Under the influence of the Roman culture Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan  

Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the World. The city's modern buildings blend with the remnants of ancient civilizations. The profusion of gleaming white houses, kebab stalls with roasting meat, and tiny cafes where rich Arabian coffee is sipped in the afternoon sunshine, conjure a mood straight from a thousand and one nights.

Amman: Info Amman

Recent excavations have uncovered homes and towers believed to have been built during the Stone Age with many references to it in the Bible. Amman was known in the Old Testament as Rabbath-Ammon, the capital of the Ammonites around 1200 BC, it was also referred to as "the City of Waters".In Greco-Roman times in the 3rd century BC, the City was renamed Philadelphia (Greek for "The Brotherhood Love") after the Ptolemaic ruler Philadelphus (283-246 BC). The City later came under Seleucid as well as Nabataean rule until the Roman General Pompey annexed Syria and made Philadelphia part of the Decapolis League - a loose alliance of ten free city-states, bound by powerful commercial, political, and cultural interests under overall allegiance to Rome.
Under the influence of the Roman culture, Philadelphia was reconstructed in typically grand Roman style with colonnaded streets, baths, an Amphitheater, and impressive public buildings. During the Byzantine period, Philadelphia was the seat of a Christian Bishop, and therefore several churches were built. The city declined somewhat until the year 635 AD. As Islam spread northwards from the Arabian Peninsula, the land became part of its domain. Its original Semitic name Ammon or Amman was returned to it. Amman's modern history began in the late 19th Century, when the Ottomans resettled a colony of Circassian emigrants in 1878. As the Great Arab Revolt progressed and the State of Transjordan was established, Emir Abdullah ibn Al-Hussein founder of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan made Amman his capital in 1921. Since then, Amman has grown rapidly into a modern, thriving metropolis of well over two million people.
Amman is a relatively small city, and getting around is easy. Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions are well known and could be reached easily by either taxis, which are metered and inexpensive, or by private transportation.Amman was originally built on seven hills, called Jabals (the Arabic word for mountain), each of which more or less defines a neighborhood and gives it its name, like Jabal Amman and Jabal Al-Hussein.Many Jabals once had a circle (roundabouts), and although most of these circles are now replaced by traffic lights, bridges and/or tunnels the junctions are still known as 1st circle, 2nd circle... 8th circle. One thing to keep in mind always, if you have trouble finding your way, do not hesitate to ask a passer-by for help. Jordanians are very friendly, and most people will be delighted to help.
Towering above downtown Amman, the site of the earliest fortifications is now subject to numerous excavations which have revealed remains from the Middle Bronze Age (2nd mill. BC) and the Iron Age (8th century BC), as well as from Hellenistic (2nd century BC) and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages. In the Citadel, beside the Jordan Archaeological Museum, three important structures can be viewed: The Byzantine Church The remains of a small Byzantine Basilica. Corinthian columns mark the site, which is thought to date from the 6th or 7th century AD. Temple of Hercules About 100 meters south of the church is what is thought to have been the Temple of Hercules, today also known as the Great Temple of Amman. The temple was built in the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD).
Umayyad Palace Complex The most impressive building of the Citadel is known simply as Al-Qaser (the Palace), which dates back to the Islamic Umayyad period around 720 AD. Its exact function is unknown, but the building includes a monumental gateway, cruciform audience hall and four vaulted chambers. A colonnaded street runs through the complex and to the north and east, ruins of the palace grounds are visible. A short stroll through the throbbing streets of the heart of downtown Amman and the glittering famous gold souq is The Grand Husseini Mosque.This Ottoman style mosque was rebuilt using striking pink-and-white stone in 1924 by the late King Abdullah I on the site of an ancient mosque built originally in 640 AD by Omar ibn Al-Khattab the 2nd Caliph of Islam.. Probably also, the site of the Cathedral of Philadelphia. Located near the narrow fertile valley of Wadi Essair, a contrast to the bare, treeless plateau around Amman to the East. Iraq El-Amir (Cave of the Prince), where eleven caves are carved into the cliff face and Qaser El-Abd (Palace of the Slave) is 10 km down the valley of Wadi Essair. The hellinistic ruins of Qaser El-Abd are of an enormous palace thought to have been built by Hyrcanus of the powerful Tobiad family during the 2nd century AD. The name "Tobia" is engraved in Aramaic at the entrance and there is also a carving of a lioness sheltering a cub at the palace. A degree of mystery surrounds the reason of the construction of Qaser El-Abd that was devastated by great earthquake of 362 AD.Start your journey of discovery at the ancient Citadel, towering above the city, where Amman began, at least 5000 years ago. Pause for a moment to study the traces of Amman's many lives: the regal columns of the Roman Temple of Hercules in silhouette against the sky, the elegant capitals of the Byzantine church, and the endlessly inventive carvings in the Umayyad Palace.Take a seat in the Roman Amphitheater, a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and still used for cultural events, as is the Odeon, an intimate small theater now beautifully restored.Admire traditional costumes & crafts in Amman's well-presented museums - marvelous embroidery, and antique jewelry of gold, silver, amber and coral - and get a fascinating glimpse of Bedouin life. Move on to the works of modern Jordanian artists in one of several galleries - Jordan has a lively arts scene, with new events occurring almost daily.Allow Amman to tempt you with coffee, Arabic-style - strong, sweet and slightly scented - and delicious pastries in a typical downtown coffee house. Watch the locals playing backgammon and cards, reading the newspaper, or just gossiping. And why not try an Argeelah, the traditional Hubble-Bubble water pipe, as an accompaniment? Amman is a safe and friendly city to walk around, and a stroll is the best way to discover its hidden treasures - lovely turn-of-the-century villas in Rainbow Street, glamorous modern residences in Abdoun, hidden gardens, Amman's