1. Private Desert Castles with Shaumari Wildlife &Azraq Wetland
After pick up from your central Amman by private, air-conditioned vehicle, relax as you journey out of the city and into the desert plains of eastern Jordan. Drive with your friendly informative English-Speaking Driver who doubles up as your guide to experience the fascinating Desert Castles. The region is speckled with 7th and 8th century castles, many within a 15-minute drive of each other, that were originally built by the Caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty as rural retreats and hunting lodges. Hear tales about this powerful dynasty, the first Muslim rulers of the Arab kingdom, including fascinating snippets about their extravagance and debauchery. As you travel, feel free to tell your driver if there’s a castle you want to see more of or another castle you’d like to visit, at your own expense. Your tour is private, so the itinerary can be tailored to suit your interests. After about an hour on the road, pull up at UNESCO-listed “Quseir’ Amra”, one of east Jordan’s most famous castles. Once a hunting palace of the Umayyads, this splendidly restored edifice is graced with 8th-century fresco showing decadent scenes of nude women, wine, and parties. Continue to “Qasr Al -Kharanah”, an imperious 2-level fortress standing in a huge plain. Thought to have been built on Roman foundations, this evocative castle exudes intrigue and dis plays a rich array of Mesopotamian, Arabic, and Greek architectural influences. Finally, head for “Qasr Al-Azraq”, originally an Umayyad hunting retreat and once used as a headquarters by T.E. Lawrence, the 20th-century British soldier and Arab Revolt leader perhaps more famously known as Lawrence of Arabia. Wander around the sun-burnished courtyards, towers, and mosque to learn how Lawrence based his operations here during 1917 to 1918. After exploring here, relax on your ride back to Amman where your experience finishes with a hotel drop-off. Upgrade: Optional visit of the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve established in 1975 for the conservation of extinct animals like the Oryx, and the Azraq Wetland Reserve established in 1978 for the Water Buffalo Trail, which is a water nature reserve and oasis for migratory birds located near the desert castles covering 12 kilometers. Best time to enjoy the scenery is late autumn or spring. Tour with Accompanied Guide: Upgrade your tour to include an Accompanied Licensed Guide from Amman to be with you for the visit of the 3 Marvelous Desert Castles.