Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan and the largest and most populous city on the Gulf of Aqaba. Situated in southernmost Jordan, Aqaba is the administrative centre of the Aqaba Governorate. Today, Aqaba plays a major role in the development of the Jordanian economy, through the vibrant trade and tourism sectors. The Port of Aqaba also serves other countries in the region.
Aqaba's strategic location at the northeastern tip of the Red Sea between the continents of Asia and Africa, has made its port important over the course of thousands of years
Aqaba's location next to Wadi Rum and Petra has placed it in Jordan's golden triangle of tourism, which strengthened the city's location on the world map and made it one of the major tourist attractions in Jordan.The city is administered by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, which has turned Aqaba into a low-tax, duty-free city, attracting several mega projects like Ayla Oasis, Saraya Aqaba, Marsa Zayed and expansion of the Port of Aqaba. They are expected to turn the city into a major tourism hub in the region. However, industrial and commercial activities remain important, due to the strategic location of the city as the country's only seaport.
Excavations at Tall Hujayrat Al-Ghuzlan and Tall Al-Magass in Aqaba revealed that the city has been an inhabited settlement since 4000 BC, with a thriving copper production on a large scale. This period is largely unknown due to the absence of written historical sources. Archaeologists from University of Jordan have discovered the sites, where they found a small building whose walls were inscribed with human and animal drawings, suggesting that the building was used as a religious site.
The people who inhabited the site had developed an extensive water system in irrigating their crops which was mostly grapes and wheat. Several different-sized clay pots were also found suggesting that copper production was a major industry in the region, the pots were used in melting the copper and reshaping it. Scientific studies performed on site revealed that it had undergone two earthquakes, with the latter one leaving the site completely destroyed.