King’s Highway, Brought Me to Petra
Petra is always being main destination for many travelers when they’re visiting Jordan, including me. So, after spending three days in Amman, I packed my suitcase to continue my trip to Petra, the city which is also known as the Lost City.
There are two ways that you can do if you want to reach Petra. The first one, you can go passing Desert highway that just requires 3 hours driving from Amman. In addition, there are frequent public bus operating, carrying passengers from Amman to Petra daily. So, if your time is limited and want to do one day trip only to Petra, passing Desert highway could be the best options.
The other way, you can go through King’s Highway with more time consuming to reach your destination. It took around 6 hours driving from Amman, and there are no public transportation passing this route. The only option to drive through this route is renting a car which would be more expensive compared to public bus. Nonetheless, along the way, you will be served spectacular views and pass some tourist attractions which in my opinion are worth it to visit. Considering the facts that I was not sure whether I would have chances to return to Jordan, and I still had another four nights in Jordan, I decided to take the second options.
Tarikh, staff of Sydney Hotel found me a very nice driver that would take me to Petra. His name is Musa, his ancestors are from Palestine but he spent most of his life in Amman. He told me proudly that many travelers mentioned his name on Tripadvisor, the famous travelers’ guidance site.
We left Amman at early morning since we were going to stops at some points along the way. The road was excellent and the view along the way was truly amazing. It was not only about deserts during the journey, but also beautiful valley, wadi, castles and also the Bedouins we met along the way. I was glad that finally I took this way. Musa is a quiet man. However, every time we passed some places that he thought are important, he would stop the car and explained me in the detail about the history of places. In other words, he tried his best to make my journey as comfortable as possible.
Al Mujib Dam was our first stop. Located in Wadi Mujib, between Medaba and Kerak. The construction was completed in 2004, six years after construction was started. The water was collected by combining water piped from brackish wells along the Dead sea which primarily supplies Amman to ease very stress national water. Musa treated me coffee while we were stopping for a while on the top of the hills to enjoy the beauty of scenery.
Then, we continued our journey to the South and arrived in Kerak one hour later. Kerak Castle was one of the largest crusader castles in Levant. Kerak was once home to Nabateans, Romans and Byzantines before the crusaders built the castle there. In Byzantine period, Kerak was remained as Christians town under Arab rule. Kerak Castle was built in 1126 by Payen le Bouteiller, it resisted attacks by Saladin’s troops but finally surrendered after a siege in 1189. Kerak castle is notable sample of crusader architecture, a mixture of European, Byzantium and Arab designs. It walls are equipped with rectangular projecting towers and long stone vaulted. I spent about two hours in Kerak to observe the ruins of castle and treat myself with chicken mansaf for my lunch.
Still on King’s Highway, we passed Dana, a 500 years old village that hosts Dana nature reserve, one of Jordan’s nature-reserves using eco-tourism facilities. We didn’t stop too long here. Musa gave me 10 minutes to take some shots and enjoyed spectacular view of valley before continuing our trip.
The last stop was the other crusader castle, called Shobak Castle. It was built in 1115 by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem to guard the road from Egypt to Damascus. Compared to Kerak Castle, it has less ruins, nonetheless its location which is isolated from the nearest town makes the place more atmospheric. I even spent more time here, sitting on the top of the hills, hearing the sound of winds which sounded as a song in far away land.