unassuming parks, and gaily decorated shop-fronts where colorful tiles and curving Arabic script compete with elaborate window-dressing for your attention. An imposing monument set into the side of the mountain down the hill from the Citadel and connected to it via long and deep hidden tonnel. It is the most impressive legacy of Roman Philadelphia (Amman) built under Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD). Its 33 rows once seated 5000 spectators for performances and possibly also had religious significance. It is still in regular use for theatrical and entertainment productions. The Forum was built in front of the Theater under Commodus in 189-190 AD.The Odeon Adjacent to the theater and set on the east side of the Forum is the Odeon. It dates back to the late 2nd century AD. The lower seats of this monument, which could accommodate up to 500 spectators, have been restored and it is used occasionally for concerts. Nymphaeum Roman cities always contained ornamental fountains, where water has always played such an important role, and Philadelphia was no exception. The main fountain or Nymphaeum, dedicated to the water nymphs, is close to the theater complex and dates back to 191 AD.This mosque located in El-Abdali district was completed in 1990 as a memorial to the late King Hussein's Grandfather. The beautiful and instantly recognizable Blue Dome Mosque is worth a quick look inside. Women will be asked to wear an Abaya (gown) and cover their hair.The Islamic Museum, with a collection of pottery and photographs of His Majesty King Abdullah I, is located inside the mosque.A small museum located at the Citadel that houses an excellent collection of antiquities ranging from prehistoric times to the 15th Century. Four exhibits are particularly worth viewing: - A collection of Dead Sea Scrolls found in 1952; one tells of treasure hidden on the west bank of the Jordan River. - The Neolithic limestone statues of Ain Ghazal, which are linked to advances in pro-technology. - A copy of the Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone, proudly erected by the Moabite King Mesha in 850 BC to celebrate his numerous victories over the Israelites. - Four rare Iron-Age anthropomorphic sarcophagi of striking cocoon-like design, which give an insight into ancient burial practices. Hours 9:00 - 17:00 in winter, 9:00 - 19:00 in summer, except on Fridays and official holidays 10:00 - 18:00 Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition At the other end of the Roman Amphitheater stage, this museum displays the traditional costumes of Jordan's people, including lovely embroidery and beautiful antique jewelry, as well as domestic utensils. It also houses a collection of mosaics from Madaba and other Byzantine churches in Jordan.Jordan Folklore Museum At one end of the Roman Amphitheater, this fascinating museum presents a recreation of traditional Jordanian life, including costumes, home furnishings, musical instruments and handicrafts dating back to the 19th century. See a Bedouin goat-hair tent with rug-weaving and household equipment, and replicas of typical domestic interiors. Hours 9:00 - 17:00 Museums at the University of Jordan The Universi of Jordan has several small museums of various subjects, including archaeology (excellent antiquities from the Bronze Age to the Islamic period), anthropology, folklore and medicine/biology.Hours Sun-Thu 8:00 - 17:00 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Located at Al-Muntazah in Jabal Al-Lewaibdeh. A fine collection of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics by contemporary Jordanian and Arab artists, as well as work by artists of other Muslim countries. Hours 10:00 - 13:30 and 15:00 - 18:00, closed Tuesdays Martyr's Memorial The monumental building located at Sports City houses a chronological display of military history and memorabilia since the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 to the present. Originally spread over seven hills, or jabals, the capital of the Hashemite kingdom now sprawls over 19 hills and is home to well over a million people, almost half of Jordan's population. Known as the White City, the hills are covered in a jumble of light-colored stone houses, consistently box-like in shape with flat roofs characteristic of a typical desert city. Faded minarets, pavement markets, Arabian sweet shops and the crumbling remains of ancient civilizations contrast wonderfully with the contemporary edifices, fashionable boutiques and international restaurants. Just as overwhelming is Amman's sense of history, dating back 5,500 years to its position as the ancient capital of the Ammonites, Rabbath-Ammon of the Old Testament, and later as Philadelphia, the Roman city that became part of the Decapolis. Overlooking the city from atop Jabal al-Qala'a is the Citadel, the site of the ancient Rabbath-Ammon, and at its foot lies the impressive Roman amphitheater that is the most remarkable remnant of ancient Philadelphia.Amman is one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world, and today functions as a thriving commercial and administrative center with modern facilities, historical attractions and a longstanding tradition of hospitality. It is an excellent base from which to explore the surrounds, even the rest of the country, being no more than five hours drive from anywhere, and is surprisingly agreeable for a capital city. Amman's location and altitude has a profound effect on its climate. Spring is brief, mild and lasts a little less than a month, from April to May, with rain during the morning and the afternoons. High temperatures are around 14 °C (57 °F) and lows are a little less than 7 °C (45 °F) and several times going near 0 °C (32 °F) causing several freezes. Snow has been know to fall mildly in the city during the spring, sometimes with severe storms rarely happening during the season. Amman has long summers starting from late May to early October. Summer's high temperatures range from 25 °C (77 °F) to 33 °C (91 °F), usually with very low humidity and frequent cool breezes. Most summers are rain-free with cloudless skies during the noon period. There have been several occasions when it has rained, before fog has covered the city, during the cold summer nights that the city is known for. Autumn is usually mild, and lasts from October to late November or mid-December. It can range from being very rainy and even snowy to arid dry. There have been several cases when the autumn season has instead been a continuation of summer and even brought the dusty winds that rarely if ever occur during the hottest summers - an example being the autumn of 2005, in which there was no rain whatsoever. On several other occasions, autumn combined with winter and served to create a prolonged cold winter.
