The modern nation of Jordan straddles the African Rift Valley Fault, forming the geological boundary between the African plate and Arabian plate. The tectonic forces of those plates moving against one another through endless eons have conspired to create an otherworldly landscape of sand and stone. The ethereal empty beauty of Wadi Rum, the mind bending rock formations of the Dana Nature Reserve, the slot canyons of Wadi Gweir, and the tranquil desolation of the Dead Sea all stand as tribute to the earth-shaping forces at work.
Jordan’s rugged landscape has been a haven for humankind since time immemorial, and over the centuries those who have called this land home have left their mark. From the ancient Greeks and Romans who built temples, coliseums, and roads that still stand today in places like Jerash and Pella, to the Nabataeans and the wonder that is Petra, and through to the bustling modern city of Amman, Jordan’s landscape today is a rich tapestry of its past and present. Here’s how to tour it all.