Aqaba is a port city (mostly a resort town) on the Red Sea’s Gulf. It is the most southern point of Jordan and is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. Inhabited since 4000 B.C., it’s home to the Islamic-era Aqaba Fortress and the adjacent Aqaba Archaeological Museum. Since these antiquities truly pale in comparison to some of the other treasures that Jordan has to offer, most come to Aqaba for the beach resorts. The sand is very fine and golden, the water is warm (even at the end of November) and windsurfing and other water sports abound. Aqaba is considered a top destination for scuba divers, with notable dive sites including the Yamanieh coral reef in the Aqaba Marine Park, south of the city.
We came to Aqaba to connect with a good friend who joined us from her last job rotation in Iraq. Needless to say we spent the majority of our time catching up and visiting local restaurants. One notable place with good options for my vegan palate – which also pleased the rest of the group (all seafood lovers and omnivores) was Ali Baba which was right across the street from the Hilton Doubletree where we stayed. We had a fantastic time with Jonea but Aqaba was not one of my favorite resort stops. Perhaps because the weather was not the best (we had some rain) and the beaches were quite cramped.
Our time in Jordan was sadly coming to an end and we made our way north to visit Karak castle as our last stop.
Karak Castle is a crusader castle built during the twelfth century and was initially called Crac Des Moabites. It is also the biggest crusader castle ever to have been constructed in the Levant, and following its completion, it became the center of power for the rulers of that time. The Levant is a large area which today covers a number of countries including: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Southern Turkey, Palestinian Territories and Cyprus. The castle is still undergoing reconstruction with much money being poured into this well preserved fortress. The views of the valleys below are quite stunning on a sunny day.
We left Karak with a sense of accomplishment – we saw as much as we could in Jordan in 15 days -yet we knew that we would return to marvel at it’s beauty again.