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The thriving underwater marine life and the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Aqaba make diving conditions there among the acknowledged best in the world.Snorkeling, water skiing, windsurfing, fishing and other water sports are also popular.
During World War I, however, Ottoman forces were forced to withdraw from the town after a raid by Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab forces of Sharif Hussein.
The capture of Aqaba helped open supply lines from Egypt up to Arab and British forces afield further north in Transjordan and Palestine.
For the history enthusiast, Aqaba contains sites reflecting human habitation back to 4000 BCE, resulting from the citys strategic location at the junction of trading routes between Asia, Africa and Europe.
According to the Bible, "King Solomon also built ships in Ezion-Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shores of the Red Sea." This verse from the Old Testament (1 Kings 9: 26) probably refers to an Iron Age port city on the same ground as modern Aqaba.
The Mamluks took over in 1250, but by the beginning of the sixth century they had been overtaken by the Ottoman Empire.
The city then declined in status, and for 400 years or so it remained a simple fishing village of little significance.
This complex, known as the South Coast, will have an assortment of hotels, parks, restaurants and watersport facilities.
For up-to-date information on where to go to enjoy your favorite aquatic activities in Aqaba, the Aqaba Visitors Center (tel.
03-201-7035), and the Seastar Watersports Center in the Al-Cazar Hotel (tel. The Aquamarina I also offers a number of other aquatic activities, including windsurfing, waterskiing, and, for the less adventurous, paddle-boats.
A new diving area is being developed near the Saudi border near the world-famous Yamanieh coral reef.
Trading routes developed connecting Aqaba with southern Arabia and Yemen, and the town grew into a thriving city.