Situated between Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Jordan is unexpectedly peaceful amid the turmoil of its neighbours and is a wonderful place to visit. With its hospitable people who readily welcome travellers, Jordan has a reputation for being one of the friendliest countries. With two of the most magnificent sights in the Middle East, namely the ancient city of Petra and Wadi Rum's spectacular desert scenery, it is sad that so few people explore its rich history.

Jordan is a kingdom layered in antiquity, from the work of Nabataean stonemasons to characters such as Moses and Lawrence of Arabia; from ancient cities and Biblical sites to desert castles, Crusader forts and Byzantine mosaics. This ancient culture belies the fact that it is also a modern country, with good infrastructure, a thriving business and arts scene, and first-class hotels, restaurants and shopping opportunities. The contrast between the old and new is astonishing.

Jordan is a relatively small country of varied landscapes, where the fertile Jordan Valley, bordering the entire western side of the kingdom, is separated from the immense desert stretching to the east by the populated highlands. As part of the Great Rift Valley, the Jordan Valley incorporates the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth's surface and most famous for its heavy salt and mineral concentrations. The main towns strung along the length of the highland plateau include the friendly capital, Amman, as well as plenty of historical sites from ancient civilisations.

Home to brilliant desert-scapes, colourful coral reefs that are unequalled the world over, and sweeping vistas towards the Promised Land, Jordan is full of charismatic beauty.