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From Ancient Wonders to Sacred Sites: 8-Day Trip through Petra & Saint Catherine

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The 8-day journey through Petra and Saint Catherine provides a rare opportunity to experience both ancient wonders and religious places, revealing the region’s rich fabric of cultures and civilizations across millennia.
Throughout the trip, skilled guides will take you on thorough tours of each location, allowing you to dive deeply into the region’s history and culture. You will learn about the Bedouin tribes’ traditions and customs, as well as the religious importance of the locations you visit. From the ancient rock-cut architecture of Petra to the sacred icons of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, every step of the journey will reveal new insights into the rich tapestry of cultures and civilizations that have flourished in this region.


Day 1: Exploring Ajloun, Anjara, and Tel Mar Elias

Get ready for an amazing day exploring historical and religious sites in Jordan!

First up, you’ll visit Ajloun, where you can take in the breathtaking views of olive groves and see the remains of the place where Elijah, a revered figure in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, began his journey.

Next, your journey takes you to Anjara, a location mentioned in the Bible where Jesus, Mary, and his disciples once rested in a cave. Today, the cave has been transformed into a modern shrine and church dedicated to Our Lady of the Mountain.

As you make your way up the winding roads from Wahadneh, you’ll arrive at Tel Mar Elias, a significant Byzantine church site in Jordan. This ancient place of worship has attracted pilgrims for centuries and stands as a symbol of interfaith harmony.

Don’t confuse this site with Tel Elias near the Baptism Site, where some believe Elijah ascended to heaven. Take your time exploring these sacred places and soak in the rich history and beauty they hold.

Day 2: From Ancient Amman to Majestic Umm Qais, and Pella

Today, you’ll have the invaluable opportunity to see the historical sites of Amman Citadel, the Archaeological Museum, and the Jordanian Museum.
Plunge into the ancient Decapolis city of Gadara (now Umm Qais), where Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God and worked miracles.

Perched atop a Roman-Byzantine tomb, this site provides a fascinating vantage point, offering views into the tomb from within the church. Positioned adjacent to the old Roman city gate along the route from the Sea of Galilee, Gadara resonates with profound historical significance.

Continue your journey to the esteemed sites of Penuel, now Pella, and Mahanaim. These locations, believed to be Telul ed-Dahab al-Gharbi and Telul ed-Dahab al-Sharqi in north-central Jordan, are steeped in rich historical narratives.
Pella, also known as Tabaqet Fahl, bore witness to a pivotal battle between Muslims and crusaders, etching a remarkable chapter in its legacy.

Embrace your exploration of these captivating sites with boundless wonder and deep appreciation for the historical tapestries they weave.
Let the echoes of the past guide your steps as you uncover the layers of history waiting to be discovered.

Day 3: A Spiritual Journey from Madaba to Petra on King's Way

The Kings’ Highway, considered the world’s longest continually utilized communication route, has traditionally linked ancient locations. This vital road connected Bashan, Giliad, and Ammon in the north with Moab, Edom, Paran, and Midian in the south.

Exploring Madaba and its surroundings exposes you to a location rich in biblical connections. Madaba appears significantly in Old Testament accounts about people such as Moses during the Exodus, David’s confrontations with the Moabites, Isaiah’s predictions against Moab, and King Mesha of Moab’s hostility to Israel. Notably, the early Christian years left a legacy of fine art in Madaba and other parts of central Jordan. Highlights include the Church of Saint George and the stunning mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Continuing the voyage, a visit to Mount Nebo provides stunning views of the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho, and the distant hills of Jerusalem. This location is especially significant since it is where Moses looked out over the Promised Land of Canaan before passing. Although Moses’ burial site remains unknown, his memory and the biblical traditions linked with this location continue to enchant visitors and scholars alike.

Day 4: Unveiling Petra's Mysteries

You will begin your journey to Petra in the morning, the city carved into the rose-red mountains by the Nabateans and lost to civilization before being rediscovered by the Swiss Burkhardt. Walk through the Siq, a small and twisting fissure between the cliffs, to get to the Treasury, the Nabatean Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Roman Road, the main temple, the Winged Lion Temple, and the basin.

