After pick-up from your central Amman by private, air-conditioned vehicle with your own private English-Speaking Driver who doubles up as your guide, relax as you journey out of the city and into the desert plains of eastern Jordan.
Drive with your friendly informative English-Speaking Driver 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. 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 frescoes 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 displays 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 mosques and learn how Lawrence based his operations here from 1917 to 1918.
Having explored here, continue to the 12th-century Castle of Ajloun, built in the time of Saladin to defend against Crusader armies. Head inside this semi-intact hilltop fortress, and roam the rambling corridors and staircases. See the murder holes used by the invaders, and admire the stunning views over the lush hills of the Jordan Valley from the towers. Then, reconvene with your vehicle and relax on your long ride back to Amman where your trip ends with a hotel drop-off.
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