Akaba (Aqaba), Jordan's only seaport, is located on the Gulf of Akaba, the northeast branch of the Red Sea. The city borders on neighboring Israeli Eilat, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia are also in close proximity. On the land side, karst, jagged rocks form a natural boundary. They can be traced back to previous volcanic activity.
Article overview Akaba
The origins of the city go back to 4.000 BC. In Aqaba, leading traffic routes to Africa, Asia and Europe met, and Aqaba has also been a port city for ages. The region had to endure a multitude of occupying powers over time - starting with the Edomites and ending as a British mandate. As for the British, a British lieutenant who called himself Lawrence of Arabia also played a key role. He led several dangerous commandos in the uprising of the Arabs against the Ottoman Empire.
Important port and tourist center
Aqaba is now an important port city from which phosphate fertilizers are mainly exported. Cruise ships also regularly call at the port near the center. The city also has a low-traffic international airport, which is served by European charter airlines during the season. European holidaymakers in particular are drawn to the Red Sea between autumn and spring. Its long beaches, first-class hotels and diving centers arouse the interest of water sports enthusiasts in particular.
Akaba - View of the Hotel Zone
Aqaba - Movenpick Hotel
A free trade zone was set up in 2000 to promote regional economic interests. It should bring about a structural change in the region. Indeed, the city's modernization is progressing rapidly. Tourism professionals and city planners want to develop Akaba beyond the free trade zone into an Arabic version of Miami Beach; at least the climatic conditions of both regions are similar. In order to catch up with Miami, the mega-project Marsa Zayed was intended to convert the city's old port district into a 3,2 million square meter luxury area with a cruise port. Everything has been thought of: apartment houses, a clubhouse, a mosque that can accommodate 2.000 believers, villas, etc. The first phase of construction should be completed in 2016. But things turned out differently: apart from the identification of large building areas and the erection of extensive construction fences, this vision has not yet made progress.
Akaba - seat of the free trade zone authority
In Akabas Hotel Zone, where the most famous international hotel groups are represented, a huge residential complex is being built with the support of the United Arab Emirates. Its implementation also caused problems in between. After all, the work is progressing. An Italian consortium is also planning further gigantic investments near the hotel zone.
Akaba - berth for cruise ships
Starting point for discovery tours
Akaba itself lacks anything worth seeing. Instead, the city with 188.000 inhabitants (as of 2015) is a starting point for tours of discovery. The world famous one is 60 kilometers away Wadi Rum.
Jeep tour in Wadi Rum
Rock city Petra - the urn grave
Then it's on to Petra, the legendary city carved out of rock. In 2007 it was included in the group of the Seven Wonders of the World. Read our post about what cruise ship guests can see in Aqaba: Aqaba sightseeing.
Update March 2021