Aqaba

Sunday, 20 November 2011 11:06 administrator
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Aqaba is a coastal town in the far south of Jordan. It is the capital of Aqaba Governorate. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. The town borders Eilat, Israel, and there is a border post where it is possible to cross between the two countries (see Wadi Araba Crossing). Both Aqaba and Eilat are at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. The town is best known today as a diving and beach resort. However, industrial activity remains important to the area, and the town is an exporter of phosphate and some shells. The town is also an important administrative center within the far south of Jordan.

 


 
Attractions:


Aqaba Castle & Museum:


The Aqaba Region Archaeological Museum is located in the Aqaba house of Sherif Hussein Bin Ali next to the Aqaba Castle. The museum was opened to the public in 1990. Presently it houses an important collection from the Islamic site of Ayla, dated to the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid periods, thusrepresenting the Islamic periods from the mid-seventh to the beginning of the twelfth century AD.
Among the exhibits is a Kufic inscription of "Ayat al-Kursi" from the Holy Qu'ran, which surmounted the eastern (Egypt) gate of the city, and a hoard of gold Fatimied dinars minted at Sajilmasa in Morocco.
Aqaba is presently Jordan's only seaport. Its significant position on the eastern tip of the Red Sea is important for marine and overland trade routes between Syria and the Arabian Peninsula, in addition to its being an import station on Hajj route. Finds from the Ayla excavations originating in the Hijaz, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco and even as far a field as China testify to its vitality as a seaport.

 
Ayla Church:

 

The early days of the Islamic era saw the construction of the city of Ayla, which was described by the geographer Shams Eddin Muqaddasi as situated next to the true settlement, which was lying in ruins closeby. The ruins of Ayla, unearthed in the mid-1980s by a American-Jordanian archeological team, are a few minutes walk north along the main waterfront road. Soon after Muhammad's time, it became part of the new Caliphate, and thereafter passed through the hands of such dynasties as the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, and Mamluks. The early days of the Islamic era saw the construction of the city of Ayla, which was described by the geographer Shams Eddin Muqaddasi as being next to the true settlement, which was lying in ruins closeby. The ruins of Ayla (unearthed in the 1980s by an American-Jordanian archeological team) are a few minutes’ walk north along the main waterfront road.


Glass bottom Boat: Water temperatures in the Red Sea remains unusually constant year round, averaging. 23 ºC. The warm weather, warm water and sandy beaches make Aqaba an ideal location for swimming and sunbathing year-round, allowing for a very relaxing beach experience. Ride in one of Jordan’s unique “glass boats”. These simple and basic yet colorful glass-bottom boats are indeed very original allowing an authentic mellow boat cruise while watching the life of the colorful fish and corals go by. You can also take a leisurely trip on a colorful pedal boat. Both are operated by Aqaba locals, and can be hired from the public beach of Al Hafayer, or from the piers near the Arab Revolt Plaza.