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Brief History:

For a long time now the town of Aqaba has been through numerous histories and diverse cultures. Dating back to the Nabateans the red sea port was used as a trading route, connecting 'Aqaba' through southern Arabia and Yemen. The Romans also used the Aqaba port after the Nabateans coming down from Damascus through Amman to Aqaba, where it connected with a west road leading to Palestine and Egypt. In the early days of the Islamic era the city of Aila was built, which was unearthed in the mid 1980's by an American-Jordanian archeological team, which is a few minutes walk north along the main waterfront road in Aqaba. The Crusaders occupied the area in the 12th century and built a fortress which still remains well preserved till today. The fort was rebuilt in the 14th century under one of the last Mamluk sultans and has been rebuilt several times since then. Now the fortress has been turned into a museum, which is located on the south east side of the city along the sea side. Almost all the other traces of early civilization in Aqaba have been wiped out, except for the fortress which is now a museum, the ruins of the old Aqaba town which are well presented with maps and signs, and the ruins of a Roman Villa. Recently a new discovery of the world's oldest church has been unearthed in Aqaba. Dating from the late 3rd century, the 26 x 16 meters structure is thought to be the oldest building built specifically as a church. The Church is found east of Istiklal Street, near the JETT bus station. These days Aqaba is considered a vacation resort, which has been developing impressively in recent years. Because of its aquatic climate Aqaba is a year round recreational area, Sea sports, snorkeling, and diving are one of Aqaba's popular activities.

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