. The columns were decorated with acanthus leaves. Two side aisles, paved with flagstones, ran behind the columns.

Corinthian columns at Byzantine Church. Notice the acanthus leaves

These columns were once a part of Temple of Hercules, few steps away. Towards the end of the nave (Eastern side) is a semi circular apse, separated from the Church by a choir/chancel screen.  I joined the dots and I could visualize how the real thing must have looked like. Greek inscription near apse says, “….was paved with mosaics by the zeal and labor…” I could not see mosaic (common in Byzantine period) on the floor of the nave. A placard said it was covered for conservation. During the Umayyad period, the cisterns inside the basilica walls were much in use.

Byzantine Church 1)Corinthian columns 2)Nave 3)Apse 4)Aisle

5) Water Systems: 730 A.D.

Even today harvesting of water is a major issue in Amman. In those times, water cisterns and channels were built and rebuilt by different empires. Sophisticated underground water channels helped recycle the water. Thanks to the lack of a natural spring, collection and storage of water was practiced.

6) Al Qasr aka Umayyad Palace: 730 A.D.

Not far away is the colossal Umayyad Palace. The Umayyad caliphate (aka Omayyad), controlled by the Umayyad dynasty (AD 661-750) from Mecca, was one of the 4 Arab caliphates established post the death of Prophet Muhammad.  It was one of the largest empires in human history ever. As I entered the building, I discovered much of it was in ruins except the entrance hall. A Dome and a semi circular archway marked its entrance. The Greek Cross plan of the entrance chamber suggests that it was built in Byzantine style or perhaps it was built on a Byzantine building which originally existed there. Remains of a large water reservoir and a Byzantine Church are nearby.

Umayyad Palace: front

The mosque, built at the highest point of Citadel is a simple building though not scoring any low points on grandeur either. Towards the south of the palace, the mosque has the unique vaulted roof also seen in the ancient mosques of Tunisia and Afghanistan. The use of the palace is unclear. Most historians agree, however, that it was used as the residence of Governor of Amman as well as for administrative offices. The earthquake in 8th century destroyed much of it. It was never rebuilt except the dome, which was added to it during restoration. The existence of a dome in the original edifice is still argued upon by the purists.

Umayyad Palace: Back

I took the exit from the vestibule of the domed building to discover a large open space, every inch of which was scattered with ruins and history. A colonnaded street (series of columns) indicates that an entire Roman street (which originally existed here) was incorporated in the Umayyad Palace. This was the administration hub. Remains of official/residential units built in Umayyad style bayt flanked the streets. These were small rooms which facilitated a view of the central courtyard.

The Roman colonnaded street in the Umayyad Palace campus. The Roman era feature was integrated into the plan of the palace.

7) Jordan Archeological Museum: 1951 A.D.

Citadel is an open air museum what with pathways lined with carved stones excavated from Citadel. In anyhow houses a formal museum too. The first public museum of Jordan, it houses some very valuable artifacts, much of which was unearthed at the Citadel. Interestingly the architecture of the museum building blends in with neighbouring ruins. Its plan and construction mimics the ruin just behind it.

The skeleton of the child

My interest in all things macabre/morbid/bizzare draws me to a small skeleton encased in glass. It turned out to be the skeleton of a child. The placard told me that “in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine, it was a regular practice to bury infants in a jar. The jar was mostly kept under the floor of the living room, perhaps to keep the child within the family circle.” Yes, I read the placard twice!

Pics above: Coffins and head of a nymph

The museum also displays 5 anthropoid coffins. Discovered in the grounds of Raghadan Palace (Amman) in 1966 in a cistern like tomb, these were made up of baked clay. Crushed pieces of pottery were used as grits. Each coffin came with 4 handles. One of them even has 16 handles arranged in 2 rows. It was perhaps used to elevate the coffin when laid horizontally. A lid was cut out towards the end where the head of the deceased would rest. The handles on the lid and body of the coffin were tied together. On two of the lids, portrait of the deceased was placed. Each coffin carried 2 or 3 skeletons. Such burial practice (13th to 7th century B.C.) is rare in Jordan and Palestine. Sahab (South Amman), Lachish, Tell al-Far’ah, Besan and Deir al-Balah in Palestine are some of the sites where such discoveries are made. Strange indeed!

This person underwent trephening. Notice the small hole in the front.

Another skull found in Jericho from the early Bronze era drew my attention. The 4 holes in the skulls intrigued me. It was a scary sounding practice of Trephining. Trephining is an ancient surgical practice where hole is drilled in the skull. The person whose skull was displayed underwent multiple operations. The first operation was a success as indicated by the complete healing. (See pic carefully: The smallest hole). The 3 operations thereafter failed and he died subsequently. Interesting!

One of the oldest statue in the world made by humans.

The ‘Ain Ghazal statues are one of the oldest surviving statues in the world. Dating back to 6000-8000 BCE, These statues were found in ‘Ain Ghazal, a Neolithic archeological site in Amman. These were used in rituals and were found in a special building used for rituals. Another statue found in Jericho from the pre pottery Neolithic period is one of the earliest statues made by humans. Other interesting pieces in the museum were Pottery figurines from Jerash, bowls, animal figurines, huge storage jars, a large lion figure (Lions are extinct in this region now),  an impressive life size marble statue of Daedalus (Roman, 2nd-3rd century A.D.)

Marble statue of Daedalus was in very good condition

The view from my #SoulWindow is eye opening!

The city of Amman as seen from Citadel. Notice the bowl shaped ancient amphitheater.

Be a part of my journey on social media. The travel content I create there is different from this blog.

Pls subscribe/follow/like:

You Tube




The monochromatic buildings of Jordan and the Jordanian flag.

Spread the love, share this blog

Got any question/comments, ask in the comment section below so that it can benefit other readers.

Our vivacious and erudite local Guide Salah. He had relatives in my hometown Lucknow, India

Email me for collaboration :

Me at Temple of Hercules
Beware of the sinister looking though harmless lizards at Citadel