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Mesmerising Amman!!


Tripoto.com
Duration: 3 Days
Expenditure 90000

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.

Photos of Ayn Ghazal, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 1/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Ayn Ghazal, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 2/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan

The word Amman has its origin in the name Ammon which was a city that belonged to the Iron Age. Located to the east of the river Jordan, this land was ruled by the Kingdom of Ammon in the 10th century. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern Amman, Jordan's capital. Milcom and Molech (who may be one and the same) are named in the Hebrew Bible as the gods of Ammon. The people of this kingdom are called "Children of Ammon" or "Ammonites".

AMMAN CITADEL

The 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.

Photos of Amman Citadel, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 1/1 by Maithili Madhusudanan

Jabal al-Qal’a

The citadel is also known as Jabal al-Qal’a meaning the hill of the citadel. The Amman Citadel has been continuously inhabited since Neolithic period i.e. somewhere between 10,000 to 2,000 BCE. It was fortified during the Bronze age i.e sometime around 1800 BCE. It has been known by names like Rabath Amman and Philadelphia. Today, Amman Citadel is like an open-air museum, within the fortified walls. But the civilizations have lived both inside and outside these walls for time immemorial.

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.

Photos of Jabal Al Qala'a, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 1/5 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Jabal Al Qala'a, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 2/5 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Jabal Al Qala'a, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 3/5 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Jabal Al Qala'a, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 4/5 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Jabal Al Qala'a, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 5/5 by Maithili Madhusudanan


Early Bronze Age Cave

Within the citadel fortress is an ancient cave dating back to 2250 BCE. It is the oldest part of the citadel and is said to be a tomb cave since 23rd BCE. Although it appears like an ordinary cavity in the hill form the outside, you can reflect upon the whys and hows of human existence only on entering the cave. This rock cut cave was a community burial place in Bronze Age. And has been re-used many times for the same purpose in later periods. During the Umayyad period, the stone cutters who were working on building the grand palace used it.

Photos of  1/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of  2/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan

Temple of Hercules from the Roman Era

The tall pillars of Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel make their presence felt from a distance. An inscription here dates this temple to around 160 CE. There are 6 pillars, each of them 33 feet tall that probably belongs to temple portico. Experts believe that this temple was probably never completed but when completed it was meant to be seen even from the lower town.

Photos of  1/1 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Temple of Hercules, Museum Street, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 1/3 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Temple of Hercules, Museum Street, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 2/3 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Temple of Hercules, Museum Street, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 3/3 by Maithili Madhusudanan

The most famous part of this temple is a hand made in stone that supposedly belonged to the statue of Hercules. The trick is that most stylized photographs of this hand make it look bigger than it is. It is because of this hand and the minted coins found from here that archaeologists could establish that this was supposed to be a temple dedicated to Hercules. The statue is said to be 13 meters high, which was colossal in those times and literally reflected the strength of the Hercules!

Photos of  1/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of  2/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan

Byzantine Church

The 6th CE church has only a floor plan and some Corinthian pillars left here. It apparently had a mosaic floor according to an inscription, but none of that can be seen here. All you see is a long nave like structure with a semicircular end. I assume this may have been an important structure of its time.

Photos of  1/1 by Maithili Madhusudanan

Umayyad Palace

The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. This caliphate was centred on the Umayyad dynasty, hailing from Mecca. The Umayyad family had first come to power under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, but the Umayyad regime was founded by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in AD 661. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital.

Photos of  1/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of  2/2 by Maithili Madhusudanan

The Umayyad Palace is a large palatial complex from the Umayyad period, located on the Citadel Hill. Built during the first half of the 8th century, it is now largely ruined, with a restored domed entrance chamber, known as the "kiosk" or "monumental gateway".

Photos of Umayyad Palace, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 1/4 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Umayyad Palace, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 2/4 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Umayyad Palace, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 3/4 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of Umayyad Palace, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan 4/4 by Maithili Madhusudanan

Al-Qasr was a palace built during the early Islamic period i.e. late 7th to early 8th CE. This was probably built upon an existing Greek palace. But what remains today was probably the waiting area for the guests of the palace. It has the massive arched gateway with an interesting wooden ceiling covering the inside part of the dome. This is still in the process of restoration. Located next to it is a Hamman or a Bath that has a series of cold, warm and hot chambers.

The Jordan Archeological Museum

This museum within the walls of Amman Citadel was set up in 1951 to showcase the antiquities found here. It is a small museum but its richness lies in some of the oldest known sculpted statues known to mankind. The museum houses antique items like pottery pieces, stone tools and other things used by man in good old days. This museum used to have the famous Dead Sea Scrolls that were found near the Dead Sea and have been dated back to 400-300 BCE.

Photos of  1/3 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of  2/3 by Maithili Madhusudanan
Photos of  3/3 by Maithili Madhusudanan

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