Winding Through Time

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

For millennia, the King’s Highway was a vital trade artery in the ancient Near East, linking Africa to Mesopotamia. A road traversing Jordan, its very name echoes in the Old Testament, where Moses pleaded to cross it while leading the Israelites out of Egypt.

From its Egyptian origins, the route snaked across the Sinai Peninsula, kissed the shores of Aqaba, and ascended through Transjordan, finally reaching Damascus and the Euphrates River. Centuries later, following the Muslim conquest, it transformed into the “darb al-hajj,” guiding pilgrims from Syria, Iraq, and beyond toward the holy city of Mecca. In the Byzantine period, Christians used it to visit biblical sites in the Holy Land, such as Golgotha, the site of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Today, echoes of this ancient path linger in Jordan’s Highways 35 and 15, connecting Irbid in the north with Aqaba in the south. But while modern asphalt replaces sandy tracks, the southern stretch, winding through dramatic wadis, remains a testament to the highway’s enduring allure.

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