Amman with kids, gateway to Jordan. Although we flew into Amman at the start of our trip, it wasn’t until our last day in the country that we got to explore the sights.
Like Rome, Amman was originally founded on seven hills, but today it spreads across twenty or more. As Middle East cities go, it is relatively young. Most of what you see today is mid-twentieth century in creation. That’s not to say that Amman is without history: Jebel al-Qala, the present site of the Citadel, is one of the oldest and most continuously inhabited parts of he city, established around 1800 BC.
EXPLORING AMMAN WITH KIDS
THE ROMAN CITY OF JERASH
The Roman City of Jerash is an easy half day trip from Amman, located just 50 kilometres to the north. It is one of the best examples of an ancient Roman city anywhere in the world and should not be missed! Well preserved remains of all the Roman structures can be seen here, including the forum, cardo maximus, hippodrome, and theatres. You enter the city through the impressive Hadrian’s Arch, as seen below.
Read all about our visit here: Exploring the Roman City of Jerash
The area known as the Citadel lies on the highest hill of Amman, aptly named Citadel Hill (Jabal Al Qala). Occupied since the Bronze age, there is plenty to see, with the highlights being The Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad Palace. The boys enjoyed pretending to have Herculean strength standing on the temple and pretending to lift heavy stones! You can imagine the grandeur of the temple when you see the giant hand of Hercules lying on them ground. The hand is all that remains of a 13m high statue of Hercules that sat within the huge Temple of Hercules.
There are tremendous views across Amman from the Citadel complex. See the impressive Amman Roman Theatre in the shot below.
Further along Citadel Hill, on the upper terrace, is the Umayyad Palace. The palace comprises of a collection of royal and residential buildings, once home to the governor of Amman. It has undergone extensive renovations since the late 1990s, some of which are quite obvious!
The Citadel ticket office is located on the road leading up to the Citadel’s entrance. Guides can be hired for JD15 per hour.
Next on our whistle-stop tour of Amman was the Roman Theatre, probably built in the 2nd century AD. This magnificently restored theatre is cut into the northern side of a hill and has a seating capacity of 6000. It was built in three tiers: the rulers sat closest to the action, the military secured the middle section, and the general public perched on the top rows. Our boys sprinted to the top row as usual! What is it about boys and climbing?
WANDER THE SOUKS
After our visit to the Roman Theatre we wandered the streets of Amman stopping at the various souks. First was the vegetable and fruit souk, with its array of Middle Eastern delights. Here we sampled Saudi dates, Iranian pistachios, Jordanian apricots and Syrian olives. Next, the hardware souk with its alluminium kettles and giant ladles. Lastly, the spice souk with its wonderful aromas. The sun was beginning to set so the souks were busy with people, mostly men. It felt very authentic with very few tourists.
We couldn’t leave Amman without trying some more of its amazing food. En-route to or hotel we stopped at two renowned eateries. Al Quds for falafel and Reem for shwarma, both eaten at the side of the road! You must try the falafel from Al Quds, the best we’ve ever had. It was then back to the hotel full of apricots, dates, sweet pastries, falafel and shwarma! What a tremendous finish to our time in Jordan.
WHERE WE STAYED IN AMMAN
We stayed at the InterContinental Jordan Hotel in Amman. This is a good quality hotel, as you’d expect, located in the old city centre.
Looking for more information on Jordan? Read these posts:
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