1. Private Tour of Madaba, Mount Nebo, Betha and the Dead Sea
Explore the ancient areas around the Dead Sea and Madaba with your guide. Take in the art and culture of ancient religious areas on this full-day trip. Depart your Amman hotel in a leisure air-conditioned vehicle with an English-speaking driver who doubles up as your guide. Set off on your private tour, traveling to Madaba the city of mosaics. Arrive at Saint George’s Church, the 19th-century basilica in the heart of the town. See the Madaba Mosaic Map, an intricately detailed floor mosaic of the Holy Land believed to have been created in the 6th century A.D. Then, admire the church interior and marvel at the stunning floor map, with its evocative depictions of ancient Jerusalem, Jericho, and lands including Lebanon, Sinai, and Egypt. Then walk out into the open-air museum known as the Archaeological Park, which houses a collection of ruins and mosaics. Next, visit the historic Catholic church of Saint John The Baptist, with its bell tower with a breathtaking view of Madaba. Continue to its underground museum memorial of Saint John The Baptist. After the church, continue to Mount Nebo, the hill where Moses is believed to have gazed out over the Holy Land. Absorb the sweeping views over the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley, and visit the Byzantine Church on the summit to see its fabled mosaics. On route, soak in views of Jordan’s barren landscapes, and pull up at Bethany, beyond the Jordan River, known as “El-Maghtas” in Arabic - the site on the Eastern bank of the river where it’s believed Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. You'll then meet up with a local guide, and take a tour of the riverbanks and key excavated ruins, learning how the site was sanctified as the place of Jesus’ baptism by the Vatican and a visit by Pope John Paul II in 2000 A.D. See the remnants of Roman and Byzantine churches, caves, wells, and baptismal pools. As you walk, listen as your guide explains why archaeologists believe that it was here that John the Baptist lived, preached, and performed baptisms. Hear more about this famous Christian pilgrimage spot and how it is held holy in all three major religions — Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for being the believed site of the Prophet Elijah’s ascension to heaven. Finally, drive to the lowest point on earth for free time to swim in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea. Afterward, reconvene with your driver and return to Amman, where your tour ends with a hotel drop-off.