Amman is the capital of Jordan and has a population of more than four million. This city of white stone sits on a steep hill and combines modern neighborhoods with ancient souks. It is a city of contrasts, with sophisticated terrace cafes, gleaming malls, and narrow, winding alleys.
The Roman Theater, Nymphaeum, and the Temple of Hercules are all outstanding examples of Roman-era construction.
The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts and the Jordan Museum have some of the best collections in the Middle East.
The Royal Automobile Museum in King Hussein Park houses the impressive car collection of the late monarch.
Climb to the Citadel and enjoy spectacular sunsets as the muezzin call echoes across the city.
Amman has a hopping nightlife scene, perhaps only just behind Tel Aviv and Beirut in the Middle East. Modern West Amman is the place to head for clubs, bars, and cafes.
The Amman Citadel sits atop the highest hill in the city, Jebel al-Qala'a, which rises to around 2,800 feet above sea level. This is the site of the ancient settlement of Rabbath-Ammon. It has been occupied since the Bronze Age and has seen occupation by the Romans and Byzantine empire among others in its long history. Indeed, it is thought to be one of the oldest continuously settled sites in the world. The area is rich with archaeological ruins and is home to the Ummayad Palace. Dating from AD 720, it was briefly home to the rulers of Amman but was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 749. The area also holds the ruins of the Temple of Hercules and the National Archaeological Museum.
The beautifully restored Roman Amphitheatre is the most impressive reminder of the Roman city of Philadelphia, which once occupied this site. The amphitheatre sits 6,000 and still hosts concerts today. It's cut into an adjacent hillside and dates from the second century AD. It also offers some of the best views of the city, especially early in the morning. Check if there is a performance during your visit -- it's an unforgettable experience.
The Temple of Hercules dates from around 160 AD during the reign of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Today, all that remains are two huge stone pillars, which were re-erected in 1993, topped by part of the podium. There is also a huge marble hand, which is thought to been part of a destroyed statue of Hercules. The temple can be seen from all over the city and it is particularly atmospheric when visited at sunset as the locals are called to prayer in the city below. It's a great time for a photograph or just to admire the view.
The Jordan Archaeological Museum is located on the Amman Citadel. It contains exhibits from prehistoric times all the way through to the 15th century. The exhibits are arranged chronologically, which makes it easy to understand the history in front of you. The collections include everyday domestic objects such as pottery along with jewelry and coins. A visit to the museum is a great way to learn about the fabulous ruins that surround you on the Citadel.
The Royal Automobile Museum in King Hussein Park is a rather unusual attraction in Amman. It houses the private vehicle collection of the late King Hussein and commemorates his love of automobiles. The collection includes cars and motorcycles dating from the very earliest cars of 1886 up to the 1940s. There are some rare and unusual cars and the collection is a real treat for car lovers and those who want a peek into how the royal family lived and traveled. The exhibits are accompanied by lots of fascinating information, including the stories behind each of the vehicles.
Amman can get hot in summer and cold in winter. March through May is warm and benefits from lush vegetation and blooming wildflowers.
The city is served by Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), which has many international and regional connections. A taxi into the city center will cost around JOD20, and the bus is JOD3.25.
Jordan is a compact country with a good road network. Route 65 runs north to south through the city and routes 10 and 30 connect Amman with east and west. Road signs are in both Arabic and Roman script.
Amman's two main bus stations are Tabarbour and JETT. Buses from the Israeli border arrive here, taking an hour and costing JOD7.5. A bus from Petra costs JOD9.5.
The Sydney Hotel on Sha'aban offers good basic accommodation in a central location. If you're looking for a luxury stay, the Four Seasons Amman is one the the city's best options.
Al Balad - Al Balad is Amman's old town, with a maze of narrow streets and markets selling spice and clothing. It is also home to the Roman Theater and Citadel.
Abdali - this district has been developed into a modern center of restaurants, hotels, offices, and shops.
Sweifieh - Sweifieh is centered on Wakalat Street, a pedestrianized street with shops like Gap and Zara. The cobblestone street of Shari Al-Rainbow is also nearby, with lots of cafes and sheesha tea shops.
Amman has a good, safe bus network, with a single fare costing JOD0.35.
Yellow taxis are plentiful, cheap, and reliable. The starting fare is JOD0.25 and you will then pay JOD0.6 per mile.
Driving in Amman can be a little frantic, with lots of car horns sounding and a lack of lane markings. Car rental is available from Budget and Sixt, and prices start at JOD20 per day.
Abdali Boulevard is a modern street with lots of fashion shopping and Wakalat Street is a good pedestrian shopping street with international brand shops.
A quart of milk in Amman costs JOD1.20 and a loaf of bread is JOD0.26.
Hashem in the downtown area is favored by the royal family and offers falafel, fuul, and humus dishes from JOD1.50. Levant in Jabal Amman serves gourmet Arabic dishes from JOD10.