From the dawn of civilisation, Arabia and the Levant have been at one of the world’s most important crossroads of peoples and cultures. Some of mankind’s greatest societies made their mark in this strategically significant area, located precariously at the gateway between the Orient and the Occident.
Vast networks of trade routes once flourished in this region, including the fabled Frankincense Trail. Fuelled by demand for incense by the Egyptian and Roman empires, entire civilisations were made wealthy from its production and transport, making it one of the most valuable commodities in the ancient world. At its peak between the 3rd Century BCE and the 2nd Century CE, up to 1,000 camels per caravan plied this route. Yet in those days there was a certain mystery about the origins of this sacred resin, as well as stories of terrible things that happened to those who tried to find out.
This expedition, the first of its kind, combines the fascinating history and archaeology of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Tracing the Frankincense trade route of antiquity, we discover the magnificent highlights of Jordan and then venture overland into the vast remoteness of northern Saudi Arabia in search of ancient ruins and rock art. Following in the footsteps of key historical figures such as Saladin and Lawrence of Arabia, throughout our journey we explore Neolithic, Hellenistic, Nabataean, Roman, Early Christian, Arab and Crusader monuments as well as visits to some of the most spectacular archaeological sites anywhere in the world including Petra in Jordan and the rarely-visited oasis of Hegra (Madain Saleh) in Saudi Arabia.
Led by expert archaeologist Dr Iain Shearer, this pioneering expedition immerses our travellers into the myths and legends of this captivating region, traversing lands of extraordinary natural beauty with stays in the very best luxury hotels and desert camps.