Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley.In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city's much older past.Due to the city's modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan's population is concentrated in the Amman area. The Jordan Archaeological Museum is located in the Amman Citadel of Amman, Jordan. Built in 1951, it presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century
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AMMAN CITADELThe first of a plethora of sites I visited in Jordan. Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer timeline I was to witness, walking through this archeological wonder. We set off from along the busy streets of Amman winding our way up to the highest hill of Jebel al- Qala’a.Guarded by two lone military officials, the site, thankfully, wasn’t crowded. Walking in, we stopped at the first look out point and were treated to a fantastic view of the city from above. Amman Citadel is one of those places in the world that no era of history has left untouched. There is something about places that have been inhabited for a long time that attracts me to them. Unfortunately, Amman citadel is no longer a living space. Standing on one of the 7 hills that form the city of Amman in Jordan, this citadel tells its own story. The story of all those who created it, who conquered it and those who abandoned it. Let me walk you through some of the timestamps that can be seen at Amman Citadel.
Memorial Church of Moses
Mount Nebo is an elevated ridge in Jordan, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land. The Dead Sea, West Bank of Jerico, Jordan River Valley and Jerusulam is visible on a clear day, and the day I visited was no less than that.
Mt Nebo Memorial
After a visit to the Jordan River, which is now a small brackish, brown pool since along with Israel and Syria, Jordan itself has diverted its waters for irrigation. Walking through the extremely dry and barren land, twisting and turning through a wild landscape populated only by Bedouins and with no signs of water whatsoever and very little vegetation, we moved on to the famous Mount Nebo (3300 feet above sea level). There are magnificent views of the Jordan Valley below, from the Dead Sea to the West Bank and beyond. This is the place where Moses saw the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness and died at the grand old age of 120. No one knows the exact location of his burial, but the Memorial Church of Moses, currently under reconstruction, claims to be the burial site. Pope John Paul II visited it during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000 and planted an olive tree next to the Byzantine chapel as a symbol of peace. Deigned by the Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni, a serpentine cross sculpture has been erected on top of Mount Nebo. It symbolises the serpent held high by Moses and the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
Queen Alia International Airport
We landed at Amman airport around 11 am and had our driver (booked from our hotel in petra) waiting for us, all set to launch our Jordanian adventure.We had chosen to head towards Petra directly from the airport , via the "kings highway". That means we will be covering attractions in the central part of the coutry ( which I will talk about in a bit ) during the day and will be reaching Petra, just in time for "Petra by night".Our plan did work ( well almost) but it came at a pretty high price ( paid 110 JD for the taxi). The price was initially negotiated as 90 but the driver some how tricked us in paying extra ( let's skip that part I guess )
Petra, the fabulous Jordan location, is an awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping experience by day. But to get a mysterious experience, take the Petra by Night tour. It is held on a handful of nights every week. A fascinating storyteller will bring to life historic tales as you walk along paths lit by candles.
St George's Greek Orthodox Church
It dates from the sixth century and besides the aesthetic purpose, it was probably intended to help pilgrims find their way from one holy site to another. St George's Church is, of course, a modern church, and the original Byzantine building was much larger. This mosaic must have taken years to make. With two million pieces of coloured stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns in Palestine and the Nile Delta. The mosaic contains the earliest extant representation of Byzantine Jerusalem, labelled the "Holy City." The map provides important details about its 6th-century landmarks, where the central colonnaded street, and the church of the Holy Sepulchre are clearly visible. This map is one key element in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in 70 AD.The mosaic artist conceived and carried out his masterwork with great topographical skill and biblical knowledge. The Madaba Mosaic map is deemed by some scholars to be the best topographic representation done before modern cartography. As a source of biblical topography the map is fully comparable with the well-known treatise on the biblical places written in Greek about 395 A.D. by the historian Eusebius of Caesarea and translated into Latin by Jerome about 490 A.D.
Jabal Al Qala'a
Decorative stones excavated from the site welcome you at the entrance as if preparing you for stepping into another era. Three milestones like stone markers introduce you to the three major eras that this citadel has seen – as Rabath Amman, Philadelphia and finally as Amman. Remember the fortification walls of this citadel have been built and re-built by rulers of each period. As they found necessary for the defense of the place.
The capital city of Jordan is situated to close to the western border. It is said that some of the earliest inhabitants of this city were from the Neolithic age (roughly 7250BC). The archeological site at Ayn ghazal is proof of the earliest settlements in this area. Statues from this site have been excavated and transported to some of the world's famous museums like the Louvre in Paris.