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For many people Jordan begins and ends with the magical ancient Nabataean city of Petra. And it's true, Petra is without doubt one of the Middle East's most spectacular, unmissable sights, battling it out with Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat for the title of the world's most dramatic 'lost city'.

Epic History
Ali's reign as Caliph was plagued by great turmoil and internal strife. Ali was faced with multiple rebellions and insurrections. The primary one came from a misunderstanding on the part of Mu'awiyah, the governor of Damascus, marking the beginning of the end of the Caliphs. The Persians, taking advantage of this, infiltrated the two armies and attacked the other army causing chaos and internal hatred between the Companions at the Battle of Siffin. The battle lasted several months, resulting in a stalemate. In order to avoid further bloodshed, Ali agreed to negotiate with Mu'awiyah. This caused a faction of approximately 4,000 people that would be known as the Kharijites, to abandon the fight. After defeating the Kharijites at the Battle of Nahrawan, Ali would later be assassinated by the Kharijite Ibn Muljam. Ali's son Hasan was elected as the next Caliph, but handed his title to Mu'awiyah a few months later. Mu'awiyah became the fifth Caliph, establishing the Umayyad Dynasty, named after the great-grandfather of Uthman and Mu'awiyah,Umayya ibn Abd Shams.

Jordan is not as renowned for its cuisine as its neighbours Lebanon and Syria and this is unfair. Since antiquity, Jordan has been a highway between Europe, Asia, Arabia and Africa. Many different civilisations have come and gone and this influx and mixing of people over many centuries has led to a diverse food culture. A large number of dishes are shared with other Arabic and Mediterranean culinary cultures: hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, falafel and kebabs all feature strongly. Yet Jordan has its own delicacies and national favourites.

Cultural Depth
Yet there's so much more to see in Jordan - ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels and powerful biblical sites: the brook where Jesus was baptised, the fortress where Herod beheaded John the Baptist, and the mountain top where Moses cast eyes on the Promised Land. Biblical scenes are not just consigned to the past in Jordan; you'll see plenty of men wearing full-flowing robes and leading herds of livestock across the timeless desert. But it's not all crusty ruins. Jordan's capital Amman is a modern, culturally diverse Arab city which is lightyears away from the typical cliches of Middle Eastern exoticism. The country also offers some of the wildest adventures in the region, as well as an incredibly varied backdrop ranging from the red desert sands of Wadi Rum to the brilliant blues of the coral-filled Gulf of Aqaba; from rich palm-filled wadis to the lifeless Dead Sea. Ultimately it's the sensual delights of daily life in the Middle East that you'll hanker for longest after you return home; the bittersweet taste of cardamom coffee or the smell of a richly scented nargileh (water pipe); the intoxicating swirl of Arabic pop sliding out of an Amman doorway and the deafening silence of the desert.

Why I Love Jordan
Jordanians are a passionate and proud people and the country truly welcomes visitors with open arms. Despite being squeezed between the hotspots of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel & the Palestinian Territories, Jordan is probably the safest and most stable country in the region. Regardless of your nationality, you'll be greeted with nothing but courtesy and hospitality in this gem of a country.

Landscapes & Activities
Jordan has one of the most dramatic sites in the world, one of the new Seven Wonders, Petra, then it has the beautiful desert of Wadi Rum, with all it's rocky mountains,sands and even plentiful pastures and greenery, then it has the Dead Sea. As if all of this wasn't enough for a relatively small country, you also have a beautiful, well preserved Roman city, Jerash, several crusader castles, at Shobak, Ajloun and Kerak, and several scattered ancient christian religious sites. All of this combined with the mountain + desert scenery makes Jordan an unbeatable destination. And most importantly, Jordan is among the few MENA countries which offer safety + excellent sites.