From Jesus Christ’s Baptism Site to ancient churches and ruins, Jordan is filled with sacred places across the kingdom, and Jordan’s southern region in particular has many incredible spiritual and religious destinations to experience.
Here are some of the top places to visit in the south of Jordan.
Carved into beautiful rose red-colored rock with exquisite details and surrounded by large, vibrant mountains and canyons, the ancient Nabatean city of Petra is certainly one of Jordan’s most fascinating places. Petra was once a crucial trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire beginning in the 4th century B.C. Petra is also important in Christianity as it was part of the route that Moses and his people took on their Exodus journey, and it consists of ancient references to Moses’ brother, Aaron. In 1985, the Jordanian city was announced a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the seven wonders of the world. From walking through the historic city's canyons to exploring its magnificent structures, Petra is a must-visit destination.
Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert is not only comprised of stunning sand dunes and sandstone mountains but it is also an ancient place with various biblical events and connections. Wadi Rum was once inhabited by the Arab Nabataean tribe of pre-historic times before belonging to the Roman empire and then to the Byzantines. The desert is also believed to be the place where prophet Moses passed through when he crossed Jordan from the Red Sea in the south to the northern region. Wadi Rum also includes various caves that were home to Christian monks and hermits during the Late Antiquity period and early Middle Ages, which visitors can still visit, enter, and explore today. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has listed Wadi Rum as a protected area and a world heritage site.
Located on the Red Sea, Jordan’s port city of Aqaba offers an array of experiences for those who visit ranging from snorkeling around wonderful corals to exploring ruins of an ancient church. According to the Guinness World Records, “the oldest known purpose-built Christian church in the world” is in Aqaba. The church was built between the years 293 and 303 and it is slightly older than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem as well as the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Additionally, the Red Sea is mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses crossed. The Bible discusses the sea in reference to Moses’ journey, specifically stating in Exodus 14:21, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided.” Whether those who visit Aqaba wish to unwind by the sea or learn more about the ancient church, there is plenty to enjoy.
Jordan’s southern region is full of biblical references, extensive history, and ancient sites to explore, offering unique spiritual and historical experiences for anyone who visits.