In the historical context of Jesus and the Apostles, Petra served as one of the East Mediterranean’s paramount trading hubs, situated in southern Jordan. This ancient marvel, the extensive rock-cut capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, bore witness to a vibrant crossroads of commerce and culture during that era.

During the Exodus, Moses guided the Israelites through the Petra area in Edom. Local tradition holds that the spring at Wadi Musa, located just outside Petra and also known as the Valley of Moses, marks the spot where Moses struck a rock with his rod, causing water to miraculously flow forth. According to biblical accounts, Moses was unable to enter the Promised Land, only able to view it from afar atop Mount Nebo. This restriction was a result of Moses striking the rock to bring water forth, in defiance of God’s instruction to simply speak to it.

Aaron, the brother of Moses and Miriam, served as a prophet appointed by God, and he passed away in Jordan. His final resting place is said to be at Mount Hor in Petra, now referred to as Jabal Harun in Arabic (Mount Aaron). Over time, a Byzantine church and subsequently an Islamic shrine or tomb dedicated to Aaron were constructed at the peak of the mountain, drawing pilgrims from various corners of the globe. The first High Priest in biblical history is remembered for the tremendous blessing that God instructed him to bestow on the people.

Day 5: Discovering Wadi Rum on a Thrilling Jeep Safari

In the morning, you will depart for Wadi Rum where you will journey past the renowned Seven Pillars of Wisdom, as vividly described by Lawrence of Arabia.

During your exploration of Wadi Rum by Jeep, accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, you will have the opportunity to delve into the history of the region for four enriching hours. Highlights of the excursion include visits to Lawrence Spring, ancient inscriptions left by the Thamudic and Nabatean civilizations centuries ago, the striking Khazali Canyon, and the exhilarating option to climb one of the quaint rock bridges.

Afterward, your adventure will lead you to the Umm El Fruth Bridge and the residence formerly inhabited by Lawrence of Arabia. Following a captivating experience climbing sand dunes, you will journey southwards to Aqaba, where you will check into your accommodation, savor a delightful dinner, and conclude the day with a restful overnight stay.

Day 6: A Sacred Journey to St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Egypt

Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai, located in tiny valley north of Mount Mūsā on the Sinai peninsula, offers revealing experience. This Greek Orthodox monastery, boldly towering over 1,500 meters above sea level, is sometimes misidentified as the Sinai Independent Greek 
Orthodox Church, despite its separate role within the Eastern Orthodox church.
The respected abbot of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, also known as the Archbishop of Sinai, Paran, and Raithu, is elected to his post by the 
brotherhood and consecrated by the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem.
Originally under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Jerusalem, the monastery achieved its autonomy, which was formally recognised by Constantinople in year 1575.

After immersing yourself in the Monastery’s rich history and spirituality on a guided tour, your voyage will conclude with a peaceful cruise back to Aqaba, the perfect finale to a day of learning and reflection.

Day 7: Explore Lot's Cave, Lot's Wife Pillar, Dead Sea on Biblical Route to Amman

On a hillside above the modern-day town of Safi, Byzantine Christians constructed a church and monastery in honor of Saint Lot, a figure mentioned in the Old Testament narratives centered around the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah situated in the Dead Sea plain.

According to the biblical accounts, as Lot and his family were fleeing the destruction of Sodom, his wife disregarded God’s instruction not to look back and was consequently transformed into a pillar of salt. His two daughters, on the other hand, survived the cataclysm and sought refuge in a cave known as Lot’s Cave, located near the town of Zoar (modern-day Safi). The Bible further recounts that Lot’s daughters bore sons in the cave, and their descendants eventually became the Ammonite and Moabite people, whose kingdoms were established in what is presently central Jordan.

The journey continues to the Dead Sea, recognized as the lowest point on earth, where an opportunity for recreational activities such as swimming, floating, mud baths, and leisure awaits.

Subsequently, the itinerary includes a transfer to Amman for your accommodation.

Day 8: Visit Jordan River, Mukawir Castle, and Umm ar-Rasas on a Biblical Tour Finale!

