Amman, the capital of Jordan is currently home to 4 million inhabitants. It was founded in the 8th millennium BC. Since then the area has changed hands, from the Selucids, Navateans, Romans, Greeks, Ottomams to the Arabs today. With so many owners Amman is a hub of cultural fusion. While, perhaps not as popular with tourists as Jordan’s most well known sites, Amman is not to be missed.
The Eastern part of Amman is home to a Roman amphitheatre built facing the north to protect the audience from the harsh sun. This said, clambering up the steep stairs we didn’t feel too sheltered from the sun but we sat down for a selfie nonetheless.
The 6,000 seats the theatre boasts are currently used by civilians to enjoy music concerts, prize ceremonies and book fairs.
Wandering around Amman you’ll find yourself meandering through colourful markets. Bright red, juicy tomatoes lined up neatly next to fresh oranges, onions, lemons, bananas, the list goes on.
Each section of the market has is own theme. You’ll be able to find the spice section by following the aromas a welcome scent after passing the live animal section (not to be recommended). A slightly more sustainable section of the market was the second hand stalls. Here clothing, shoes and toys were on offer.
The thieves market received it’s name due to the fact that historically all merchandise was stolen and sold here. Our guide reassured us that today the goods are legitimately sourced. How so he did not detail!
After our brilliant city tour by Mohammad we enjoyed a delicious lunch in Hotel Pasha. Due to it being Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting) the number of restaurants open was limited. Hotel Pashmir still served us with a feast (vegetable curry, with flavoured rice, salad, humous and flat bread).
This late lunch was extremely welcome after our morning of exploring. Before Mohammad’s walking tour we visited the Roman Citadel, which dates back to the Bronze Age and sits on one of the seven hills that originally made up Amman.
Walking through the Citadel evidence can be found of the influence of Amman’s former inhabitants, such as the temple of Hercules built by the Greeks. The reservoir constructed to harvest rainwater for drinking by the Umayyad.
The olive press to make olive oil constructed by the Romans. More recently, the mosque built by the Arabs.
After a day of sightseeing we were happy to return to hotel Toledo for a swim and a delicious buffet dinner.
Our first day in Jordan has been fantastic. We have loved learning about the culture, history and tasting the food.
Top tips for travelling in Amman:
– Be clear on the fare of taxis. We found it easier to use Uber as it avoids haggling.
– I felt more comfortable covering up my arms and legs. Lots of Local women also cover their hair. However, as a tourist this is not required.
-If travelling during Ramadan be discreet about eating and drinking in public during day light hours
-We paid 30 Jod for two of us to get a local guide at the Citdel. This was reasonable and the guide brilliant. No need to plan in advance, you can hire local guides at the front gate.
–Mahomoud’s free walking tour can be booked online via guruwalk. We found it helpful to have an experienced local show us the best places in town.