The modern day Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a country rich in ancient history. You can reach Jordan on Royal Jordanian Air from Toronto. All of the conveniences of any large city can be found in Amman. From international hotel chains to restaurants, every amenity is available. A visit to the old downtown souk area to purchase Jordanian silver is a must do. Try a shawarma for lunch. It is made using aromatic arab spices to marinate beef or chicken which is then wrapped in pita bread and choose a side order of wild cucumber pickles with this. You can wander safely alone or with a guide through the old shopping areas.
Take a short drive south on a desert highway toward Saudi Arabia from Amman to Petra the stone city. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site. For those of you who saw the movie “The Last Crusade with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Petra will be familiar. Of course the first thing we wanted to do is the ride on horseback through the stone walled passage into the ancient Nabataean city of Petra. The rental horses were gentle enough for an inexperienced rider. The huge stone treasury comes into view. We dismounted and chose a walking tour. There you can wander freely in and out of buildings made entirely of rose red and pale yellow stone facades. You can climb up to see the old tombs and the ancient place of sacrifice.
There are a few locals on hand with a great assortment of souvenirs right in the city. I met an old Jordanian woman who gifted me with a very intricate silver bottle container on a chain. She told me to wear it on my neck as a medallion. I ask her what it was for. She handed me a small glass bottle filled with black powder kohl to rim the eyes and wanted equivalent of two US dollars which I of course was happy to give her. It is a treasure to me from an old civilization.
As a nation the Jordanian people are a friendly group always eager to assist you on any tour throughout the country. It is true that the people of Jordan are a tourist attraction themselves along with great preservation of ancient structures.
For those of you that want a great outdoor experience, camp outside at Wadi Rum with Jordanian hosts. Sandstone mountains rise right out of the sand in this southern destination. This can and should be booked ahead so there won‘t be any disappointment. Before going to Jordan, visit the website www.visitjordan.com for information. There is a lot to see and you will want to plan for this wisely.
We've had some wonderful vacations. Some places on this beautiful earth stay in your mind a lot longer. One of those places is Taxila.
If you have ever visited the Islamabad, Pakistan area, you may have heard of Taxila.
Taxila is part of the Indus Valley and is the birthplace of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The area has well-preserved antiquity.
Taxila has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient site is 35 kilometres away from the country's capital, Islamabad. During ancient times, this town was well-known for its philosophy and art. Today, tourists travel to the area to see the well-preserved structures. Archaeologists from other countries also go to Taxila to research Indus civilization. The area is known for sculptures of the Gandharan type. Taxila has a history of Buddhist tradition. The combination of Buddhism, Islam, and old cultures that make the area enchanting.
We wandered around taking photos of the Buddhist statues and climbed the hills for a dynamic view of the area. One of the highlights for me was picking peppercorns from an ancient pepper tree that was most likely hundreds of years old.
Some of the sights to see are two imposing monuments, one of Ashoka and one of Alexander the Great, both of which date as far as 327 BC. There are also some interesting monuments from the Mauryan era.
Recommended are tours to Taxila, which are sure to create a lot of great memories especially if you would rather travel in a group. Be sure to see the grand ruins of the Dharmarajika stupa, the monastery in the area of Jaulian, and the monastery located in Mohra Muradu.
A visit to the Taxila Museum is definitely worth your time. Our favourite purchases from Taxila's open street market was a beautiful grey stone carved mortar and pestle, hand painted in reds, yellows whites and blacks. It adds to our kitchen counter and memories of a delightful time.
For a great historical revue of the area, go to: