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With over 7,000 years of recorded history behind it, a flight to Amman with Qatar Airways can introduce you to one of the hidden gems of the Middle East. What’s immediately noticeable is its rolling skyline, defined by the seven hills Amman was originally built on. These seven hills help to define each of the city’s various districts, each with its own charm and surprises.
The architecture has been influenced by a number of expanding civilizations, from the Romans to the Islamic settlers who made this their home. As a result, the buildings that make up Amman are as startling as they are spectacular, charting the ages between antiquity and modernity, but with no more than a street between them. Fly to Amman and you can discover a rich tapestry of history against a backdrop of a slick, modern and vibrant city.
Near the centre of downtown Amman, you’ll find the historic Jabal Amman district. If you’ve come on a trip to Amman to soak up its culture, then there’s no better place to start than here. There is a huge variety of historic homes in this relatively small area and even an ancient, but still-thriving, market hosted by the Jabal Amman Residents Association. If you’re looking for local culture, it doesn’t get much more local than that!
The Ancient Roman amphitheatre carved into a hillside overlooking the centre of the city holds over 6,000 spectators and is still used today for cultural and sporting events. It forms part of the Roman Forum, which also plays host to the Jordanian Museum of Popular Traditions and the Jordanian Folklore Museum, where you can immerse yourself in the history and customs of this ancient city on your trip to Amman.
Travel to Amman and you’ll find yourself in a city where the two most popular leisure activities are coffee and talking! The streets are lined with rich, dark coffee shops, where you can get a strong coffee, often served with a glass of water. Amman has a strong oral tradition and nowhere is it more prominent than on Rainbow Street, where cafés brim with the sound of chatter and the smell of coffee.
However, if you like a little more activity to your leisure time, then your trip to Amman ought to incorporate a visit to the ancient Citadel, where the sunset is serenaded by the city’s mosques, calling the inhabitants to prayer. The Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace are also worth visiting. Each offers a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and a glimpse into Amman’s long and fascinating past.
There’s no better way to get to grips with a culture than through its cuisine and a trip to Amman is a must for those who enjoy good food. Local restaurants serve specialities, with each one having their own 'family recipes' that they claim are more authentic than their rivals! If you enjoy falafels, pitta and dips, washed down with traditional Jordanian tea, then head to King Faisal Street in the East of the city.
Jordanians’ love sweet things, and are particularly partial to anything that includes honey in the recipe. Kenafeh is a pastry fried in butter, topped with soft cheese, another layer of pastry and then green pistachios. However, if you’re not feeling too adventurous, head back to Rainbow Street, where you’ll find restaurants selling giant pizzas and pasta dishes.
You should make time on your trip to Amman to do some shopping, as it can be an exciting experience! In addition to a wide range of shopping centres, such as Mecca Mall, you’ll find designer boutiques – particularly in Sweifieh, Al-Wakalat Street. For a greater range of designer clothes and goods try the various malls such as Taj Mall, Galleria Mall, City Mall and Mecca Mall.
However, if you’d rather get a taste of what the locals have to offer, head down to the Gold Souk in Downtown. There you’ll find stunning examples of gold and silverwork, with the majority of it being handmade. For a good day of local shopping such as Jabal al-Hussein, seek out the local markets. Each district has their own and each has its own character and charm.
As long as you exercise a little common courtesy, a trip to Amman is an opportunity to explore a rich and cultured location full of friendly people.
Following a few simple guidelines will ensure your trip is problem-free. Women should not sit in the front seat of a taxi, and it is advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting holy sites. However, there is no need to cover your hair, unless you already wear a hijab.
Flights to Amman will take you to Queen Alia International Airport, about 30 miles south of the city. There are plenty of taxis available, which should only cost you about £20 for your journey.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Amman please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Jordanian Dinar (JOD)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type D / F / G / J
International dialing code: +962