The plan for these trips always includes getting an early start. And, if an early start is hitting the streets at 11am, then I’ve never failed in my planning. So it is today when, after a restless night for myself (and a sound sleep for the still tired Amanda), we finally manage to get out the door. The Palace Hotel, decent but strictly a budget joint, can at least boast of a favorable location for seeing the sites of Amman on foot. Just like last night, when we happened upon the Roman Theatre only a few blocks away, this morning we find ourselves only a 10 minute walk (according to the receptionist) from the Citadel, an ancient site perched on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel al-Qala’a.
A 20 minute (in actuality) walk later, and we’re staring at the Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules, just up the hill from the entrance (2 JD). With only a few columns still standing, this ruin inspires little more than the urge to take a few quick snapshots before moving on, probably to the nearby edge of the hill where a full view of the city lies before you. In fact, the whole outer edge of the Citadel is accessible and great for viewing surrounding Amman. The 8th century AD Umayyad Palace ruins are the most impressive the Citadel has to offer. Essentially a royal and administrative complex, the ruins are dominated by the domed Audience Hall which greeted visitors to the palace during its heyday.
We wrapped up our Citadel visit at the National Archaeological Museum, just across from the Temple of Hercules. With artifacts dating from the Bronze Age, this museum provides a great foundation for understanding the people and history of Jordan. A new museum to replace this one is planned for a location in west Amman, but further details eluded me.
After a quick kebob lunch, we headed back to the Roman Theatre (1 JD). Well preserved, and quite large, this imposing theatre is considered the most impressive ruin in Amman (and we both agree). Serving as a great backdrop to take pictures of your friends, or just to people-watch, we spent a good 1 ½ hours here soaking in the rays, visiting the folklore and popular traditions museums, and exploring the very cool Odeon situated just beyond the larger theatre. Sure to impress, and only mildly commercialized, the Roman Theatre is a must-see for any visitor to Amman.
Copyright ©2008 eric flohr