The King’s Highway
is one of the world’s oldest historical routes used by travelers since ancient times until today. Connecting the Red Sea in the south and Syria in the north through Jordan, it used to link ancient Kingdom of the Ammonite, the Moabite and the Edomite. The route called the “King’s Highway” was first mentioned in the biblical text, when Moses led the Exodus through southern Jordan. Moses asked the King of Edom if he and his people could “go along the King’s Highway” during their journey, but his request was denied.
After the Roman annexed the Nabataean Kingdom in 106 AD, the Roman constructed the new Roman road between Bostra (Southern Syria) and Aila (Aqaba) almost along the Kings Highway. This road was called Via Nova Traiana (New Road of Trajan), named after the Roman Emperor Trajan who constructed this road.
In the Medieval era, the part of the King’s Highway was used as a part of Hajj pilgrimage route to Mecca and Medina by Muslims before the Ottoman developed the new Hajj route along the present-day Desert Highway in the 16th century.
The King’s Highway Heritage Route
The King’s Highway Heritage Route Kings’s Highway Heritage Route” traces most part of the historical King’s Highway in Jordan. The “King’s Highway Heritage Route” starts from the capital city of Amman, and ends in the port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. This heritage route runs almost along the national road Route 35, and run through Madaba, Karak, Tafileh, Shawbak, Petra and Aqaba area. The starting point of the King’s Highway Heritage Route is the Jordan Museum where can
Proposed Itinerary for“The King’s Highway Journey
1st Day: Amman: Visit the Jordan Museum and sites in and around Amman, then move to Madaba via Heshban; stay at Madaba
2nd Day: Madaba: Visit sites in and around Madaba area, stay at Madaba
3rd Day: Madaba/Karak: Visit site south of Madaba (Umm er-Rasas etc), cross Wadi Mujib, move to Karak via Rabba, stay at Karak
4th Day: Karak: Visit Karak Castle and City, sites in Karak area, stay at Karak
5th Day: Tafileh: Cross Wadi Hasa, visit sites in Tafileh area; stay at Dana or Al-Matan
6th Day: Visit sites in Tafileh area, stay at Dana or Al-Matan
7th Day: Shobak/Petra: Visit Shobak Castle, stay at Shobak or move to Petra and stay
8th Day: Visit Petra, stay at Petra
9th Day: Visit sites around Petra, stay at Petra
10th Day: Move to Wadi Rum via Humayma, stay in Wadi Rum
11th Day: Move to Aqaba, visit sites in Aqaba, stay in Aqaba
Tips for Tourists traveling the King’s Highway Heritage Route
- Please explore at your own risk.
- Please bring drinking water. It is available in shops along the King’s Highway.
- In order to travel the King’s Highway, travel by vehicle. Taxis and renting cars are recommended. Some areas need a 4WD car drive.
- There are private company bus lines (JETT etc) connecting Amman, and Aqaba
There are also local public transportation (bus and “service” taxi line) as follows;
Amman (south bus terminal)- Karak, Tafileh, Wadi Musa (Petra)
Amman – Madaba, Madaba-Karak, Karak-Tafileh
- Not all heritage sites in the King’s Highway Trail are open to public. Some archaeological sites are closed, where you can only view the site from outside.
- In order to protect archaeological sites, please do not climb up on archaeological wall.
- Please do not collect archaeological artifacts on the site.
- Please do not litter garbage anywhere along the King’s Highway Heritage route. Please keep the route clean.
- In case of visiting religious sites, please respect the local culture, and avoid short pants.
- Please ask permission before taking photos of local people.
- In some area, please be careful of animals such as stray dogs.
- There are few Gasoline stations in the King’s Highway. Make sure you fill up your tank before starting your journey.
- QR codes in each site show the location on Google maps or the website of each site.
Your mobile device needs a QR code reader and access to the internet. In case you are not using a Jordanian provider, a Jordanian mobile phone SIM card or local Wi-Fi in Jordan, you are subject to use internet via international call or international roaming service.
In case of an emergency, please call
117777 (Tourist Police Operation)
- Both are available in English and are available 24 hours/7 days a week
General information about tourism in Jordan:
Visit Jordan website by the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB)
Copyright © 2019 Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)