"Amman" Top 5 Page for this destination Amman by TheWanderingCamel
Amman Travel Guide: 737 reviews and 1,554 photos
Amman, the "cultural capital of the Middle East" is also the capital of Jordan. It is a modern city, more cosmopolitan/westernized than the other capital cities of the Middle East and is noticeably cleaner and generally more efficient than the others.
It has turned into something of a refuge for people having trouble in their own countries: the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Kuwaitis and the Iraqis all headed straight for Jordan and all are accepted there, provided of course that they stay out of trouble and too much political activity.
There is a large conference centre and Amman is becoming known as a centre for regional and indeed international conferences, surely at least in part because of its excellent communications with other cities in the Middle East. Air connections are good to most of the large cities in the region, and its bus network in Jordan is excellent. There are also bus connections to many other Middle Eastern countries - although the times taken are such that people who can prefer to go by air. There are a great many four, five and even six star hotels. Telephone connections are usually very good indeed - don't let's mention the Internet!
Amman is a honeycomb of underpasses, overpasses and bypasses, that locals and taxi drivers zip through with assurance, getting from one side of the sprawling city in a surprisingly short time. For tourists this can turn into something like a nightmare, and if you are brave enough to try, be sure to arm yourself with a good up to date map. Better still - take a taxi! On the whole, and with the inevitable exceptions, a Jordanian driver will be honest.
There is also a good network of local and city buses and service taxis if you are confident enough to try them. These are very cheap indeed - but even a taxi ride cannot usually be considered expensive.
It is noteworthy that residents of Amman all seem to love the city and enjoy their life there. "It's so friendly, there's always something going on, somewhere to go." Unfortunately this network seldom extends to casual visitors. There is no "old town" in Amman and there is little for tourists to do there unless they can take the time to stroll among the shops in the downtown, or to sit on the Citadel and listen to the azan at sunset. The Roman theatre is much restored, although the municipality often organises different entertainments here and it is a pleasant place to sit to watch the people go by. This can be a more interesting entertainment than that offered in the arena. There is also a Folk Museum in downtown Amman.
While I am talking about Amman, a quick note on the huge supermarket on Shmeisani, "Safeway". While it sells just about everything, including many things that we might consider essentials but which can be difficult to find elsewhere (tampons... ), and it is easy and pleasant to shop there (they accept most credit cards), many of its prices are noticeably higher than what you can find if you look around in the smaller shops. We are accustomed to supposing that a supermarket is cheaper than the neighbourhood shops - not this time. I just thought that I would mention it!
I really like Amman.
Whilst the city we see may not be very old, on the hill of the citadel there is evidence of the history of the city that was Greek Philadelphia. The Archaeological museum is small but has some fabulous stuff in it. Steep flights of stairs will bring you to the Roman theatre and the surrounding buldings, more small museums with interesting displays of mosaics, jewellery and costume.
A walk around the city brings you to mosques and a surprising variety and number of churches, souks and shops, and walking through the streets reveals a busy city where the modern and the traditional exist side by side.
A short taxi ride to Rainbow Street will deliver you to some of the best shopping in Jordan -the Jordan River Foundation shop with a wealth of beautiful handicraft in both traditional and contemporary styles -and the shop at the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature ( a stunning building with a good cafe and a spectacular view of the city -worth a visit for its own sake) where you will find a wide range of well-craftedand interesting items made by the people who live and work within the nature reserves maintained by the RSCN.
Amman also serves as a good base from which to visit places in northern Jordan -the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley, Umm Qais and Pella, Madaba, the Desert Castles , etc are all within easy reach of the city for a day's excursion.
Staying here, using it as a base from which to explore further afield but taking time to explore the city itself will reveal a city of considerable charm and atmosphere.
In addition to the advice you get from VT, I recommend purchasing the Rough Guide to Jordan by Matthew Teller It is full of informative advice and extremely helpful.
These reviews and photos of Amman were posted here by both lulu and leyle. Please see our Homepage re photo use.
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