Amman is the capital city of Jordan and also the largest city in the country. Almost 10 million people live in Jordan, and 4 million of them live in Amman. Pretty bizarre, isn’t it?! Amman is the starting point for many travelers on their trip through Jordan, because this is where the Queen Alia International Airport is located. For us it was the end point. The city of Amman has surprised us in a very positive way! There is so much to see and do here and it has such a nice atmosphere. In this article you will find our favorite attractions and activities in Amman.
We stayed two nights in Amman, but I would’ve liked to add one more night. We slept in Naylover Hotel Suites, a nice accommodation just outside the center. Because we didn’t want to drive (too much) in Amman, we chose an accommodation outside the center. We could also park our car here for free. Taxis in Amman are super cheap, and we could easily get to the city center.
Citadel and the Roman Theater of Amman
Amman’s Citadel towers above the capital, because the structure is located on the top of Jebel Al Qala’a, a hill in the city of Amman. Jebel Al Qala’a lies about 850 meters above sea level and offers splendid views over the old city, the King Abdullah I Mosque and the Roman Amphitheatre. The Citadel is one of the most popular places in Amman, because you can find several important sights from different historical eras. These include a 1,700-meter-long wall that dates back to the Bronze Age, the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace, ruins of the 6th century Byzantine church and the Archaeological Museum of Jordan.
The entrance fee to the Citadel is 3 JOD per person. Do you have a Jordan Pass? Then admission to this landmark is included. The opening hours of the complex can be found here.
Near the Citadel is Amman’s Amphitheatre. The largest theatre in Jordan was built in the second century A.D. and seats some 6,000 spectators, spread over 33 rows. You can see the Amphitheatre from above when you visit the Citadel. For that reason, and because we’d already visited several amphitheaters that morning in Jerash, we didn’t visit the Amman Amphitheatre.
Would you like to see the inside of the theatre? You can! The entrance fee is 2 JOD per person or included if you have a Jordan Pass. The opening hours can be found here.
Looking for a nice street with lots of awesome restaurants? Make sure to drop by at Rainbow Street! This street has cafes, restaurants and shops that are popular among tourists and locals alike. Its jam packed with locals in the evening, especially in the weekends! Very nice to see. Rainbow Street is located in the Jebel Amman district, in the city center. Some nice spots to visit are Sah el Nom, VU’s cafe and restaurant Cantaloupe.
Tip: In many places you can smoke a hookah (shisha). Hookah smoking is a typical friend and family affair for the locals.
Visit the Roman Ruins of Jerash
Jerash is an ancient city full of important Roman sights. It was once part of the Decapolis League, a group of ten cities claimed by the Roman Empire. Visitors can visit a large number of Roman squares, temples and fountains. The sights are in very good condition, which makes them very impressive. Some of the main attractions here are the Hadrian’s Arch, the Hippodrome, the North and South Theatre, the Forum, the Temple of Artemis and the Higher Temple of Zeus.
From Amman, it is about 40 minutes’ drive by (rental) car to Jerash, but there’s also a bus from the north of the city. The entrance fee for the complex is 10 JOD per person or included in the Jordan Pass. The park is open daily. The opening hours depend on the season and can be found here. Keep in mind that you need to walk for at least 3 hours if you want to see everything.
Tip: More information about visiting Jerash from Amman? Then read on here!
King Abdullah I Mosque
King Abdullah I Mosque (Image 1 below) is the best-known mosque in Amman was built between 1982 and 1989. The mosque is topped with a blue dome, which makes for a striking appearance. The King Abdullah I Mosque has room for 3,000 visitors. Tourists are also allowed to see the inside of the mosque. The entrance fee is 4 JOD per person and the mosque is open from Saturday to Thursday between 08:00 – 11:00 hrs. and between 12:30 – 14:00 hrs.
Note: Would you like to visit the King Abdullah Mosque I? Please note that men have to wear long trousers and women have to cover their hair, arms and legs. It is possible to borrow an abaya at the entrance.
Abu Darwish Mosque
The Abu Derwish Mosque (Image 2 below) was built in 1961 on one of the seven hills of Amman, namely Jebel al-Ashrafiyeh. This means that the mosque can be seen from different places in the city. Abu Derwish is built of black and white stones, based on the traditional Levantine architecture. The mosque has room for more than 7,000 believers. Unfortunately, as a tourist you are not allowed to see the inside of the mosque. Are you close to the mosque? A visit to the Abu Derwish Mosque is definitely worthwhile. Not around? You can also skip this mosque.
Jara Market (Souk Jara)
Very coincidentally, we ended up at the Jara Market on a Friday night. The Jara Market, also called Souk Jara, is one of the most popular markets in Amman. All kinds of handmade products are sold here, such as handmade jewelry, paintings, bags, books, perfume and much more! There’s a kind of food court at the end of the market, where you’ll find a number of food stalls. A very nice place to taste something from the Jordan kitchen!
Note: The Jara market is located in a side street of Rainbow Street, only on Fridays from 10:00 – 22:00 hrs. between mid-May and the end of September.
Tip: Looking for more nice places to eat and drink in Amman? Read more here!
Shopping in the Abdali Mall
The Abdali Mall will open in 2016 and is some 750 meters from the King Abdullah I Mosque. The shopping mall has over 160 shops, several restaurants and cafes, an entertainment center, nine cinemas, a supermarket and you have a perfect view of the King Abdullah I Mosque. Perfect for a rainy day! At least, for us it was also perfect to hide on an extremely hot day! Because the mall has air conditioning, it’s great to walk around here and score some nice clothes! The opening hours can be found here.