Amman – a unique blend of antique and novel

Amman - Jordan

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 .. one of the easiest cities in which to enjoy the Middle East experience

Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan, located in the northwestern part of the country. It holds significant importance as the political, cultural, and economic center of Jordan. The city’s history dates back thousands of years, and it has witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations, including the Ammonites, Romans, Byzantines, and Islamic Caliphates.

Today, Jordan’s Capital is known for its modernity and cosmopolitan atmosphere, juxtaposed with historical sites and remnants of its past. It serves as the seat of the Jordanian government and is home to numerous government institutions, embassies, and businesses. Amman’s strategic location in the heart of the Middle East has made it a hub for regional trade and diplomacy.

Visitors to Amman can explore its rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant culinary scene. The city also serves as a gateway to Jordan’s many archaeological wonders, including Petra and the Dead Sea, making it a vital entry point for tourists exploring the country. Amman’s significance as Jordan’s capital makes it a dynamic and intriguing destination for travelers and a key player in the region’s political and economic landscape.

Historical Overview

Jordan capital’s history is a rich tapestry that stretches back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its story is marked by a series of historical milestones and significant periods:

1. Ancient Origins:
Amman’s origins can be traced back to the Neolithic period (around 6500 BC), when it was initially settled by early civilizations. The city’s strategic location on several ancient trade routes contributed to its early growth.

2. Ammonite Kingdom:
In antiquity, this city was known as “Rabbath Ammon” and was the capital of the Ammonite Kingdom. It was later renamed “Philadelphia” during the Hellenistic period under the rule of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. During this time, it was adorned with impressive Greco-Roman architecture, some of which can still be seen today.

3. Roman Rule:
Ammon thrived under Roman rule, and it became an important regional city known as Philadelphia. The Roman Theater, an iconic historical site in Amman, was built during this period, showcasing the city’s architectural prowess.

4. Byzantine Era:
The city continued to prosper under Byzantine rule. Several churches and religious sites were constructed, reflecting the growing influence of Christianity in the region.

5. Islamic Conquest:
In the 7th century AD, Islamic forces led by Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab captured Amman, marking the city’s transition to an Islamic center. It was during this time that the city’s name reverted to its ancient Ammonite name, “Ammon.”

Ain Ghazal- Amman 1985 -Jordan
Ancient Roman Columns - Amman Citadel Jordan

6. Crusader and Ottoman Periods:
Amman saw various rulers, including the Crusaders and the Ottomans. During the Ottoman rule, the city was part of the province of Syria and played a role in the administrative and economic affairs of the Ottoman Empire.

7. 20th Century and Modernization:
In the 20th century, this city underwent significant modernization and expansion. It became the capital of Transjordan (later Jordan) under the leadership of King Abdullah I. This marked the beginning of its transformation into the vibrant and cosmopolitan city it is today.

8. Contemporary :
Present-day Jordan’s capital is a bustling metropolis, with a population that exceeds four million people. It serves as the capital of Jordan and houses numerous government institutions, embassies, and businesses. The city’s historical sites, such as the Citadel and Roman Theater, coexist with modern developments, creating a unique blend of old and new.

Amman’s history is a testament to its resilience and adaptability, having survived numerous conquests and changes in leadership. Visitors to the city can explore this rich history by visiting its archaeological sites, museums, and historical landmarks, gaining a deeper appreciation for its enduring cultural heritage.

Cultural Heritage

Jordan’s capital, boasts a captivating and diverse cultural heritage that reflects the nation’s rich history and contemporary vibrancy. The city is a treasure trove for those interested in exploring its museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals, each offering unique insights into Jordan’s past and present.

JORDAN FOLKLORE MUSEUM

Founded by the Department of Antiquities in 1975, housed in the Western lateral hall of the Roman Theatre (from the entrance to the right), the museum exhibits costumes and items of daily life, weapons, and musical instruments from the 19th and early 20th centuries, belonging to the culture of the desert , villages and towns.

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JORDAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Located in the Amman Citadel – the center of the capital. Built in 1951, it presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century.
The place was chosen in order to have the actual ruins of the Roman, Byzantine and Arab Citadel part of it.

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MUSEUM OF POPULAR TRADITIONS

Was established in 1971. Since then, it has endeavored to make Jordanian culture accessible to all who visit through its beautiful displays of intricately designed cultural items. It has five different galleries containing preserved pottery, costumes, mosaics, jewelry and other artifacts from daily living. it has lots to offer those looking to find out more.

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things to do in amman

The capital city of Jordan, is a vibrant and historical destination that offers a fascinating blend of ancient and modern attractions. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Citadel, perched on a hilltop and featuring ancient ruins dating back thousands of years. Visitors can explore the well-preserved Roman Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace while enjoying panoramic views of the city.

The Roman Theater is another must-visit attraction in this city. This ancient amphitheater, built during the 2nd century, could seat up to 6,000 spectators and is still used for cultural events and performances today. Its impressive architecture and rich history make it a captivating site for tourists interested in the city’s past.

Amman also boasts a thriving culinary scene and bustling markets. A visit to the lively Rainbow Street offers a taste of the city’s vibrant culture, with its array of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Souk Jara, a seasonal market, is a delightful place to shop for traditional handicrafts, souvenirs, and sample delicious Jordanian street food. Whether you’re exploring ancient history, enjoying modern cuisine, or soaking in the local culture, Ammon has a diverse range of attractions to offer travelers from around the world.

check out these top attractions in Amman 

Citadel

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.

