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Visitor Attractions in Amman City


Visitors: 200

Jordan’s capital city and commercial, cultural and political centre is Amman, a city with an ancient heart and still-expanding modern districts radiating out from its centre. A large and prosperous settlement on the vital trade routes between North Africa and the Mediterranean empires for over a millennia, its was destroyed during the Byzantine era by natural disasters including earthquakes and remained a village set in the middle of historic ruins until the railway arrived in the late 19th century. Nowadays, it’s a hub for Palestinian immigrants and its making itself felt on the international tourist trail.

This westernised, cosmopolitan city is the safest for visitors in the Arab world, with its multi-ethnic population proud of its heritage and development as a modern urban environment and happy to welcome visitors from all nationalities. Tourism facilities are well-developed and sophisticated, including upscale luxury hotels in Amman City Centre , great shopping facilites and a good selection of bars, cafes and nightlife options. Budget lodgings are also easily found and are clean and comfortable.

Jordan as a whole and Amman in particular has a far less restrictive and more relaxed regime than the rest of the Gulf states, bringing many Arab tourists to its shores as a result, with western visitors arriving in increasing numbers either for a short break in the historic city or using it as a base for touring the small country with its Crusader castles, Roman remains and the spectacular Nabataean city of Petra, set to the south of the capital. Eating out here is a joy, with the many international outlets as well as traditional Arab eateries supplemented by western and North African-style fast food joints.

Most of the historic landmarks here are found in the Old City, Jabal Amman, set on the hillside overlooking the town and home to markets, tiny shops, mosques, churches and Citadel Hill, the site of the 2,000-year old Roman amphitheatre and forum. At the northern and southern ends of the hill, excavations have revealed remnants and artefacts of a 12,000-year old Neolithic settlement, reinforcing Amman’s place as one of the oldest continually inhabited towns on the planet.

Also on Citadel Hill are the spectacular ruins of the Roman Temple of Hercules, built almost 2,000 years ago in the style of the famous Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the smaller domed Ummayed Palace. The amphitheatre, carved from the rocky hillside by order of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, is still in use as a venue for sporting events and cultural festivals. Below the hill is Amman’s souk, a traditional Arab market stretching over a good few areas and offering everything from rugs and carpets to jewellery, gold, leather goods, local arts and crafts, antiques, fashion items, souvenirs, spices and decorative objects for the home.

A unique aspect of Amman is the high number of refugee writers, artists and musicians, drawn here to avoid the restrictive regimes in other parts of Northern Africa and Gulf States. Diverse religious sects have also found homes here, adding to the fascinating cultural, architectural and cosmopolitan diversity across the city. Shopping here is great fun, whether in the souk, where bargaining forms an essential part of any purchase, or in the ultra-modern malls and shopping streets of the commercial shopping centre.

A new shopping and tourism district is being constructed, called New Abdani, with a wide pedestrianised boulevard containing residential high-rises, shops, restaurants and entertainment hubs, although it’s not certain when it will be completed. For visitors wishing to tour Petra, many travel offices in the city offer a day’s excursion to the amazing citadel, famous for its appearances in many Hollywood blockbusters.

Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Hotels in Amman City Centre content.


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