Situated on the southern tip of Jordan, approximately 4 hours from the capital of Amman, Aqaba is a beach town with Jordanian appeal. Equipped with the local watering holes, to water sports, and a historical flair for those looking to revisit the past Aqaba is a delightful complement to the metropolitan appeal of Amman.

arab revolt plaza

Your tour of Aqaba’s historical sites culminates at the Great Arab Revolt Plaza. This huge square is a great space to relax and enjoy the views of the middle beach, and as such is considered an ideal escape for visitors. The importance of the Plaza lies in its historical value.


It embraces the flag of the Great Arab Revolt, and the house of the Leader of the Arab Revolution, Al Hussein Bin Ali. It bears a deep significant national symbolism as the first Jordanian land set foot on by the armies of the revolution led by Al Sharif Hussein bin Ali. It is also the site where the first bullet of the Arab Revolt was shot.




arab revolt plaza

Dramatically situated in the hills south-west of Madaba, and overlooking the Dead Sea the fortress of Machaerus lies near the village of Mukawir traditionally associated with the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist.


An earlier fortress was built there by the Hasmonaean ruler Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC) to defend his eastern territory of Peraea against the Nabataeans. So impregnable was it thought to be that Jannaeus’ widow and heir, Alexandra, stored her treasure there, but the site proved not to be inviolable — in 57 BC, ten years after Alexandra’s death, when the region had descended into civil war between her two sons, the Romans asserted control and seized this strategic fortress, virtually demolishing it in the process.


In 37 BC the Roman senate proclaimed Herod (later called ‘the Great’) king over the people and lands of his Hasmonaean predecessors. Machaerus was rebuilt by Herod both as a palatial and secure summer residence and also as a defense against the neighboring Nabataeans.


This area fell to Herod Antipas. Some 30 years later Antipas divorced his wife (a Nabataean princess, daughter of Aretas IV) to marry Herodias, wife of his brother Philip. His rejected wife made her way to Machaerus, then across the nearby border with Nabataea and from there, under the protection of the Nabataean army, she went south to her father’s capital at Petra.

John the Baptist, who had so outspokenly condemned Antipas’ divorce and remarriage, also came to Machaerus – but as a prisoner. It was here that Herodias’ daughter Salome danced and, at the instigation of her mother, demanded the Baptist’s head on a charger.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *