Amman is an ancient place that has a large collection of ancient humans dating back to 7250 BC. The city was first known as Rabbath Ammon, then Philadelphia before becoming what we now know as Amman. It was an important city due to its location on the major trade route between Egypt and Mesopotamia in the 13th century BC. Fast forward to 63 BC, Amman fell under Roman rule for 400 years, and in 630 CE, Muslims conquered the area naming it Amman.
Hundreds of years later, the city fell under the control of the Ottoman Empire, and it wasn’t until 1946 did Jordan finally became an independent nation. Today, Amman is an extraordinary city with so much history and ancient sites that are such a pleasure to explore. If Jordan’s capital is where you seek to find your next adventure, here are some gems to cross of your list of to-dos.
Ahl Al Kahf
Amman has more than enough historic sites to explore, but one that is unique is Ahl Al Kahf, also known as the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. Although not directly in the city, it’s located less than an hour away in a little village named Rajib. It’s said that seven boys who were Christian were punished by Trajan, a Roman Emperor around 250 CE, but escaped and hid in these caves for 309 years. Inside the cave are eight tombs where these children lay. One of the tombs has a hole where you can peek through to see human bones. Aside from the tombs, there are two mosques and a cemetery here as well.
Traditional souvenirs are great, but there’s a hidden gem of a store in Amman called Ola’s Garden, located on one of the oldest streets in the city, Khirfan. This shop sells handmade items made from raw materials like wood, leather, sand, leaves and others. From jewelry and scarves to home decor, handbags and more, you can find a unique gift for yourself or friends back home in Ola’s Garden. Want something specially made to order? Ola’s Garden can design something special for you, just make sure to call in advance or stop by to pre-order the handmade item.
When Rome rules the area for hundreds of years, they established various monuments, statues, and other structures, which can be found at the Jerash Ruins. This place houses the best-preserved Roman structures outside of Italy due to the fact that it was buried under sand since 749 CE. An earthquake at that time caused the city to disappear until it was rediscovered in 1806. Some notable structures are the Temple of Artemis, public fountain, amphitheater, stadium, plaza and more. The Jerash Ruins are located about 30 minutes outside of the city and is an easy ride via Taxi.
Dining on traditional Mediterranean cuisine is a no brainer, and finding the best one may not be too difficult. Nonetheless, we recommend you head to Jafra for lunch or dinner to eat local clay pot dishes. The service is terrific, plus there’s live music there too. It’s very vegetarian and Halal friendly, but there are meat options too. It’s inexpensive, and you’ll leave feeling more than satisfied!
Amman has a lot of bars and cafes, especially ones on top of roofs. Although many are much more modern and high-end, Dunia Rooftop bar is a quirky place that is full of color with pottery used as decor on walls. The vibe is modern but not Western modern—it still retains a sense of an Arabian atmosphere. The pace serves delicious cocktails and food (although the dishes are more Western), and is open every day from 12am to 1pm and 5pm to 12am.
Amman is one destination that will leave you feeling in awe after visiting, and although there’s so much to see, we hope this guide will make your experience even more worthwhile.
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