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Your guide to Amman
All About Amman
Located in northwestern Jordan near the Israeli border, the capital city of Amman sits on the hills between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley. Amman is a city full of contrasts, with modern skyscrapers and trendy art galleries mixing with ruins dating back thousands of years, including a restored Roman theater and the Citadel, a historical site that’s been occupied since the Bronze Age. From high above the city on Citadel Hill, you can look out over a maze of souks and markets mingling with gleaming shopping malls and high-rise office buildings. On street level, you’ll find upscale restaurants rubbing elbows with traditional coffee shops and rug dealers.
Amman also makes an excellent base for exploring places in northern Jordan. Just outside of the city, a string of ancient desert castles known as the Desert Castle Loop makes for a fascinating day trip. The most famous of these castles are the seventh-century Al-Mshatta Castle and the Al-Harrana Castle.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Amman
Due to its high elevation, Amman is a little cooler than other cities in the region, making it a great place to visit any time of the year. During the summer, you will have the hottest weather, which may not be ideal if you want to explore the valleys, but it is pleasant if you are just planning on staying in Amman. Spring and summer experience moderate weather that is perfect for hiking. Winter can get a bit chilly, but this is a great time to visit nearby hotspots like Petra without the crowds. And if you’re securing your vacation apartments for rent in Amman during the holy month of Ramadan, know that many businesses and restaurants may have limited operating hours throughout the day.
Top things to do in Amman
Perched high up on a hill in the center of Amman, the Citadel features ruins dating as far back as the Bronze Age. Highlights include the Temple of Hercules, a Roman temple built 2,000 years ago, along with the stone hands of what must have once been a towering sculpture of Hercules that historians believe stood almost 40-feet tall. While here, be sure to visit the Jordan Archeological Museum, which helps give context to the remains of the structures found there.
Just outside of Amman, you’ll find a wide array of well-preserved desert castles and caravansaries. One of the most impressive is the Qasr Al-Mshatta Winter Palace, located around 20 miles outside Amman near the airport. It was built in 744 A.D. by the Umayyad Caliph and is surrounded by a defense wall complete with 25 towers. Although much of the facade is now gone, you can still get an idea of the palace’s grandeur and take in early examples of Islamic art and architecture.
Just 20 minutes from the Citadel by foot, the restored Roman theater was built more than 2,000 years ago, and was once able to accommodate nearly 6,000 people on its steep stone stairs. It was also the place to be and be seen during the Roman era. Concerts and plays are still held here during the summer, which is a great way to see the theater as it was originally intended.