The city of Amman is built on a series of hills affording its residents spectacular vistas at every turn.
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, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city's much older past.
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 in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone.
The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewellery to everyday household items.
The people of Amman are multi-cultural, multi-denominational, well-educated and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.
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 hill, 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:
1- 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.
2- The Temple of Hercules, built during the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD).
3- The Byzantine Church, believed to date from the 6th or 7th century AD. Corinthian columns mark the site.
Amman Roman Theater
The restored Roman Theatre dates back to the 2nd century AD. Built into three sides of the hillside, it seats around 6000 people and is still used for performances today. The highest section of seats in a theatre was (and still is) called "The Gods". Although far from the stage, even there the sightlines are excellent, and the actors could be clearly heard, owing to the steepness of the cavea.