This is my go-back.
When I wrote about visiting Jordan as part of Tourism Cares with Jordan earlier this year, I said almost nothing about Amman. But this modern city, full of vitality, history and hills, is a must-see. (Add it to the list of must-sees: Petra, the baptism site, Jerash and the seas—Red and Dead—that I described in another article, "Meaningful and magnificent."
Amman has been the capital of Jordan for just under 100 years, but it shows its true age (in a fascinating way) through the presence of ancient ruins. The Roman Theatre, completed in A.D. 177, is located in the heart of downtown and is easily viewed from another Roman ruins site, Citadel Hill, or Jabal Al Qal’a.
Even if it weren’t packed with ancient temples, colonnaded streets and residences, Citadel Hill would be a marvelous place to do just that: marvel at the city below. But it is loaded with places—even a palace—to explore.
I visited the Jordan Archaeological Museum on Citadel Hill and discovered what I considered my doppelganger from the Neolithic Period. We saw even more antiquities at the newly opened Jordan Museum. We didn’t have time to take in all of the beautiful galleries that tell the story of Jordan’s culture and history, but we did see its collection of Dead Sea Scrolls, including the Copper Scroll, from around A.D. 70.
We’re all familiar with “living history” activities, but sometimes it’s cool to just stand and stare at the past.
We were very much in the present during our time in Amman, though. Here are three activities I’d recommend to any visitor:
- King Abdullah Mosque Along with many in our group, I was eager to go inside a mosque. This is the only one in the city open to non-Muslims. (Remind me to show you a snappy photo of my coworkers Kami Risk and Catherine Prather in their head coverings.)
- Beit Sitti This interactive cook-and-dine experience—perfect for our group of 20 or so—was one of my favorite meals in Jordan. The food was fantastic, and the neighborhood women who work there made us think we were great cooks.
- Wild Jordan The downtown center houses artwork and a conservancy society, but I appreciated it for two things: It has a gift shop featuring pieces by Jordanian craftworkers from all over the county, and it offers a spectacular view—especially in the evening—of Amman.
- I began by saying this is a go-back article, as I had neglected to describe Amman in a previous story. But also, I’m determined to go back to this vibrant yet ancient city.
Top photo: Roman ruins on Amman's Citadel Hill (Jabal Al Qal’a)
Photo by Bob Rouse