By Marilyn Jones
Aliana has beautiful deep brown eyes with long eyelashes. We only met this morning — just before sunrise — in Wadi Rum, a sprawling desert in southern Jordan. Aliana is one of the camels owned by a 23-year-old Bedouin, Rashim, who says he has tended camels since he was 5.
Wadi Rum Protected Area covers 280 square miles and features sandstone and granite mountains reaching heights of more than 5,000-feet. During the previous afternoon, I take a jeep tour of the desert with its narrow canyons, ancient rock drawings etched by desert dwellers and pass large Bedouin camps with tents made of goat-hair. But now, as my camel plods along, it is quiet as my surroundings take on the golden glow of sunrise and the desert begins to wake.
During my tour of Jordan I visit villages and cities, castles and palaces, the Red Sea and Dead Sea, and explore Jerash and Petra.
Jerash claims an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule. Today visitors can explore what is one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Buried in sand for centuries, excavation and restoration began 70 years ago. Walking along paved and colonnaded streets, guests can visit temples, coliseums, plazas and baths.
Petra dates back as far as 312 BC when it served as the capital city of the nomadic Nabataeans. Petra Archaeologic Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, is much more than the famous Treasury. There are 65 acres to explore including tombs, a theater and temples.
The ghosts of Jordan wait to welcome guests seeking a glimpse of Middle Eastern and Biblical history, and whisper to me this morning in Wadi Rum; come, enjoy, discover.
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