Tom goes to Amman Travel blog to jordan, amman

2016 Trip to Amman, Jordan

Location of Amman, Jordan, in Africa
One of Jordan's numerous villages

Amman, the capital of Jordan, isn't a common holiday destination. Located above of where Africa joins with Southern Europe and South-West Asia, I visited as I was looking for somewhere original to stay. 1,680 km squared, Amman is no small city. Roughly 70% of Jordan's 6 million person population reside in the capital city, whilst the rest of the 2 million people are spread out through cities and villages around the country.

TRAVEL

Most flights to Jordan are relatively cheap, when you consider that Jordan is in the Middle East. A return flight will normally cost no less than 4,755 kr, which is still a reasonable price when you take into account the destination. The most expensive flights are around 7,000 kr, but these are if you are booking last minute.

Travel inside the city is also fairly reasonable. Taxi fares cost roughly 6 kr per km, and as most of the main attractions in Jordan are close by to each other in the center of the city, you shouldn't be spending more than 60 kr for inter-city travel. This means you can have great days out in the city, without spending too much money on moving around. The taxi fares also fit the low expense theme of the city, as there are fabulous places to go and eat for very little money at all.

Queen Alia International Airport

Cafes/Restaurants

There are many cafes scattered around Amman, meaning lots of choice depending on where and what you want to eat. For instance, Caffè Strada is situated near the very middle of Amman, with great views of the classically built city streets from the large glass window in the front of the shop. The staff here are excellent, and the location means you can stop by midway through a day of sightseeing. They serve croissants, desserts, and have coffee and tea as drinks. Their menu also includes lunch items like salads, sandwiches and soups. Their food is also fairly cheap, with a regular cup of coffee costing just over $2.50, or 1.77 Jordanian Dinar.

Another popular cafe is the Cafe Hanin, which serves traditional and local food. It has been praised for its great atmosphere, and the fact that the waiters speak English well. It also plays local music, that adds to the atmosphere. It is a great place for stopping after a day out touring the city, even if it is slightly further away from the city center. Here, an average cup of coffee will cost $2.70 or 1.92 Jordanian Dinar. Their menu is slightly more expensive than other Cafes in the city, but the prompt delivery of the food easily makes up for this.

Jordanian foods are mainly made curries, but dough-based recipes also feature heavily in their food culture. Most foods also include vegetables as a main ingredient, making Amman a city with eating options that suit vegetarians.

Amman Rassoun

HISTORY

In the first few centuries after the supposed death of Christ, Amman was traded between Greek and Roman empires. Due to the constant change of rulers, their current historical attractions are a mix of Roman and Greek creation.

Antoninus Pius ascended the Greek throne and became emperor in 138 AD. Throughout the middle of his reign, his empire included the parts of North-East African and South-West Asian that met with South-East Europe. This included ancient Amman. At first, Jordan belonged to the Roman empire, after they conquered the surrounding area in 63 AD. Emperor Pius took control of the area just over a century later

Antoninus Pius' Greek Empire

Included in this Empire was the whole of Jordan, where Antoninus erected a large Roman Theater, which had a seating capacity of 6,000 people. The stadium still stands today.

Roman Theater

Another similar, smaller theater is situated close-by, namely the Odeon, but its 500 man capacity meant it was left out and wholly ignored by the inhabitants at the time. The Roman Theater is easily more enjoyable to visit, mainly because of its size and grandeur.

The Odeon

Another historical site located in Amman is the ancient Greek Citadel. Two huge pillars are the largest parts of what is still left of the Greek's temple of Hercules. The Citadel was built as homage to one of Greek Mythology's most famous characters. The Citadel stands on the tallest hill in the area, some 850m above sea level.

The Citadels main pillars

The actual date of the creation of the statue is unknown, but we know that the ginormous temple was made slightly before the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius' reign of 161-180 AD. The temple was created some time after the Greek emperor Antoninus Pius died, but before the Romans invaded North Jordan. This is when they built the temple, dedicated to the demigod Hercules. The Citadel is encircled in a 1.7 km wall, which has been around for nearly 2000 years.

For around 500 years, nothing really happened to Amman. It is presumed that the Roman's left after the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, but nothing is truly known for sure, until roughly 600 AD, when the Byzantine empire conquered Amman. For the next century, various Islamic groups fought for control of Amman, until a large earthquake in 747 AD made the city uninhabitable. However, sometime between 800 AD and 900 AD people began to return to the city. Amman then became a peaceful city for roughly a century, before medieval groups sought to control it. In the end, it was controlled by the Mamluk Sultanate for a short time before Emir Sirghitmish bought the entire of Amman. His family inherited it for a few generations, before it became a city of rubble from the end of the 1400's to the year 1878.

It was then inhabited by a collection of Circassians, who fled back to their homeland Syria as per the request of their Sultan. After this time the Ottoman Turks took control of Jordan, among other Middle Eastern countries, and ruled it as a modern government. Afterwards, in 1918, the British forces sought to control Amman due to its strategic location in the First World War. After a second battle on the Hejaz Railway, the British gained control, but the Ottoman Turks held political power. It remained this way until 1946, wherein Jordan gained it's independence through the Arab Revolt, and Amman was made the capital of the newly freed country.

