7 Reasons to Spend New Year’s in Jordan

Petra candlelit ceremony

The Treasury of Petra by candlelight. Photo by Juan Luis Polo.

Celebrate the New Year in fascinating Jordan, home to the archaeological site of Petra, remarkable Roman ruins, the mineral-rich Dead Sea, and spectacular “desert castles.” This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour architectural landmarks with a professor of architecture who is collaborating on a proposed Jordan River Peace Park that would be the first ever in the Middle East.

Here are some exciting reasons to join “New Year’s in Jordan: A Journey Into Antiquity,” December 29, 2015, to January 5, 2016.

1.) Petra’s grandeur. Awaken early on New Year’s Day to visit Petra, one of the great wonders of the world. Enter the majestic siq, a narrow winding gorge accessible only on foot. Your first view of Petra’s magnificent ruins will be the Treasury, one of the best preserved of the many elegant structures carved into the sandstone mountains.

Alan Plattus2.) An expert lecturer. Learn about the region from Alan Plattus, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture. Professor Plattus has lectured across the United States and abroad on the history of architecture and cities, as well as contemporary issues in architecture and urban design.

3.) A dip in the Dead Sea. Also known as the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea is the world’s deepest hypersaline lake. You will have an opportunity to float in its buoyant waters and learn more about the history and conservation of the area at the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex.

Jerash4.) Ancient Jerash. One of the largest and best preserved cities of the ancient Roman Empire, Jerash is a veritable treasure trove of antiquities. In walking its cobbled streets, through millennia-old colonnades of sandstone pillars, gain a glimpse of what life was like in this once booming metropolis.

5.) A visit to the site of the proposed Jordan River Peace Park (JRPP).  The first such park in the Middle East, the JRPP has been proposed as a joint project between Jordan and Israel. Tour the site with the director, and discuss historic and environmental issues with Professor Plattus and a member of EcoPeace Middle East.

6.) Jordan’s desert castles.” Travel east of Amman to see remarkable desert castles including El Kharana, a 7th-century structure likely built as a caravanserai to shelter travelers; Amra, with splendid 8th-century frescoes; and the black basalt fortress of Azraq Castle, used by T.E. Lawrence during the fight against the Ottoman Empire.

7.) Welcome 2016 in style. Enjoy a festive New Year’s Eve dinner at Petra’s luxurious Mövenpick Resort. Afterwards, you may wish to join a candlelight visit to the historic site of Petra, which is located near the hotel’s entrance.

SphinxTravelers may also wish to join an optional three-night postlude in Cairo to experience some of the historic monuments and artistic riches of Egypt. Highlights include the Great Pyramids, the impressive collection of the Egyptian Museum, and the Step Pyramid of King Zoser.

We hope you’ll join Professor Plattus on this extraordinary program. For details about “New Year’s in Jordan, ” please call Johan Steiner at (212) 514-8921 or (800) 221-1944, or email him at johan@arrangementsabroad.com

Academic Arrangements Abroad, together with leading cultural and educational institutions, is proud to offer a diverse portfolio of exceptional trips.

Other New Year’s Celebrations:

Kings, Gods & Dragons: New Year’s in Cambodia & Vietnam
December 26, 2015 to January 8, 2016

With Olivier Bernier

A Journey into Antiquity: Egypt & Jordan by Private Plane
December 30, 2015 to January 13, 2016
With Isabel Stünkel

Cuba by Private Yacht
Call for details – (212) 514-8921

Discover Asia at the Met


Make 2015 the year you discover Asia at the Met!

It’s a big year at the Museum with a new president, Daniel H. Weiss, on his way, the new outpost for contemporary art (housed in the old Whitney) just named The Met Breuer — and ongoing centennial celebrations of the Department of Asian Art, which kicked off on February 19 with the Lunar New Year.

Centennial celebrations of Asia go beyond the walls of the Museum this year with Travel with the Met journeys scheduled to Central Asia (September 15-30),  India (October 1-17, 2015), Iran (November 1-17, 2015), Burma (November 8-22, 2015) and Vietnam & Cambodia, December 26, 2015 – January 8, 2016) . All are led by engaging Museum curators and experts.

ThroughTheLookingGlassChina: Through the Looking Glass
A collaboration of the Department of Asian art and the Anna Wintour Costume Center, China: Through the Looking Glass spreads across the Asia galleries on the second floor, where high fashion from the 1700s to the present is juxtaposed with decorative arts from Imperial China. Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar-wei is artistic director for the blockbuster exhibition, which runs from May 7- August 16.

Happy Thingyan!

ThinGyanMIn Burma, the New Year is celebrated not in January or February but in April—and not with fireworks or dragons but with water!  The biggest holiday of the year, the Thingyan Water Festival coincides with the start of the hot season, making the tradition of throwing water at passerby all the more welcome. Join us in Burma, not during the hot season, but rather this autumn, when temperatures are more moderate in Southeast Asia. Participants on Treasures of Burma enjoy a private a cappella performance by the students at Gitameit, a non-profit music center — just one of a number of special events planned over the 12-day program led by Met educator David Bowles. Highlights include a river cruise and a two-night stay at the exquisite Bagan Lodge.

What are your plans for December 31, 2015?

AngkorWatCambodiaLucky travelers on Kings, Gods & Dragons, scheduled for December 26, 2015 to January 8, 2016 will ring in 2016 at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap. What better place to greet the New Year than the extraordinary Angkor Wat? This Travel with the Met program is led by Olivier Bernier, Vice President of The Center for Khmer Studies in Siem Reap. A popular lecturer and an art historian of many interests, Mr. Bernier is confirmed on a number of Travel with the Met programs in 2016, including Titian to Tiepolo: the Veneto and Venice (April 18 – 27, 2016); Gems of Northern Europe: Hamburg, Hannover & the Hague (June 5-16, 2016); Houses of the English Aristocracy: North England & Wales (June 20-29, 2016); and The Romantic Rhone: Lyon to Arles Aboard M.S. AmaDagio (September 21-30).

Founded in 1977, Academic Arrangements Abroad is celebrating 15 years as the exclusive travel provider for Travel with the Met, the travel program of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sachertorte: A Slice of Vienna

One of Vienna’s most famous culinary specialties is sachertorte. This dense chocolate cake was invented by Franz Sacher, a 16-year-old chef’s apprentice, in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. After Franz became a full-blown chef, he sold the cake to the general public to rave reviews. In 1876, Franz’s son Eduard opened the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. To this day, the hotel’s original recipe is a well-kept secret.

Making Original Sacher TorteAccording to the hotel’s website: “The basis of the entire confection is a chocolate cake, thinly coated by hand with best-quality apricot jam. The chocolate icing on top of it is the crowning glory. It tastes best with a portion of unsweetened whipped cream.” (Learn more about how the cake is made in the above video.)

Sachertorte at Sacher HotelDuring our “New Year’s in Vienna” program, we will stay at the Hotel Sacher. During your free time, you might want to treat yourself to a slice of the legendary torte at the hotel’s Café Sacher Vienna. The group will also visit the renowned Demel Café for a light lunch including mélange coffee and traditional Viennese pastries.

If you can’t join us for the program, you can order treats from Sacher online. You can also make your own sachertorte. Here’s a recipe from the Austrian National Tourist Office.