Despite being one of the oldest continually inhabited human settlements on earth, Jordan’s capital Amman remained in obscurity until the First World War broke its isolation. Amman’s exposure to the victorious Allied Power countries encouraged King Abdullah the First to introduce modernity in his kingdom.
The country made tremendous progress under his successors and Amman emerged as an incredibly fascinating city without sacrificing its old-world charm.
Amman is a city of contrasts. The wonderful fusion of ancient and modern characteristics is evident in the cityscape and lifestyles of its people. Luxury hotels and modern buildings tower above the city’s medieval traditional bustling markets with small shops known as souks and cafes where old men gather to sip coffee and play their traditional game of backgammon, Jordan’s most ancient board game.
Music emanating from swanky restaurants blends harmoniously with melodious prayer calls coming from distant mosques.
Amman’s tourist attractions are mostly concentrated in the downtown area, locally known as the Balad, is located near the majestic King Hussein Mosque built over a mid-7th century earlier mosque. The pre-Christian era Citadel, built by the Romans on one of Amman’s seven hills, dominates the city’s skyline and is a good place to begin your tour of the city.
Its most imposing building is known as al-Qasr, meaning the Palace. Close to it are the ruins of a Byzantine basilica. While in this area, don’t forget to visit the Jordan Archaeological Museum which has on display Dead City Scrolls.
Five minutes walk down the Citadel hill is the 2nd century AD Roman Theater, the most impressive relic of the ancient Philadelphia. Yes, that was the name of Jordan before. The Americans borrowed it for naming the birthplace of their democracy!
Let’s now turn to the modern Amman. It has experienced a colossal change from a sleepy little town to a bustling modern metropolis. The streets are no longer narrow and winding, but straight and broad lined with trees and flanked by elegant white houses.
Amman offers a wide range of accommodation options from very basic budget hotels to luxurious 5-star facilities. There are several hotels belonging to well-known international chains such as Kempinski and Marriott. The Palace is an old hotel conveniently located in downtown area near the Roman remains and the Citadel. Check with the Internet for the types of hotels available.
Most international travelers to Amman – and also to Jordan – will arrive at Queen Alia International Airport. Royal Jordan Airlines fly nonstop from most major cities in Europe and Asia as also as key hubs from North America. Delta Airlines flies direct from New York. Alitalia, Air France, Lufthansa and Iberia also fly in here from their European hubs.Amman beckons you to come here and enjoy a wonderful holiday.