Jordan Cities: Aqaba

Jordan Cities: Aqaba Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

Aqaba is 204 miles (328km) from Amman, is Jordan's only seaport. It is situated at the northern tip of the Red Sea, which is also the southern tip of the Kingdom. The port city boasts 360 days of sunshine per year and is therefore a popular summer and winter resort.

Its calm waters make it an ideal spot for water-skiing, wind-surfing and scuba diving. There are a number of diving centres in Aqaba, where the novice may take lessons, or, for the more experienced diver, it is possible to rent gear and dive with local guides.

Coral formations on the reef are said to be among the most spectacular in the world and many are close enough to the surface for an amateur snorkeller to view with ease. Trips in glass-bottomed boats can also be arranged. The aquarium, situated in the Marine Sciences Centre, on the Corniche, south-east of the town, has much exotic marine life on view, for those not wishing to get wet.

For the history buff, Aqaba offers the chance to visit sites which date back at least 5,500 years. Aqaba's strategic location at the junction of land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe has given rise to many ancient and mediaeval archaeological finds. These include the early Islamic city called Ayla, Aqaba fort, built by the Mameluke Sultan Qabsawh el Ghawri at the beginning of the 16th century and a fine museum at the house of Sharif Hussein bin Ali, great-grandfather of the present King.

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