The winter in Amman is long and cold, usually starting in late November and continuing to mid-April, and it sees temperatures frequently near or lower than 0 °C (32 °F), with snow usually falling a few times each year. Winter in Amman is usually one of the coldest in any major city in the extreme south-east of Europe and the surrounding countries, due to the very high elevation of the city, winters are usually rainy and many rain storms occur during the winter, with a few of them accompanied by moderate to severe lightning storms - after a rainy afternoon with temperatures around 4 °C (39 °F) the night temperatures fall below 0 °C (32 °F) freezing any rainwater that had accumulated. Sleet is very common, and dew in the dry winter mornings is usually found frozen until 10 AM. Snowy winter storms occur several times around the city, but the heavily industrialised atmosphere raises the temperature of the city by around 4 °C (39 °F) making the snow milder in the centre of the very busy downtown areas, meaning that snow accumulation in the suburbs and the surrounding areas is much greater. On average at least one severe snow storm every couple of years will accumulate up to 15 or 20 inches of snow in the busiest sections of the city.
The weather in Amman is highly unpredictable, especially in the winter: there will often be a very pleasant and sunny morning, followed by a cold, snowy or rainy afternoon, or vice versa. Temperatures are known to drop or rise suddenly. Fog can sometimes cover the entire city for days, even weeks, and lightning storms, although infrequent, can happen suddenly. The summer's pleasant temperatures can be disturbed by heatwaves that suddenly raise the city's temperatures to around 36 °C (97 °F) and in some rare but recorded cases to as high as 41 °C (106 °F) such as during the summer of 1999. A much more common weather inconvenience is the sudden drop in temperatures which occurs during many summer nights accompanied by moderate winds and in some cases smog. In 1921, Abdullah I chose Amman instead of As-Salt as seat of government for his newly-created state, the Emirate of Transjordan, and later as the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. As there was no palatial building, he started his reign from the station, with his office in a train car. Amman remained a small city until 1948,and 1967, when the population expanded considerably due to an influx of Palestinian refugees from what is now Occupied Territories. Amman has experienced exceptionally rapid development since 1952 under the leadership of two Hashemite Kings, Hussein of Jordan and Abdullah II of Jordan.
In 1970, Amman was the site of major clashes between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian army. Everything around the Royal Palace sustained heavy damage from shelling. The city's population continues to expand at a dizzying pace (fueled by refugees escaping the wartime events in the West Bank and Iraq). The city received refugees from these countries on a number of occasions. The first wave of Palestinian refugees arrived from Palestine in 1948. A second wave after the Six-Day War in 1967. A third wave of Palestinian and Jordanian and Southeast Asians, working as domestic workers, refugees arrived in Amman from Kuwait after the Gulf War of 1991. The first wave of Iraqi refugees settled in the city after the first Gulf War, with a second wave also arriving after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the last 10 years the number of new buildings within the city has increased dramatically with new districts of the city being founded at a very rapid pace (particularly so in West Amman), straining the very scarce water supplies of Jordan as a whole, and exposing Amman to the hazards of rapid expansion in the absence of careful municipal planning.
On November 9, 2005, coordinated explosions rocked three hotels in Amman, resulting in the death of 60 people and the injury of 115 others. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the act, which was carried out despite the fact that the birthplace of since-killed Al Qaeda terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is the town of Zarqa, less than 30 km (19 mi) from Amman. The sheer brutality of the attacks, which targeted, amongst other things, a wedding party being held at one of the hotels, caused widespread revulsion across the widest range of Jordanians. Large protests and vigils followed in the wake of the attacks.

Amman 60 people and the injury of 115 others