Jordan’s undulating White City
Jordan’s capital is a curious rambling metropolis and home to more than one million people. Once spread across seven hills, the city now sprawls over 19 and is home to half of Jordan’s population. The hills are crowded with sand-coloured cube-shaped houses and the hotels, offices and commercial centres are randomly dotted around the city. The historic area of the city surrounds the jewel in Amman’s crown, the striking Roman Amphitheatre. Nearby the impressive King Hussein Mosque looks on as the city buzzes around it, comfortably blending the old and the new. Visitors can choose to shop in the stylish boutiques or haggle at the spice-scented souqs; sample international cuisine and local specialities. Wherever you are in Amman, you’ll receive a friendly welcome.
Go for the atmosphere, the sight of the sprawling desert-like city, the charming residents, and the interesting contrast of old and new. Amman’s rapid increase in population and infrastructure was certainly not planned but surprisingly, it works, and the result is an interesting and charismatic city.
When to Go?
Amman is extremely hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. From June to September temperatures soar to 40°C and in the winter there are bitterly cold winds and occasional snowfall. The best time to visit is between March and May when the rain has usually stopped and the temperatures are hot but manageable.
How to get there?
There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Amman Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), and flights take around 5 hours. The airport is situated in the Zizya area, which is 20 miles (32km) south of Amman. Buses and taxis are available at the airport. The Airport Express bus runs every 30 minutes to central Amman and usually takes 45 minutes to an hour.
The beautifully-restored Roman Amphitheatre & Citadel is a must-see for anyone visiting Amman. The fascinating Citadel represents three religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism. There are tombs, a Byzantine Church, the Temple of Hercules and a museum with some excellent artefacts. Take a stroll to the viewing point near the Citadel around the time of the muezzin call - the acoustics create a memorable experience. Most women in Amman tend not to wear headscarves so female visitors to the city are not expected to cover their heads.