The Most Amazing Landmarks in Jordan (MUST See)
The country of Jordan sits in the magnificent Middle East, ripe with adventure and incredible landmarks throughout. From the Eastern Desert to the Red Sea, Wadi Mujib (Jordan’s Grand Canyon) to the Jordan Valley, incredible landmarks of all kinds are around every corner.
Traveling to Jordan means the chance to experience a new culture while you explore ancient Roman ruins, fascinating archaeological sites, the remains of ancient cities, and the world-famous Dead Sea. These famous Jordan landmarks will have you ready to click “book trip” in no time!
Natural Landmarks in Jordan
The natural landmarks in Jordan are a major part of what makes this country special. Glimpses into ancient life in the Middle East can be seen through remains of the Roman Empire, rose-colored sandstone canyons, and preserved historic sites.
The Canyons at Wadi Rum
Located in the heart of the Wadi Rum Desert, this unique area is often called “The Valley of the Moon.” Some call Wadi Rum Jordan’s “adventure playground with endless opportunities to explore. Craters, canyons, and towering rock formations make up this incredible desert landscape. The canyon walls in Wadi Rum are inscribed with interesting ruins and over 20,000 petroglyphs from 12,000 years ago.
Here you can choose your own adventure with everything from camel rides, jeep rides, canyon rock climbing, and dozens of campsites to choose from. Take on Burdah Mountain and hike to the famous Burdah Rock Bridge on a challenging rock scramble. 4×4 your way through the desert on a Jeep safari past sweeping dunes, craggy mountains, and wild rocks in this amazing protected area.
The Wadi Rum Desert is perfect for photographers, nature lovers, and adventurers looking to explore yet another Jordan landmark designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World!
The Dead Sea
Fed mainly by the River Jordan, the Dead Sea has the saltiest and most mineral-rich water in the world! It’s also the lowest point on Earth, sitting more than 1,400 feet below sea level. It’s about 10x saltier than your typical ocean, making it easy to float (but don’t stay in too long!).
The Dead Sea is like a natural spa. With its minerals and salinity, mud from the Dead Sea is said to hydrate and heal dry skin, “beautify,” and create a smooth, natural glow. It’s often harvested and sold as a natural beauty product. Due to the salt content, there are no fish or wildlife in the Dead Sea other than a few microorganisms that can withstand the saline.
Dead Sea Pro Tip: The concentrated salt and minerals of the Dead Sea really sting when they touch a scrape or scratch, so we recommend not shaving a day or two before taking a dip. Jewelry will also tarnish from the salt and minerals, so taking it off before your salty float is a good idea.
Historical Sites in Jordan
Structures dating back to the early Stone Age, the Roman era, and the Byzantine era make up some of the most amazing historical sites in Jordan. Witness relics of the past at one of Jordan’s museums. Travel along ancient trade routes where centuries of travelers once walked. Find yourself awestruck by the endurance of religious art created hundreds of years ago.
The Ancient King’s Highway
Winding through the Jordan River Valley all the way to northern Jordan, the Ancient King’s Highway also gives access to the modern city of Amman, medieval structures like Kerak Castle, the spectacular Dana Biosphere Reserve, and all kinds of exploring in the Jordan Valley.
This modern road has an ancient history as one of the most important trade routes in the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age, connecting Arabia and the Levant.
The desert highway runs along the Jordan River and connects several significant Jordan landmarks such as the City of Petra, Byzantine churches and Roman ruins, and ancient desert castles. The old-world route was also used for religious sites and pilgrimage for Christians visiting the Holy Land in the Byzantine Era, and for Muslims during the Islamic Period traveling to Mecca.
The Famous Madaba Map
The Madaba Mosaic Map is the oldest known geographic floor mosaic in Art History. Talk about ancient! It’s located in the Byzantine Church of St. George at Madaba, about a 45-minute drive from downtown Amman.
