Today you’ll drive the famous Kings' Highway stretching from Amman to Petra. Almost every historical character from the Middle East that you can think of has traveled this road; Ramses II, the Queen of Sheba, Queen Zenobia, Moses, Marcus Antonius, Cleopatra, Augustus, Mohamed, Richard Coeur de Leon, Christ, Lawrence of Arabia, Gamal Attaturk - the list goes on and on. Today, it is your turn. Original Roman milestones stand at the side of the road, their distances still relevant.
Your first stop is Madaba, the “City of Mosaics.” While most visitors to Jordan make a quick stop in this charming village to glimpse its most famous mosaic, a 6th century Byzantine map - the oldest surviving map of the Holy Land in existence - you will meet some of the people responsible for the very survival of these fabulous works of art! Join your guide for a stroll through the Madaba “Souq” getting a glimpse into the daily lives of merchants as they go about their business. Finally, you make a stop at the Apostles Church, with its spectacular mosaic dedicated to the 12 Apostles, its centerpiece dominated by a regal woman personifying the sea and all its real and mythical creatures. You continue to the Dana Nature Reserve, a visionary program combining scientific research with sustainable tourism, benefitting the traditional inhabitants of the village. Dana Nature Reserve is a system of wadis and mountains extending from the top of the Rift Valley to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba, an elevation drop of over 1,600 meters. This vast, newly developed reserve serves as a refuge for endangered species, including ibex, mountain gazelle, badgers, red fox, and wolf. There is some free time to explore the walking trails before dinner. Dana Village has been continually occupied for about 6000 years. Although this ancient stone village was almost abandoned, it is now coming back to life with color and vitality through assistance from local conservation groups and determination of the local population.