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.
The Aqaba Archaeological Museum is located in the Aqaba house of Sherif Hussein Bin Ali, the museum was opened to the public in 1990. Presently it houses an important collection from the Islamic site of Ayla, dated to the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid periods, thus representing the Islamic periods from the mid-7th to the beginning of the 12th century AD.
Among the exhibits is a Kufic inscription of "Ayat Al-Kursi" from the Holy Qur'an, which surmounted the eastern (Egypt) gate of the city, and a hoard of gold Fatimid dinars minted at Sajilmasa in Morocco.
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Admission is included in the Jordan Pass
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.
The mosque was named after Hussein bin Ali who was the Sharif and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917. Known as the initiator of the Arab Revolt, Al Sharif Hussein Bin Ali stood against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman Empire during the course of the First World War.
With its pristine white structure, intricate glass windows and soaring minarets, Al Hussein Bin Ali mosque is a beacon of Islamic architecture and a moving sight among the hustle and bustle of city life. It also boasts the largest dome among Jordan’s’ mosques. It is considered a main mosque for Aqaba’s citizens. Visitors can quietly stroll around the elegant interior and watch the city’s daily life at its most tranquil and pious.
Excavated in the mid-19th century and dating back to the first Islamic period, Ayla is the surviving remains of an old Islamic society located in the center of Aqaba. Built in 650AD tourist can get a firsthand look at the magnificence of the Islamic empires of centuries past.
During the Byzantine period, a great deal of construction took place throughout Jordan. All of the major cities of the Roman era continued to flourish as the regional population grew. As Christianity expanded across this region in the fourth century, churches began to sprout up across Jordan.
From this growing Christian scene came one of the most exciting discoveries in recent times, where archaeologists in Aqaba have unearthed what they believe to be the world’s oldest church, from the late 3rd Century AD. It is slightly older than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, both of which date back to the 4th Century. It has since been back-filled with earth for protection.