Arriving in Amman instantly gives you a feel for what this city is trying to achieve. The airport, having undergone significant expansion over the last few years at the hands of iconic British architect Norman Foster, is a modern, vast space, and reflects how much traffic the country is expecting in the future. Not only the largest and capital city, it’s also the cultural and political heart of Jordan, and is a young, buzzing Arab capital making its way in the world. Originally built on seven hills, the rapidly expanding city now spans an area of 19 hills, and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. With houses faced in local white stone and colorful and vibrant souks this is a civilized, convivial and thoroughly modern city with a thriving nightlife and artisan feel.
For those wanting Jordan’s historic archaeological icons and lost civilisations there’s something for everyone in Amman. The citadel hill of the city, known as Jabal al-Qal’a is home to the Temple of Hercules, purportedly constructed between 161 to 180AD under the reign of roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Like many of the country’s ancient towns the citadel has been inhabited for centuries and is an important military and religious site. Most importantly it makes for a pretty great photo.
Cuisine in the city is a combination of delectable offerings from its neighbors, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq, and as such is a hearty Middle Eastern feast. Follow the locals to packed eateries where you’re likely to be the only foreigner eating the best meal in town. Jordan’s young crowd are also ensuring Amman is becoming something of a place to see and be seen. Make sure you find a roof terrace for a sundowner and enjoy the coruscating night lights of this vibrant city, and during the Amman Summer Festival in the King Hussein Park you’ll find DJs, dance troupes and music shows lining the streets. As part of the festival, the ‘Amman Stairs’ is a series of informal evenings of music and art staged on the staircases that climb the hills of the older neighborhoods in the area. Amman at its best.