Editorial Feature

6 Places Where The Past Meets The Present in Jordan

Discover where the old meets the new with the launch of Jordan on Street View

Jordan is a country of layers. Humans were first thought to have settled in Amman, its capital, as early as 13th century BCE, and since then it's been home to many great civilizations: all of whom have left their mark on the landscape. Over time the cities have expanded and built around these relics and monuments, leaving portals to ancient history amid everyday life. You can turn a corner and find a Greco-Roman temple of Hercules next to an 8th century Umayyad palace—both surrounded by a ring of modern-day buildings and dwellings. New roads wind seamlessly around archaeological ruins, and beach resorts have sprung up next to centuries-old fortresses.

So let's take a tour with Street View, and explore the not-so-hidden historical treasures of Jordan.

The Temple of Artemis, Jerash

North of Jordan’s capital of Amman lies Jerash, where Greco-Roman traditions meet the Arab world. Inscriptions suggest that the city was founded by Alexander the Great, who allegedly used it as a settlement for older soldiers on his way to Mesopotamia in 331 BCE. Jerash is considered one of the largest and best-preserved sites of Roman architecture outside of Italy.

The Arch of Hadrian, Jerash

You'd be forgiven for doing a double take while driving down Jerash's Highway 20 when you pass by the 21-metres high triple arches of a Roman gateway from 129-130 AD. The Arch of Hadrian was built to honor the Roman Emperor Hadrian when he visited the city, which was then called Gerasa.

The Roman Amphitheatre, Amman

The Roman Theatre in the heart of downtown Amman dates back to the 2nd century, when the city was known as Philadelphia, after its Ptolemaic ruler, Philadelphus. The magnificent structure was built to seat 6,000 people, and is still used as a venue today, connecting the centuries together.

Amman Citadel, Amman

On the top of the highest hill in Amman lies the Amman Citadel, the most ancient part of the city. Excavation work within its walls uncovered a tomb containing pottery and scarab seals that dates back to around 1650 BCE. It is considered one of the world’s oldest continually occupied places, with the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad civilizations all inhabiting it.

Aqaba Fortress, Aqaba

Amidst the Red Sea beach resorts, on Jordan's small 26 mile stretch of coastline, lies Aqaba Castle, built by Mamluk sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri in the 16th century. It's position on the shore made it a vital base for defense, as well as a travellers’ inn, or khan, for pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

Karak Castle, Al-Karak

Rising above Karak, a city on the ancient Kings Highway trade route home to around 170,000 people, lies Karak Castle. Constructed in the 1140s with a mix of west European, Byzantine, and Arab design, it's one of the largest Crusader castles in the Levant, playing a legendary part in the battles between the Crusaders and the Islamic armies of Saladin.

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