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ROMAN THEATER

The theatre was built in the period 138-161 CE, which dates back to the reign of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. The sole centerpiece of the city, the magnificent masterpiece was designed to be northerly-oriented, to keep the sun off its spectators, and could seat up to 6,000 people on its steep stairs.

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NYMPHAEUM

The main public fountain of old Philadelphia, as Ammon was named in Hellenistic and Roman times, dates back to the end of the 2nd century AD.
It is only a short stroll away from the Roman Theater and Odeon.
Nymphaea were built over caves with running water, which were believed to be sacred to mythological nymphs.

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Must know

The King & Kingdom: Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, King Abdullah II has been the reigning monarch since 1999. He is known for his efforts to modernize the country and promote interfaith dialogue. His Majesty, the leader, the father and the beloved king of his people is a member of the Hashemite dynasty.

The currency of Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar. The value of the dinar is effectively fixed at the rate of .71 JD to 1 USD, Credit cards are widely used in Jordan.

Service charges that have been included on your bill go to the restaurant, not the waiter. Be sure to tip the servers 10% in addition by handing it to them directly.

Dress respectfully with modesty in mind. This means opting for shorts or skirts that touch the knee, high necklines and keeping shoulders covered.

The easiest way to get around in Jordan is to use the plentiful taxis. Uber and Kareem are applications that you can use in the capital of Jordan and you can depend on them. Or contact us to provide you with our transport services.

Arabic is the official language, English is widely used as second language.

You didn’t visit Jordan if you didn’t have “Fool” and “Falfal”, a traditional Jordanian breakfast dish.

You didn’t visit Jordan if you didn’t have “Mansaf”, the Jordanian traditional meat dish.

Must Do

Explore the ancient Nabatean city carved into rose-red cliffs, Petra! Jordan’s most famous archaeological site.

Float effortlessly in the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea, known for its therapeutic properties.

Discover Wadi Rum and explore the stunning desert landscapes of Wadi Rum by taking a jeep tour or a camel trek. Spend a night under the starry desert sky in a Bedouin camp for an unforgettable experience.

Hike in Dana Biosphere Reserve: Enjoy the breathtaking views and wildlife in Jordan’s largest nature reserve.

Go Scuba Diving in the Red Sea and explore the vibrant coral reefs and marine life in the Red Sea.

Tour The capital: Explore the capital city’s historical sites, including the  Citadel and the Roman Theater.

Discover the remarkably well-preserved Roman ruins in Jerash, known as the “Pompeii of the East.”

Relax in the natural hot springs near the Dead Sea at Ma’in Hot Springs.

Experience the Desert Castles, the Umayyad desert castles in eastern Jordan, including Qasr Amra and Qasr Kharana.

Camp in the Mujib Biosphere Reserve: Hike and explore the Siq Trail or the Ibex Trail in this beautiful nature reserve

MOSQUES IN AMMAN

Al Husseini Mosque

The oldest mosque in Amman, has been the nexus of the capital’s downtown area and an important gathering place for people of all walks of life.

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King Hussein Mosque

built in 2005 in the reign of King Abdullah II in the West of the capital – Dabouq area, specifically in Al Hussein Public Parks at King Abdullah II Street near King Hussein Medical Center.

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KING ABDULLAH I MOSQUE

The King Abdullah Mosque commemorates King Abdullah I, founder of the dynasty that rules Jordan to this day and the first King of Jordan.

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jordanian cuisine

Jordan is located in the heart of the Levant, and considered the cradle of many civilizations. It is also surrounded by many Arab countries, which effected the Jordanian cuisine and mixed flavors from different regions to give it a unique distinction from others. ‏ The cuisine offers hummus, Baba Ghanoush and fried kibbeh, influenced by the Syrian culture.

It also serves Foul Medamis and falafel, influenced by the Egyptian culture. The Mahashi dish is a dish that is close to the Iraqi dolma. Also, the chicken Musakhan is a dish that Jordanians well made ancient Palestinian origins, while the kabsa is a dish inspired by the Saudi heritage.

Mansaf remains the imprint that distinguishes Jordanian cuisine from others, as it is a mixture of the flavors of the Jordanian heritage, where the people of the desert (Bedwen) who grazing livestock are famous for making yogurt, margarine and butter from sheep’s milk. From here came the Mansaf, which consists of sheep meat cooked with yogurt , and next to it rice cooked with margarine with shrak bread, which is hand made and baked on Saj.

This city that seamlessly blends the past and the present, offering a captivating blend of history, culture, and modernity. As you wander through the bustling streets, explore ancient ruins, or savor the flavors of Jordanian cuisine, you can’t help but be entranced by the city’s unique charm.

Jordan’s capital is more than just a travel destination; it’s a city with a rich and diverse tapestry of people and experiences. Its warm and welcoming locals, known for their hospitality, will make you feel right at home. The city’s enchanting mix of traditions and innovations invites you to uncover its many layers and delve into its vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or an adventurer seeking new horizons, This capital has something to offer everyone. Its iconic landmarks, tell stories of millennia past, while its contemporary art scene and burgeoning culinary culture hint at a city continually evolving.

Amman invites you to experience a world where ancient traditions meet modern aspirations, where the echoes of history are ever-present, and where the promise of a bright future shines on the horizon. So, when you find yourself planning your next adventure, don’t forget to put Amman, Jordan, on your list. This city is not just a destination; it’s an unforgettable journey, a gateway to the heart of the Middle East, and an enduring testament to the beauty of the human spirit.

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