Amman - Jordan
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts - a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley.
In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and artisans' workshops.
There is evidence of the city’s much older past everywhere you turn.
Due to the city's modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost uniformly white houses.
The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from intricate gold and silver jewelry to everyday household items.
The city offers its visitors plenty of lively nightlife, with everything from cultural and theatrical events to traditional Arabic entertainment, modern restaurants and clubs. The people of Amman are multi-cultural, well educated, and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.
No more than four hours drive from anywhere in the country, Amman is also a perfect base for exploring further into Jordan the various landscapes it provides.
The Citadel is a good place to begin a tour of the archaeological sites of the city. It is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon and excavations there have revealed numerous Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic remains. Located on a mountain, it not only gives visitors a perspective of the city’s incredible history, but also provides stunning views of the entire area.
Places of specific interest at the Citadel include:
- The Umayyad Palace complex, dating from 720-750 AD.
- The great monumental gateway with its cruciform shape and four vaulted niches leads to a courtyard and colonnaded street, which runs through the complex with ruined buildings on either side.
- The Temple of Hercules, built during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD).
- The Byzantine Church, believed to date from the 6th or 7th century AD. Corinthian columns mark the site.
Places of interest downtown include:
- The Roman Theater, which dates back to the 2nd century AD, is built into three sides of the hillside and seats approximately 6000 people. It is still used for performances today.
- The Roman Forum. A public square, bordered by the theater and the Odeon, which was amongst the largest of the Empire (100 x 50 meters). The row of columns in front of the theater is what remains of the colonnades which once flankedit.
- The Nymphaeum. Roman cities always contained ornamental gardens and public fountains. This fountain is close to the theater complex and dates back to end of the 2nd century.
- The Grand Husseini Mosque. Just a short walk away, is Decorated in pink and white stone, it was built by Emir Abdullah in 1924 on the site of a much older mosque from the Umayyad period. Restoration was carried out under the late King Hussein in 1987.
- The Hejaz Railway. For a glimpse of recent history, take a ride on the Hejaz Railway. This famous train was repeatedly sabotaged by the Arab troops of Emir Faisal and Lawrence of Arabia to defeat the Ottomans. While the days of Lawrence are long gone, the railway retains its sentimental appeal.
What To See:
- Jordan Archaeological Museum
- Children’s Museum
- Jordan Museum
- Jordan Folklore Museum
- Jordan Museum of Popular Traditions
- Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
- Martyr’s Memorial and Military Museum
- The Royal Automobile Museum
- Jordan Hejaz Railway Station