Visiting the amazing Madaba Mosaic map can easily be done on full or half-day trip excursions from Amman Citadel, and is usually paired with a stop at a few other amazing landmarks in Jordan.
The map shows an outline of the Middle East from Lebanon to the Nile Delta in the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the west and depicts significant sites like the Dead Sea, the site of the Holy Land, the Gate of St. Stephen, Bethlehem, and other important biblical sites.
The Roman Temple of Hercules
Built to honor the ancient deity, the Roman Temple of Hercules is the only surviving structure from the Roman Empire made of Greek marble. It’s definitely worth a stop here when you spend the day in the city of Amman. Check out the Jordan Pass for entrance to this historical site and other top landmarks in Jordan like Wadi Rum, Petra, and the ruins at Jerash!
All that remains of a giant statue found at the Roman Temple by archeologists—believed to be Hercules himself—are three enormous fingers and part of an arm. The original statue is estimated to have been nearly 40 feet tall! Visitors love to observe this evidence of ancient belief in the superhero-level strong son of Zeus, and of course, snap a few pics of the hand and the temple’s architecture.
Archaeological Landmarks in Jordan
Archeological landmarks in Jordan make up a huge part of the country’s rich history. It’s amazing how these places have withstood time, and stand strong for adventurers like us to visit today!
Landmarks like these preserve cultures that have moved through time in what we now know as Jordan. Visiting them is a major privilege, and these archeological landmarks are the perfect window into ancient times.
The Ancient City of Petra
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1980s, the Lost City of Petra is perhaps the most impressive landmark in Jordan! Take a day trip back to ancient times at this iconic southern Jordan Landmark, filled with awe-striking structures from royal tombs and ancient Roman ruins, and countless archeological sites to witness.
Hiking is the best way to experience the ancient world of Petra, and the narrow Siq Canyon Trail will lead you through a narrow canyon to the main ruins of Petra. An astounding archaeological site, here you can see structures like the sandstone-carved Byzantine Church.
The Treasury at Petra is perhaps the most famous landmark in the whole country and the filming site of George Lucas’ Indiana Jones! This sandstone-carved depiction of great wealth takes about an hour to hike to. You can even ride a donkey or a camel on the hiking trails at Petra!
The Jordan Archaeological Museum
Located in the capital Amman Citadel, the Jordan Archaeological Museum has displayed artifacts of Jordanian history for almost 75 years. Perched atop the highest hill in Amman Citadel, the museum is home to artifacts from all different eras.
Here you can see detailed descriptions of pottery from the Roman Empire, preserved skulls from the Byzantine Era, rhinoceros teeth that are almost 20,000 years old, and the notable Dead Sea Scrolls—ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious manuscripts discovered in the 1940s.
The Roman Theatre of Amman
A popular monument also located in the city of Amman, the Roman Theatre dates back to the era when the city was known as Roman Philadelphia. It’s one of the most photographed locations in the country, with the best time to take photos at this iconic Jordan landmark being the morning before the sun gets too high.
In its heyday, the Roman Theatre could seat around 6,000 people and was designed to face north, keeping spectators out of the sun. It’s thought that the theater was likely used for events like gladiator games, animal hunts, and patriotic events leading up to military battles.
Today the remains of the Roman Theatre are the venue for several cultural events in Jordan, including the Amman International Book Fair, the ceremony for the Amman Marathon, and Al-Balad Music Festival.
Ready to Explore Jordan?
We know, we know—you’re itching for a trip to Jordan after taking a deep dive into these landmarks. Do we have news for you!
Explorer Chick’s Jordan and Petra Ultimate Tour takes you and a group of badass adventure babes straight to the source of all things awesome in Jordan. Explore the ancient city of Petra? Check. Jeep ramble and rock scramble in Wadi Rum? You got it!
Our mission is amazing adventures, and with your expert Explorer Chick guides you’re bound for awesome on this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Jordan!
Meet the Writer
April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.
Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!
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