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King’s Highway

King’s Highway

This Royal Road east of the Jordan Rift Valley, follows an ancient elevation route shaped about 4000 years ago connecting northern Syria and the Fertile Crescent with the Red Sea and the Pharaonic Empire. Although longer and more arduous than the desert route, it has always been preferred since it was easier to defend and crossed fertile lands.

First mentioned as King's Highway in the Book of Numbers, when the Israelites were refused passage through Edom, it was used by the Nabatean caravans to transport frankincense from Arabia, and developed into the Via Nova Traiana by the Romans. Christian pilgrims followed it to reach their holy sites, and the Crusaders built fortified castles along it.

Today, from Amman to Petra the King's Highway winds south through some of Jordan's most spectacular landscapes passing by a wealth of historical sites.

See also in Art Destination Jordan:

Recommendations for cultural travellers: Contemporary art, art history, architecture, design, cultural heritage

Web guide: informative photo tours, and special presentations of sites, venues, events, projects

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