After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover Jordan and Amman's culture, traditions, and everyday life after your class is over. Examples of typical cultural opportunities: Visit to Petra, Jerash, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Baptism Site, Dead Sea, etc.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
Situated about 31 miles (50km) north of Amman is one of the top attractions in Jordan, the ancient city of Jerash, which is considered to be one of the best preserved Roman sites in the world. Its exceptional state of preservation is due to the fact that it was buried in sand for centuries and the magnificent baths, theatres, temples, arches, columns and stone chariot-rutted streets have long attracted scholars and tourists from across the world to admire the most complete city in the Roman Decapolis.
Dating to the Neolithic Age have indicated that Jerash was continuously occupied for more than 6,500 years. Today visitors can marvel as the ancient amphitheatre comes to life at the annual Jerash festival of Culture and Arts, where artists from around the globe sing, dance, act and play music on stage in a celebration of Jordanian and international culture (July).
Desert Castle Loop:
Stretching to the east of Amman towards Saudi Arabia and Iraq is the vast desert plain where a cluster of historic ruins such as castles, forts, baths and palaces have been preserved and are collectively known as desert castles. Their purpose is largely unknown, but most are thought to have been built as recreational retreats by the Umayyad caliphs during the early Islamic Period (7th to 8th centuries AD).
Qasr Mushatta is the biggest and most elaborate of the castles, a fine example of Umayyad architecture although it was never completed. The best preserved and most enchanting is the luxurious bathhouse of Qusayr ‘Amra, with its domed ceiling and colourful interior frescoes and mosaics, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other desert castles include the black rock fortress at Azraq, which was the desert headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia during the Great Arab Revolt in 1917, the mysterious Qasr al-Kharrana, Qasr al-Hallabat’s crumbling remains and the well-preserved complex at Qastal.
Tip: East and south of Amman; Transport: Most of the castles can be visited on a day trip from Amman via Azraq by using a variety of public buses and minibuses combined with hitching or walking, although it is easier and less time consuming to hire a car or a taxi for the day.
Situated about 28 miles (45km) from Amman, lies the famous geographic attraction known as the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth at 1,335ft (407m) below sea level. Devoid of plant or animal life due the high salt concentration (four times saltier than normal sea water), it is the incredible mineral rich water that has made it an internationally sought-after destination since ancient times, popular for its curative properties as well as for the experience of floating effortlessly on its surface.
Most students go to the main resort area on the northern shore at Suweimeh, where the Dead Sea Resthouse provides showers, a restaurant, a beach and the opportunity to smother oneself in the mineral-rich black mud. Accommodation is available at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel where various medical treatments are also on offer.
Main Sights: Get to Know Amman
From its position on top of a hill overlooking the city, the Citadel stands testament to the history of Amman, with its ancient ruins and excavated relics, alongside those from throughout the country, housed in the Jordan Archaeological Museum. It is the site of the ancient capital Rabbath-Ammon and numerous excavations have revealed Stone Age remains as well as those from the Roman to the Islamic periods.
The site contains several structures including the impressive Omayyad Palace (al-Qasr), a small Byzantine basilica and what was once the Temple of Hercules, the Great Temple of Ammam. Also on the site is the Jordan Archaeological Museum, which has an excellent collection of artefacts from Jordan dating back to the earliest settlement in the region over 700,000 years ago. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Iron Age sarcophagi and a copy of the Mesha Stele are its most important exhibits.
Below the Citadel is the magnificent Roman amphitheater, an impressive relic from ancient Philadelphia that is cut into the hill and can seat up to 6,000 people. The theatre is still used occasionally for events today. Two cultural museums form part of the complex: the Jordan Folklore Museum, which has exhibits on traditional life, and the Museum of Popular Traditions with traditional costumes and mosaics from 4th to 6th century Jordan churches.
Religious Sites: Step Onto Sacred Ground
The most sacred site in Jordan, Mt Nebo is believed to be the burial site of Moses who climbed the hill in order to survey the Promised Land that he would never enter. Situated on the edge of a plateau about six miles (10km) from Madaba, Mt Nebo affords spectacular views towards Jerusalem, whose spires are visible on a clear day, and across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. A modern day shrine sits on the ruins of a 6th-century Byzantine monastery, and affords protection to the original floor mosaics, while in the grounds stands the symbolic Serpentine Cross.
Church of St. George:
The Greek Orthodox Church of St. George is home to Madaba the main attraction and most famous mosaic, the celebrated 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Millions of pieces of colored stone embedded on the church floor create a vivid picture of Jerusalem and its holy sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dead Sea, Jericho and the Jordan River. It is the earliest surviving original map of the region and was laid around 560 AD.