Soldiers in the revolt, carrying the flag of Jordan

Sight Seeing

Apart from the two aforementioned historical attractions, there are various things to see and do during your time in Amman. For example;

The Jordan Museum

Both Amman and Jordan's biggest museum, The Jordan Museum offers a splendid look into the history and origin of Jordan throughout the ages. The museum focuses on the development on the Arabic language and the Nabatean peoples who originated from North Arabia. The museum has information boards written in impeccable English, which are a great addition to this attraction. During my visit to the museum , I was particularly impressed with both the structural layout of the museum and the beautiful architecture of the building. It is also located next to the city hall, which is also an impressive building. A few of the museum's attractions include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest-known human statues of Ain Ghazal, and ancient remains from the Jordanian city of Petra.

1. Amman Museum 2. Dead Sea Scrolls 3. Ain Ghazal's statues

THE ROYAL AUTOMOBILE MUSUEM

The current King of Jordan, King Abdullah II, requested that a museum was built to celebrate his father's love of cars, after he died of Lymphoma in 1999. The museum was built in 2003. The museum features famous cars, such as the Hussein's personal Rolls Royce, which would ferry him around when he visited Jordanian tribes. Another famous car featured in the museum is the Rover used in filming of the 2015 movie The Martian, as a few of the Mars scenes were filmed in Jordan. The museum also hosts a variety of cars, ranging from Ferrari's to Yamaha Motorcycles.

1. Mars Rover 2. Ferrari inside the museum 3. Outside of the museum

ACCOMODATION

The Royal Hotel, Amman

Prices for accommodation in Jordan can range from mediocre to extremely cheap. All high quality hotels, regardless of location, cost under 10,000 kr. The cheapest hotel in the capital will cost no more than 500 kr for a week's stay. With this wide variety of prices, you shouldn't struggle to find somewhere to stay that fits your price bracket. The cheap prices for cosy apartments around the city mean that you can extend your stay past the average 3 to 4 days to at least a week, which means more time in this picturesque city.

Luxus Apartments

During my stay I payed just under 10,000 for a high quality apartment that was situated in a beautiful part of Amman. It was also out of the main clustered area where most tourists tend to stay, meaning traffic whilst driving to and from attractions is minimal. The apartments are located 5 km away from Al Khaldi Hospital, should any accidents arise. On top of this, it has a great view of the mountains on the horizon, again thanks to its marvelous location. This exquisite hotel also has a fully equipped kitchen, free parking in a underground garage area, as well as a flat-screen TV, a bathroom will all the necessities included and, to top it all off, staff that speak English, German and Arabic.

1. View from Apartment 2. The outside of the Apartment

Sun Rise Hotel

If however the accommodation above is too pricey for you, you could go for something more affordable, such as the Sun Rise Hotel. For 8 nights renting a room in this hotel will cost just 38.67 Jordanian Dinars, or $54.53.

The Sun Rise Hotel

Just a short drive to the Jordan Museum, its location is perfect for days out in the center of Jordan's Capital. It also features free on-site parking, and the family who owns the guesthouse are quite hospitable and always happy to help. This cheap hotel also has an on-site restaurant, perfect for a late night local meal, when restaurants outside of the hotel seem too far away.

Deluxe Furnished Apartment

But if you prefer a larger place to lodge, that's more middle ground for price, perhaps you should consider something similar to the aptly named Deluxe Furnished Apartment.

1. Apartment from outside 2. Cosy interior

Situated slightly further away from the center of Amman, this cosy apartment allows quick navigation of the city, as the hotel is located by the main road that runs through Amman. It also features all the basics for a homely stay, with a kitchen, washing machine and free WiFi. It also has rooms perfect for families, making it great for anyone wishing to stay in the local area.

Le Royal Residence Amman

If, however, you want to go all out and spend 2193.46 Jordanian Dinars or $3093.08 for eight nights in an apartment that features a fully functional kitchen and bathroom, a patio, sun terrace, terrace and garden, then fear not, as Le Royal Residence Amman is for you.

Le Royal Residence Amman's tiled floor bathroom

Located only 600 meters away from the nearby Amman Mall, this expensive detached house is located next to the more modern side of Amman, as it neighbors two malls, a cinema and even the local University. The price of the house is worth it though, as it features tiled marble floors, a flat screen TV, staff that speak French, English and Arabic, and a mosquito net to guard you as you sleep. Combined with the ease of access for disabled people, this apartment has something for everyone.

Conclusion

Overall, Amman is a great place for anyone to stay. It has a rich history, and interesting attractions perfect for both families or anyone looking for a beautiful and interesting holiday, at an often neglected and forgotten destination. It has a diverse variety of landscape in the capital alone, with museums dotting the center, and mountains further on the horizon. All in all, Amman is perfect for anybody with any interests of a far-flung, yet enjoyable, holiday destination.

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