At the heart of the Middle East, Jordan sits at one of the most important crossroads in the entire world. As such it has long been the subject of fascination for just about every empire that has turned its covetous gaze on this rich and beautiful territory. The Israelites, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans and the British have all been here in the past.

Nowadays Jordan is still visited by hordes of foreign invaders each year, but today they come as tourists. The region around the Dead Sea was the place where much of the Old Testament is based, and must count among the most archaeologically examined sites anywhere. Sodom and Gomorrah, the palace of King Herod, all are located on or around the shores of the inland sea, the saltiest body of water at the lowest point on land on the globe.

Biblical stories apart there is plenty to see elsewhere in the country. The desert of the east provides ample opportunities for exploration, by 4WD or camel. This is the old stamping ground of Lawrence of Arabia, and at Wadi Rum you can see where the English soldier led his band of tribesmen in the Arab Revolt.

In Petra Jordan can boast what is widely considered to be one of the new wonders of the world – the Nabatean city of Petra. Carved from excavated sandstone and only accessible via a narrow defile through the surrounding hill this secret city of the ancients was only made known to the outside world in the 19th century.

If you fancy a more conventional holiday you can head for Aqaba, Jordan’s port on the Red Sea and a fabulous coastal destination with some of the best offshore diving found anywhere in the world. Or try the capital Amman, an international city that combines modern living with ancient history.

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