Amman is the capital of Jordan and has more than four million inhabitants. This white stone city is located on a steep hill and combines modern neighborhoods with ancient souks. It is a city of contrasts, with sophisticated cafes, glittering shopping malls, narrow, winding streets and a pleasant atmosphere.
It offers an extremely evocative combination of historical heritage, including ancient Roman and Eastern ruins, citadels, sacred sites, museums and commercial enclaves.
Amman is undoubtedly the gateway to Jordan and a must see in this unique, welcoming and exotic Middle Eastern country. Moreover, its nights are long and enormously enjoyable.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Amman
- What to do in Amman
- When to visit Amman
- How to get to Amman
- Where to stay in Amman
- Getting around Amman
- Cost of living in Amman
- Where to eat in Amman
Top 5 reasons to visit Amman
The Roman Theater, Nymphaeum and the Temple of Hercules are outstanding examples of the Roman era buildings that can be admired in Amman.
The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts and the Jordan Museum include some of the best collections of art based in the Middle East.
Jordanian food resembles that of its Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish neighbours. The most typical dish is mansaf, which is prepared with lamb, rice and a dry yogurt. The chawarma is the national sandwich and is delicious.
The calls to the muezzin resonate throughout the city and become a spectacular and memorable soundtrack. In places like the Citadel you will perceive them in unique surroundings, in the company of spectacular sunsets.
Amman enjoys a lively nightlife, perhaps only surpassed in the Middle East by Tel Aviv and Beirut. Modern West Amman is the ideal place to go to clubs, bars and cafes – have a great time and meet extraordinary people!
What to do in Amman
Travelling to history in the Citadel of Amman
The Citadel of Amman is located on top of the highest hill in the city, Jebel al-Qala’a, which rises about 850 meters above sea level. It is the site of the ancient settlement of Rabbath-Ammon. It has been occupied since the Bronze Age and has seen the presence of the Romans and the Byzantine Empire, among others, during its long history.
In fact, it is believed to be one of the oldest permanently established sites in the world. The area is rich in archaeological ruins and is home to the Ummayad Palace. Dated at 720 AD, it was briefly home to the rulers of Amman, but ended up being destroyed by an earthquake in 749. The area also houses the ruins of the Temple of Hercules and the National Archaeological Museum.
Attend a concert in the Roman amphitheater
The beautifully restored Roman amphitheater is the most impressive reminder of the Roman city of Philadelphia, which once occupied this enclave. The amphitheater seats 6,000 and continues to host concerts today. It is cut into an adjacent hillside and dates back to the 2nd century AD. It also offers some of the best views of the city, especially in the early morning. Check to see if there are any shows scheduled during your visit: it will be an unforgettable experience.
See the ruins of the Temple of Hercules
The Temple of Hercules dates from around 160 AD, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Today only two huge stone pillars remain, which were rebuilt in 1993, crowned by a part of the podium. There is also a large marble hand, which is believed to have been part of a statue of Hercules that was destroyed. The temple can be seen from all over the city and is particularly intoxicating if you visit it at sunset. It’s a good time to take a picture or simply admire the view as the echoes of the city and its calls to prayer resound.
Follow the story at the Jordanian Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Jordan, which is located in the Citadel of Amman, contains interesting exhibits from prehistoric times to the 15th century. The exhibitions are organized chronologically, which facilitates the understanding of the history presented. The collections include everyday household items such as pottery, jewelry and coins. A visit to the museum is a great way to learn about the fabulous ruins that surround you in the Citadel.
Feel like a king watching cars
The Royal Automobile Museum in King Hussein Park is a rather unique attraction in Amman. It houses the late King Hussein’s private vehicle collection and commemorates his love of automobiles. The collection includes cars and motorcycles dating from the oldest cars in 1886 to the 1940s. There are some rare and unusual cars and the collection is a real treat for car lovers and those who want to take a look at how the royal family lived and traveled. The exhibits are accompanied by a wealth of fascinating information, including the stories of each of the vehicles.
When to visit Amman
Amman is hot in summer and cold in winter. From March to May it is warm and benefits from lush vegetation and flowering wildflowers, so it is usually a good time to visit.
How to get to Amman
The city is served by Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), which provides many international and regional connections. A taxi to the city centre will cost around JOD 20, while the bus leaves at JOD 3.25.
Jordan is a compact country with a good road network. Route 65 allows travel from north to south through Amman, while routes 10 and 30 connect the capital to the east and west. Road signs are presented in both Arabic and Roman script.
The two main bus stations in Amman are Tabarbour and JETT. Buses from the Israeli border arrive here, after a one hour journey and with a price of JOD 7.5. Taking a bus from Petra costs JOD 9.5.
Where to stay in Amman
Popular districts in Amman
Al Balad, the old town of Amman, is a maze of narrow streets and markets where spices and clothing are sold. It is also home to the Roman Theatre and the Citadel.
The district of Abdali has been converted into a modern center of restaurants, hotels, offices and shops.
Sweifieh is structured around the Wakalat pedestrian street, which is full of shops like Gap and Zara. The cobbled street of Shari Al-Rainbow is also nearby, with many cafes and Sheesha tea shops.
Getting around Amman
Amman has a good and safe bus network, with a unique fare that costs JOD 0,35. It is an excellent formula to move around the city in a comfortable and quiet way.
The taxis, yellow, are abundant, cheap and absolutely reliable. The flag drop is set at JOD 0.25 and then you pay JOD 0.6 for every 1.6 kilometres.
Driving in Amman can be quite frantic. Lots of car horns are sounding at once and lane markings are scarce. Car rental is available from companies like Budget and Sixt: prices start at JOD 20 per day.
Cost of living in Amman
Abdali Boulevard is a modern street with many fashionable shops, which you should not miss. In addition, Wakalat street is a pedestrian shopping area with international brand shops and a neat atmosphere.
Groceries and others
A litre of milk costs 1.20 in Amman and a loaf of bread costs 0.26 in Amman. A beer in a bar will cost you JOD 3 and a drink in a night club will cost you JOD 15. Finally, if you feel like having a soft drink from a vending machine, it will cost you JOD 0.25.
Where to eat in Amman
Hashem, in the city centre, is one of the favourite restaurants of the Jordanian royal family and offers falafel, fuul and hummus dishes for JOD 1.50. Levant in Jabal Amman serves gourmet Arabic dishes from JOD 10.