Travelstick Amman Jordan

Amman

Most of the cheapest hotels are located in downtown Amman close to the Roman Theater and Citadel. There are plenty of cheap places to eat down the side streets where you can get a meal for 1 or 2JD. Taxis in Amman are not too expensive but make sure they have the meter on and beware of taxi drivers taking large detours to increase the fare.


The Roman Theatre in Amman was originally built between 138 and 161 AD in what was then the Greek city of Philadelphia. It was built during the reign of Antonius Pius who was known to be one of the most peaceful Emperors in Roman history. Antonius encouraged philosophy, fine arts and science and was responsible for the development of many buildings and centers of culture in the area.

The theatre is cut into the side of a hill on a northward facing slope so that the spectators would be shaded from the sun during performances. Designed to seat up to 6,000 spectators the theatre was built upon three levels with seating divided by class. There is however some debate as to whether it was the upper or the lower tier that was considered to be the best seats. The theatre is still used today for hosting cultural events.

In 1957 the Jordanian government began a process of restoration on the Roman Theatre. There is however some controversy over the authenticity of the restoration, with critics pointing out that they failed to use original materials or completely preserve the structure. Despite the supposed inaccuracies the Roman Theater is still an impressive site and also houses two small museums: the Amman Folklore Museum and the Amman Museum of Popular Traditions.

Located in downtown Amman at the foot of the Citadel.

Entrance 2JD (2020)

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The Amman Citadel is situated on top of Jebel Al-Qal'a, the highest of the seven hills that originally made up Amman. Evidence of occupation dates back to the Neolithic period and during the iron age this was the site of Rabbath Ammon, the royal ancient city of the Ammonites. The Citadel was later occupied by various empires including the Assyrians (8th century BC), Babylonians (6th century BC), the Ptolemies, the Seleucids (3rd century BC), Romans (1st century BC), Byzantines (3rd century AD) and the Umayyads (7th century AD). After the Ummayads the site was mostly abandoned until 1878. Despite this gap, the Citadel of Amman is considered to be among the world's oldest continuously inhabited sites.

Most of the buildings still visible at the site are from the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods. The Citadel is surrounded by a 1700 meter wall that dates back to the Bronze Age but was rebuilt many times over the centuries. The major buildings are the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad Palace. The Roman-built Temple of Hercules is the most famous site within the Citadel. Behind the temple lie fragments of what is believed to be a 13m high statue of Hercules including a massive carved hand.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum was built on the site in 1951 and contains a collection of artifacts from the Citadel and other Jordanian historic sites. The museum is home to the Ain Ghazal Statues which date around 600-8000 BC. These statues are some the earliest representations of the human form made by man and are made from lime plaster and reed.

The Citadel is located in downtown Amman and can be reached by a series of steps starting just across the road from the Roman Theater.

Entrance 3JD (2020)

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Qasr al-Abad

Qasr al-Abad, meaning "Palace of The Slave", is one of the few Pre-Roman structures that still exist in Jordan. Although little information is available regarding its construction it is believed to have been built by Hyrcanus, a member of a the powerful Jewish Tobiad family, between 187 and 175 BC. Although the buliding has been reconstructed it appears that it was never originally completed. The structure was built using huge blocks of stone, the largest measuring 7m by 3m. Other interesting features are the carvings of animals on the outer walls including panther fountains, a lioness with cubs and eagles at the corners (barely recognisable through erosion).

Iraq al-Amir

Iraq al-Amir, meaning "Caves of The Prince", is the name not only of the system of caves but of the village. The 11 caves are arranged in two tiers. One of the caves is lined with what appears to be seats, another has a high ceiling over what appears to be carved walls, enclosing a spacious room. While nobody permanently inhabits these caves anymore, the villagers do occasionally keep sheep or donkeys in them.

At the front of one of the caves, recognisable by its carved doorway, are some letters written in an early Hebrew script (some argue that it is Aramaic). The letters spell “Toviyah”, a Hebrew name that translates as “God is good”. This is said to support the theory that nearby Qasr al-Abad was built by the Tobiad family. Another theory is that both the caves and the palace were built by King Solomon and the carved seats found in one of the caves were for the twelve tribes of Israel.

Minibuses run from Muhajireen bus station in Amman to Wadi as-Seer. Change buses here for Iraq al-Amir. Buses between Wad as-Seer and Iraq al-Amir are irregular and infrequent. Worst case scenario is you will have to walk the 10km back to wadi as-Seer.

Entrance to Qasr al-Abad 1JD (2020)

Entrance to Iraq al-Amir caves Free (2020)

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Jerash is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. It is mentioned in the New Testament, under the name of Gerasa, as one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis (a group of cities on the eastern edge of the Roman Empire). The city became Christian during the Byzantine period, when the city had more than 20 churches. Conquests by Persians and Muslims in the 7th century, followed by devastating earthquakes in the 8th century, caused the city to be abandoned. It was rediscovered only at the beginning of the 19th century, remarkably preserved after being buried for centuries.

Outside the South Gate stands a grand triumphal arch with three openings, built to mark a visit by the Emperor Hadrian in AD 129-130. Next to this is the hippodrome, also constructed in the 2nd century. This 245m by 52m arena was used for athletics competitions and chariot races and had a seating capacity of 15,000.

Inside the city the Temple of Zeus overlooks the huge colonnaded Oval Plaza that served as Jerash's forum. Nearby is the South Theatre, seating more than 3000 spectators. The theatre is designed with acoustics in mind and the success of its design can be demonstrated by standing on the marked spot on the lower stage and speaking aloud.

The main street, the Cardo Maximus, extends for 800 metres in a northerly direction from the Oval Plaza. The road is still paved with original flagstones and the ruts carved by thousands of wheels can still be seen, as well as ancient manholes leading to the drains below.

Numerous other ruined buildings cover the site including the impressive Temple of Artemis and the North Theater, which although smaller than the southern one is also interesting with its vaulted internal corridors.

Buses to Jerash leave from Amman's north bus station, Tabarbour (1.5JD in 2020).

Entrance 10JD (2020)

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