Amman was built on seven hills that still give their name to districts of the city. Like several others in the region, it can also claim to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities.
Amman – Been There

A hidden treasure in Amman

Photo by Ton Koene

Amman – Been There A hidden treasure in Amman

The Jordanian capital Amman, formerly known as Philadelphia under Greek rule, fits most people’s image of an Arab or Middle Eastern city.

Adrian Hartrick
Adrian Hartrick Travel Writer

The city vista is of low-rise brown and white limestone and cement buildings spread over several hills, the most notable being the central Jebel Amman. It is dusty and noisy, tempting most visitors to pass straight through on the road to Petra and the country’s more attractive destinations. However, the city is a microcosm of Jordan’s history and identity, and home to a number of ancient ruins.

I spend a day wandering around the Roman amphitheater in the blazing sun and admire the views from the Umayyad Palace at the Amman Citadel, which dates back 7,000 years and much of which remains to be excavated. The Amman Archaeological Museum at the citadel used to house the Ain Ghazal statues, the oldest statues ever made by humans, and some of the Dead Sea Scrolls – both of which have now been moved to the state-of the art Museum of Jordan in the new downtown Ras al-‘Ayn area.

“It is amazing to think that most visitors to Jordan miss seeing both these priceless treasures,” says Omar. “When you look at the Ain Ghazal statues, you are seeing something fashioned by our human ancestors perhaps 10,000 years ago.” The statues are hauntingly beautiful, with eyes that stare through the millennia.

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The Umayyad Palace of Amman was built on the foundations of a Roman temple, recycling much of its stonework but with a strong influence from Iran. This 8th-century meeting of western and eastern architecture and design makes the palace of great historical significance. Photo by Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Canon EOS 5D

Aperture
ƒ/7.1
Exposure
1/160
ISO
400
Focal
24 mm

The Umayyad Palace of Amman was built on the foundations of a Roman temple, recycling much of its stonework but with a strong influence from Iran. This 8th-century meeting of western and eastern architecture and design makes the palace of great historical significance.

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