Compared to many other locales in the Middle East, Amman is still relatively young. Despite its relative lack of history and architecture there is still plenty to see and do and enjoy before you make your way to other more popular destinations like Petra or the Dead Sea.
Divided between the old and new city Amman has the potential to provide the intrepid traveller with a real taste of the Middle East.
Things to do
At the centre of downtown Amman is the Citadel. Archaeologists have been working here since it first attracted attention in the early 20th century. The two imposing pillars you will find on postcards and in pictures online are all that remain of a Roman Temple of Hercules.
With a dedicated team of conservationists, the ruins have been kept in remarkable condition and for as little as two Jordanian Dinar you can experience them for yourself. There are multilingual guides available on-site but these will understandably cost a little more.
Those with a keen eye for a bargain will want to make a visit to the delightful Beit Shocair, a large villa on one of Amman’s oldest streets, which provides space for artists and artisans to present their wares to the public. You can expect to find remarkable hand-made trinkets and more substantial pieces of work. There is also a roof-top restaurant to visit if all the shopping makes you a little peckish.
The Roman Amphitheatre in the middle of Amman is arguably one of the best preserved in the world. With a seating capacity of 6000 people the views from the top-tier are famous for photographers looking to catch a snap of the sunset over Amman.
Constructed as early as the second century AD during the reign of Antoninus Pius the theatre was restored in the latter half of the 20th century.
If you’re visiting between June and August be sure to check at the tourist office if there are any productions on. That’s right – it is still being used to this day.
You may care to enjoy tasty, locally grown coffee, just outside the amphitheatre where you will also find relatively inexpensive guides to tell you a little more about the place and perhaps even take a few photos of you and your loved ones at this historic site.
It may come as a surprise to some visitors that Amman is home to one of the most impressive automobile collections anywhere in the world. Situated just outside Hussain Park on the western edge of the city the Royal Automobile Museum is a must-see for all car enthusiasts or not.
The collection belongs to the Jordanian royal family and has been accumulated over the course of many years. The variety is quite astounding from ‘Popemobile’ used by the Pope during his visit to Jordan through to some of the earliest (and strangest) cars in the world. Unlike many museums in this part of the world it has plenty of clear information on each exhibition.
Our Top Tips
• Visit the Citadel. Located in the center of downtown Amman you’ll find the ancient ruins of the Citadel.
• Enjoy an Arabian Horseback Riding. Arabian horses have a reputation for being some of the most good-natured of all breeds.
• Visit a Spice Shop. There are countless spices, nuts and other goodies.
• Visit the Royal Automobile Museum. It showcases the private collection of cars and motorcycles of the late King Hussein.
• Relax at a Turkish bath. After a hot Jacuzzi, warm and cold saunas and a full body scrub, you leave feeling fresher and softer than a baby’s bum.