Jordan’s only sea-port, on the Red Sea, Aqaba is a 4,000 year old settlement. In ancient times it was the main port for shipments from the Red Sea to the Far East; important because of its strategic location at the junction of trading routes between Asia, Africa and Europe. Of special interest for sightseers is the ancient ‘Aqaba Fort,’ built by a Mamluk sultan in the 16th century. Aqaba was also the scene of Lawrence of Arabia’s triumph over the occupying Ottoman forces during the Arab revolt of 1917-1918 (this scene is also depicted in the famous Academy-Award winning 1962 movie by director David Lean). This capture of Aqaba helped open up supply lines from Egypt to Arab and British forces further north and alleviated the threat of a Turkish offensive onto the strategically important nearby Suez Canal.
AqabaNowadays, Aqaba is most prized by visitors for its invariably warm and sunny weather. Wonderful water sports are participated in here, particularly windsurfing and spectacular snorkeling and diving opportunities because of its beautiful coral reefs. As Jordan’s only ‘special economic zone’, Aqaba is a liberalized, duty-free, low-tax multi-sectoral development area. Aqaba also hosts one of Jordan’s main domestic airports and can be used for domestic and international charter flights.
There are several superb hotels and resorts in the area and Aqaba also makes a good springboard for visiting the nearby desert of Wadi Rum (‘Lawrence of Arabia’s desert’) and even famed Petra. Additionally, a number of cruise ships make stops at Aqaba and INSIDER’S PETRA can design excellent shore excursions for cruise passengers making a port call here – contact us for more information!
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