Jordan Cities: Amman

Jordan Cities: Amman Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

Known as Rabbath Ammon in biblical times and as Philadelphia when it was part of the Roman Empire, Amman is now a thriving, modern city. It was originally built on a group of seven hills, but is now spread over a wider area of hilly terrain.

Citadel Hill affords a wonderful view across the Old City, with its Roman amphitheatre in the valley below and the beautiful black and white Abu Darwish mosque on the far horizon at the top of Jebel Ashrafiah. Citadel Hill itself is the site of the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the remains of Roman walls and an Arab castle, which dates from the Omayyad dynasty of the 7th century. Also on Citadel Hill is the Archaeological Museum, housing antiquities which date from prehistoric times, right through to the 15th century.

The Roman amphitheatre, which once seated 6,000, is an impressive sight. The theatre has a museum on each side; the Museum of Popular Tradition and the Folklore Museum.

On the summit of a pine-forested hill and approached by a steep incline, stands the Martyrs' Memorial. This is a truncated pyramid structure of white stone covering reinforced concrete. Near the top a band of basalt can be seen, bearing verses from the Holy Q'ran. The Memorial is a tribute to Jordan's armed forces and those who gave their lives in the service of the Kingdom.

Stamp collectors will enjoy the Philatelic Museum near the main post office on Jebel Weibdeh and for numismatists there is a good collection of Islamic coins on display at the Central Bank.

The Jordan National Gallery houses 1,000 pieces of Islamic art collected from prominent Arab and Islamic artists throughout the region. The art is mostly modern in style and focuses on canvas, water colour, ceramics, graphics and sculptures of this century. Many other private, or semi-private art galleries abound in Amman and further information about these is available from hotels and tourist bureaux.

In Amman's suburbs the Museum of Archaeology at the University of Jordan will be of interest to all who seek to enjoy Jordan's many archaeological treasures.

Many 5-star and 4-star hotels are conveniently situated throughout Amman, and lower-priced accommodation is also readily available. There is also a full range of restaurants, sports and leisure facilities.

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