Amman Travel Guide
Throughout history, Amman has had more name changes than Joan Collins has had husbands. The capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan since 1950, Amman has been known in history as Rabbath-Ammon and in Graeco-Roman times as Philadelphia. Also known as the 'White City', Amman was originally built on seven hills like mighty Rome and these hills still form Amman's natural focal points. One of the city's greatest assets however is that due to Jordan's modest size, Amman is little more than five hours drive from anywhere and is therefore a fantastic place to use as a base when exploring this enigmatic country. Containing approximately a third of Jordan's entire population, Amman is a thriving city with flourishing businesses, restaurants, shops, excellent hotels and museums and art galleries including the National Gallery of Fine Arts and the Popular Museum of Costume and Jewellery. This modern side to the city that caters superbly for the visiting tourist balances well with the fact that Amman is absolutely packed to the brim with history and has a fascinating array of remains from it's long and intriguing past.
Looming high above the city at the ancient Citadel atop one of the seven hills, there are ruins, remains and evidence of archaeological investigation everywhere you turn. From the elegant columns of a Roman temple to the remaining capitals of a Byzantine church, an Omayyad Palace adorned with captivating carvings and an entire range of fascinating artefacts displayed in Amman's very own Archaeological Museum. The most conspicuous remnant of the Roman age however is the magnificent Roman theatre located at the foot of the Citadel, just east of downtown. This 2nd century AD deep-sided bowl, carved - as only the Romans knew how - into the hillside, is still used to host cultural events in the city and has become one of the city's major tourist attractions. For a taster of Amman's more recent history, check out the < a href="http://metimes.com/issue99-31/reg/hijazi_railroad_rolls.htm" target="_blank">Hijaz Railway, and re-experience the very same train journey that was repeatedly sabotaged by the Arab troops of Sherif Faisal and Lawrence of Arabia to defeat the Ottomans.
Amman is a heady mix of new and old, alive with traditional Jordanian music and infused with the tastes and smells of the delicious native cuisine. Wander through the bustling shops and souks to pick up some authentic Jordanian wares or take five in one of the many coffee houses for a game of backgammon. The people of Amman are some of the friendliest in the Middle East and the streets are safer than anywhere you'd find back home.
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