The Eastern Desert




The Eastern Jordan Desert is a large rectangle of bleak flat sand dunes, stretching as far as the eye can see. On a good day warm, dazzling bright and clear, on a bad day flat chilly and wind swept, with visibility down to yards as the sand is whipped up into clouds.


It stretches from the lush Jordan Valley for over 200 miles to the Iraq border. Bounded by Syria to the north, and Saudi Arabia to the south, it is for the most uninhabited, having only a handful of small villages and the nomadic Bedouin tribesmen as "residents."


The single road traversing the desert, Route 10, is clogged nose to tail with oil tankers and lorries carrying their loads to Aqaba, Jordan's only port.


Route 10, historically known as the Silk Road, and the Frankincense Trail, has along its length buildings known as "desert castles," built during the 7th and 8th century by the Umayyads, replacing others constructed mainly by the Nabateans and Romans who controlled and protected the route before them.


The purpose of these "castles" is still debatable, but they vary from the fortresses like Qasr Azraq, to the pleasureland of Qusr Amra, to the mysteries of Qasr Kharana.




Travelling in convoy

on the Eastern Desert Road into Iraq




Jordan Tour