There was not Jordan until the end of the Second World War when the victorious powers, especially UK and France, agreed to divide up the spoils of the defeated enemy, entrusted to a loyal ally, Sheikh Abdullah, the administration of Transjordan as it was called in those years.
Many things have changed since then, thanks to the long reign of the enlightened King Hussein, much loved by his subjects, who ruled Jordan for more than 46 years and which has given the country a strong secular and democratic imprint. The kingdom, in 1999, passed to his son Abdullah II, a young and modern monarch, with his beautiful wife Rania, a true global icon for the battles over civil rights and peace, often considered the heir (although not designated) of Lady Diana.
The times are not favorable for a trip in the Middle East, but Jordan is a very comfortable place and it could shelter millions of refugees, mostly Palestinians, since the immediate post-war period. It’s a country far from undeserved stereotypes that often accompany the countries of the Muslim faith: in the countryside you can occasionally see elderly women with a veil, but in the cities you can meet boys with designer clothes and girls in miniskirts, as in any European city, with very few veils and no burka to cover the faces and bodies of women. The schooling is at very high levels and it’s easy to meet elegant schoolchildren walking arranged in a row in the vicinity of schools.
Telling Jordan in a few lines is almost impossible. It’s a melting pot of cultures and architectures, from the Roman era, enclosed in the magnificence of the archaeological site of Jerash, considered the Pompeii of the East, to arrive in Petra, a place of mystery and undeniable charm, famous for its spectacular tombs carved into the rosy sandstone, accessible through a suggestive canyon, the Siq. Petra is indeed one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, elected among the seven wonders of the modern world; it entered in the collective immagination for being, in the movies of the Indiana Jones saga, the seat of the Holy Grail. But just stop to Petra would be unfair to the immense artistic heritage of Jordan and the stunning natural beauty of the country.
Just think of the castles of the Umayyad caliphs, scattered in the vast desert spaces, which emerge from the dust and sand and then magically appear almost out of nowhere. And then Mount Nebo, one of the holiest sites in Christianity, where tradition says Moses saw the Promised Land before he died, as well as burial place, they say, of the biblical patriarch.
Go up into this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo in the land of Moab opposite Jericho; there you may see the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel for their heritage (Dt 32,49)
One of the surprising aspects of Jordan are the beautiful natural landscapes, rushed by tourists but still intact in their beauty. Just think of the desert of Wadi Rum, a truly magical place, steeped in rosy sand sandstone, which still seems to echo the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia that here established his military base during the Arab Revolt of ‘900.
The Jordanian tour may end with a swim in the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake straddles with Israel in the deepest depression of the Earth, 423 meters below sea level. A swim in its waters is an unforgettable experience. Its exceptional salinity, in fact, makes the water extremely dense and allows anyone to be able to float effortlessly.
Who will decide to tackle this trip will be located in front of a wonderful land that will leave the visitor with memories of a beautiful land.