Your day will commence by exploring the Baptism site, also known as Bethany beyond the Jordan River. This location holds immense significance for Christians as it is where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. Referred to as al-Maghtas in Arabic, this site is situated at the beginning of a verdant valley just to the east of the Jordan River.
Next on the itinerary is a visit to Mukawir, a fortress positioned on a lofty hill close to the Dead Sea. It is recognized as one of Herod’s palaces and is believed to be the place where the dance of Salome took place and where John the Baptist was beheaded. Gazing from the pinnacle of this mountain, you can catch a glimpse of Herod’s other two palaces, Herodium located near Bethlehem and Alexandrium close to Jericho.

The next stop on the itinerary is Umm Ar-Rasas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that appears in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Archaeologists value this region for its large ruins from the Roman, Byzantine, and early Muslim eras. In 1986, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (SBF), a Jerusalem-based Franciscan academic association, performed excavations in the northern portion of Umm Ar-Rasas, revealing major results.

During your visit, you will have the opportunity to explore the recently unearthed Church of Saint Stephen, showcasing a remarkably well-preserved mosaic. This mosaic intricately depicts images of 27 Old and New Testament cities in the Holy Land, spanning both the eastern and western banks of the River Jordan.

Following your exploration of Umm Ar-Rasas, take a short journey to the highest standing ancient tower in Jordan, located just two kilometers north of the Umm Ar-Rasas site. This tower, standing at 15 meters tall, is believed to have served as a place of solitude for early Christian monks. It is noteworthy for its unique architecture, lacking both a door and an inner staircase.

After an enriching and fulfilling tour of these historical sites, you will return to Amman for an overnight stay before being transferred to the airport for your departure the following day.

Tour Highlights

Amman, Ajloun, Anjara, and Tel Mar Elias, Umm Qais, Pella, Madaba, Petra, King’s Way, Petra, Treasury, Nabatean Theatre, Royal Tombs, Roman Road, main temple, Winged Lion Temple, Exodus, Moses, Aaron, Wadi Rum, Thrilling Jeep Safari, Khazali Canyon, El Fruth Bridge, Lawrence of Arabia, St. Catherine Monastery, Lot’s Cave, Lot’s Wife Pillar, Dead Sea, Biblical Route, Zoar, Jordan River, Mukawir Castle, Umm ar-Rasas, UNESCO World Heritage.

The program includes

  • Pickup from  and drop off.
  • Transfers by air-conditioned vehicle.
  • English-speaking guide.
  • Entrance fees to the sites.
  • Meals.
  • Jeep safari in Wadi Rum desert.
  • 8 – night accommodation .

The program does not include:

  • Personal travel Insurance expenses.
  • Tips / gratuities.
  • Government tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
  • Optional excursions and activities (are subject to availability).
  • Any beverages with meals, unless mentioned and upon request.
  • Carriages and camel rides.
  • Extra costs due to unanticipated changes in the itinerary for reasons beyond our control.
  • Any other items not listed in the “includes”.

Tour options

  • Optional activities are subject to availability.
  • Optional private or onsite local guides.
  • Guides in languages other than English are available upon request and subject to availability.
  • Optional special private vehicles are available upon request

Changes overview

The itinerary may change due to unanticipated circumstances, factors beyond our control, or at the guide’s discretion.

Important notes

  • Staying Healthy
  • The time frame for this tour is approximate and subject to change according to the client’s preference.
  • The tour itinerary is subject to change due to factors beyond our control and event of unforeseen circumstances or at the guide’s discretion.
  • In the event of an increase in fuel prices, Via Jordan Travel & Tours reserves the right to raise the prices for its services without prior notice.
  • Optional excursions and activities are subject to availability.
  • Optional special private vehicles available upon request.
  • Copies of your passports are required in advance to issue port permits (if needed).
  • You need to take your passport or a good quality photocopy of it with you.
  • Reservations made less than 20 working days before the start of the service may be subject to change.
  • Your booking is confirmed only upon the provision of 50% prepayment.
  • Using sufficient amount of sun protection lotion is essential for avoiding sun burn.

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