AQABA

Aqaba and the Area Around

it is the only coastal city, the access to the opened seas and the fourth largest city in Jordan with more than 150 thousands inhabitants, now a day Aqaba plays a very significant rule in the national Jordanian economy, the port of Aqaba is considered a regional port serving some other countries beside Jordan, the city location at the very south western corner of Jordan next to Petra and wadi Rum forming what is called the golden tourism triangle in Jordan is another factor to the importance of Aqaba. The city has hot weather, relatively humid in the summer, sunny sky all over the year The city’s regional strategic location between Asia and Africa, very close to the Mediterranean Sea made its port a very important one all over history; it is not very far from the old copper mines to the north so it is believed it was used sea output to the copper during Chalcolithic ages, remained as a shipping port during the Roman, Byzantine, and the Islamic periods, the old excavated port has archaeological layers and old buildings from all those historical periods, the old castle of Aqaba  

 

 

Aqaba History

The city of was referred as Ayla in the old times, the Ptolemaic Greek called it “Berenice”, the name Aqaba was probably gained during the Mamluk period which means the obstacle in Arabic, this name raised up because it is the last point where ships can’t go further and it is surrounded with mountains which make the roads leading to it are very difficult Excavations indicated that Aqaba is inhabited since 4000 years B.C, some settlements were excavated and they relied on copper production and agriculture as main economy, it was certainly a shipping port since the Edomites period. It was one of the Nabateans ports as well, it flourished during the Roman period as well and the famous trade route “Via Nova Traiana” was connected with Aqaba too, where the new route started from Aqaba in the south, its church is probably the first purposed church in the world which dates back to the late 3rd century. The city remained an inhabited city during the Islamic period passing through the hands of different dynasties; a fortress was built in the city during the Mamluk period and it is still in good shape, during the Ottoman Empire the city importance declined into a fishing village until the rail way was constructed where Aqaba flourished again, The Arab rebels forced the ottoman Turks to withdraw from Aqaba in 1917 under the leadership of “Sherif Naser” and “Odeh Abu Taieh”, the city then became part of the modern state of Jordan since 1921

 

 

 

Modern City of Aqaba Today

 

 

Aqaba was announced as a tax free zone in the year 2000, its main economy is based on tourism, the shipping port and the many investments established after the year 2000, many huge projects were erected in and around the city since it became a tax free zone, like Tala Bay, Marsa Zayed, Saraya Aqaba, and Ayla Oasis, beside many other industrial facilities and an industrial town to the north of Aqaba city (Aqaba industrial city), tourism in Aqaba has flourished as the city is not more than an hour driving from Wadi Rum protected area and two hours driving from Aqaba, beside the huge protected coral reef within seven kilometers of the Jordanian coast in Aqaba it is also a marine national park with suitable regulations  to protect the coral reef and marine life in the gulf, which made the city one of the most attractive diving destinations in the world, the city was chosen as the Arab tourism city in 2011  During Fridays and Saturdays “the regular weekend of Jordan” the city would be very crowded with visitors from other cities in Jordan, the city, the city witness the highest population growth rates in Jordan as many new inhabitants arrive annually for work Beside the shipping port in Aqaba there is also an international airport “King Hussein Airport”, which is connected to many cities in Europe via regular flights, the city is connected to the rest of the country via two main roads; Dead Sea high way and the desert highway, both go to Amman

 

 

Twin and Sister Cities to Aqaba

 

 

Varna, Bulgaria
Málaga, Spain
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Basra, Iraq
Alcamo, Italy