Places to discover during trekking in Jordan
Jordan has a number of natural reserves where trekkers should go:
- Azraq Wetland Reserve – Azraq is a unique wetland oasis located in the heart of the semi-arid Jordanian eastern desert, managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). Its attractions include several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a large mudflat known as Qa'a Al-Azraq.
- Dana Biosphere Reserve – covers 308 km2, composed of a chain of valleys and mountains which extend from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley down to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba. Dana is home to about 600 species of plants, 37 species of mammals and 190 species of birds.
- Mujib Nature Reserve – the lowest nature reserve in the world, with a spectacular array of scenery near the east coast of the Dead Sea. The reserve is located within the deep Wadi Mujib gorge, which enters the Dead Sea at 410 m below sea level. The Reserve extends to the Kerak and Madaba mountains to the north and south, reaching 899 m above sea level in some places. Wadi Mujib enjoys a magnificent bio-diversity that is still being explored and documented today. Over 300 species of plants, 10 species of carnivores and numerous species of permanent and migratory birds have been recorded.
- Shaumari Wildlife Reserve – The Shaumari Reserve was created in 1975 by the RSCN as a breeding centre for endangered or locally extinct wildlife. Today, following breeding programmes with some of the world's leading wildlife parks and zoos, this small, 22 km2 reserve is a thriving protected environment for some of the most rare species in the Middle East, as Arabian oryx, ostriches, gazelles and onagers, which are depicted on many 6th century Byzantine mosaics.
- Petra in Wadi Musa, home of the Nabateans, is a complete city carved in a mountain. The huge rocks are colorful, mostly pink, and the entrance to the ancient city is through a 1.25 km narrow gorge in the mountain—called the Siq. In the city are various structures, all are carved into rock, including al Khazneh – known as the Treasury – which has been designated as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" by the for-profit New Open World Corporation.
- Umm Qais, a town on the site of the ruined Hellenistic–Roman city
- Jerash is famous for its ancient Roman architecture, with colonnaded streets, Corinthian arches, outdoor Roman Theaters and the Oval Plaza.
- Shoubak with its Crusader castle, "Crac de Montreal", marking both the eastern and southern frontier of Crusader expansion.
- Ajloun has a medieval Crusader castle
- Al Karak contains an important castle from the times of Salah al-Din, known as Al-Karak Castle.
- Umm el-Jimal, the so-called "Black Gem of the Desert", was once a town on the margins of the Decapolis. Rural and well to do, it was a fitting contrast to the surrounding busy cities. Its black basalt mansions and towers, some still standing three stories high, have long inspired poets.
- Qasr Amra, one of the best preserved Umayyad Islamic period monuments. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with unique frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colourful mosaics. It, too, is a World Heritage Site.
- Umm ar-Rasas, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, these ruins show a mix of Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim architecture. Among its treasures is the largest church mosaic floor in the country; newer discoveries are possible as the site has not been completely excavated.