AMMAN

Jordan

Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan, and the country's economic, political and cultural centre.Situated in north-central Jordan, Amman is the administrative centre of the Amman Governorate. It has a population of 4,007,526 and a land area of 1,680 square kilometres (648.7 sq mi).

Info Amman

introduction

Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan, and the country's economic, political and cultural centre.

Situated in north-central Jordan, Amman is the administrative centre of the Amman Governorate. It has a population of 4,007,526 and a land area of 1,680 square kilometres (648.7 sq mi).

The city is among the most popular locations in the Arab world for multinational corporations to set up their regional offices, alongside Doha and only behind Dubai. It is expected that in the next 10 years these three cities will capture the largest share of multinational corporation activity in the region.

Today, Amman is considered to be among the most liberal and westernized Arab cities. It is a major tourist destination in the region, particularly among Arab and European tourists.

info

POPULATION : 4,007,526 
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE : +2 Eastern European Standard Time  

 Summer: +3 Arabia Standard Time (UTC)

LANGUAGE : Arabic (official), English (widely used)
RELIGION : Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6%, other 2% 
AREA : 1,680 km2 (650 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES : 31°56′59″N 35°55′58″E
SEX RATIO : Male: 51.02%  
 Female: 48.98%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 6
POSTAL CODE : 11110-17198
DIALING CODE : +962(6)
WEBSITE : www.ammancity.gov.jo

Tourism

Amman forms a great base for exploring the country and does, despite popular belief, hold a few items of interest to the traveler. The city is generally well-appointed for the traveler, reasonably well-organized, and the people are very friendly.

Although not seen as much when in the air over Amman, the city holds many surprises for the visitor. Anything can be found in Amman if one asks. Visit Amman's Roman Amphitheatre or study in the University of Jordan or stay in a luxurious hotel. Shopping malls are abundant in Jordan. With new construction in Abdali, in a few years the high-end traveler could eat in the most high-end restaurant, study in the American University of Jordan, stay in a five star hotel or shop in massive malls, all a few metres from one another. Much less is being done to cater to the budget traveler, although urban beautification is going on (as of early 2011) in the city centre (old town), which is being cleaned up and made more pedestrian-friendly.

Amman is experiencing a massive (some would say: reckless) change from a quiet sleepy village to a bustling metropolis, some of whose neighbourhoods seem hell-bent on wanting to imitate Dubai. Amman's roads have a reputation of being very steep and narrow in some of the underdeveloped parts of the city but now the city has state of the art highways and paved avenues. The steep terrain and heavy traffic remains challenging for pedestrians and for the rare cyclist. New resorts and hotels dot the city and there are many things for the traveler to see and do. Use Amman as a staging point for travels to nearby cities and settlements in Jordan.

Amman is considered one of the most liberal and westernized cities in the Arab world. The city has become one of the most popular destinations for Western expatriates and college students who seek to live, study, or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general.

The city's culinary scene has changed from its shawerma stands and falafel joints to embrace many popular western restaurants and fast-food outlets such as Asian fusion restaurants, French bistros and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expatriates and Persian Gulf tourists.

Large shopping malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including the Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Shopping Center, Avenue Mall, and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali (under construction).[129] Wakalat Street ("Agencies Street") is Amman's first pedestrian-only street and carries a lot of name-label clothes. The Sweifieh area is considered to be the main shopping district of Amman.

Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges are present across Amman, changing the city's old image as the conservative capital of the kingdom. This burgeoning new nightlife scene is shaped by Jordan's young population. In addition to the wide range of drinking and dancing venues on the social circuit of the city's affluent crowd, Amman hosts cultural entertainment events, including the annual Amman Summer Festival. Souk Jara is a Jordanian annual weekly flea market event that occurs every Friday throughout the summer. Abdoun Circle is a major centre of the city's nightlife where clubs maintain a strict "couples only" policy. Sweifieh is considered to be the unofficial red-light district of Amman as it holds most of the city's nightclubs, bars, strip-clubs, massage parlors, and other adult entertainment venues. Jabal Amman and Jabal al-Weibdeh are home to many pubs and bars as well, making the area popular among bar hoppers.

Alcohol is widely available in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and supermarkets.There are numerous nightclubs and bars across the city, especially in West Amman. As of 2011, there were 77 registered nightclubs in Jordan (excluding bars and pubs), overwhelmingly located in the capital city.There are 222 registered liquor stores in Amman.

History

Neolithic period

In the outskirts of Amman, one of the largest known ancient settlements in the Near East was discovered. The site, known as 'Ain Ghazal which is situated on a valley-side, dates back to 7250 BC and spans an area of 15 hectares. It was a typical average sized aceramic Neolithic village that accommodated around 3,000 inhabitants.

'Ain Ghazal is well known for a set of small human statues found buried in pits which were discovered in 1983, when local archaeologists stumbled upon the edge of a large pit 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) containing plaster statues.These statues are human figures made with white plaster. The figures have painted clothes, hair, and in some cases ornamental tattoos. 32 figures were found in two caches, 15 of them full figures, 15 busts, and two fragmentary heads. Three of the busts were two-headed, the significance of which is not clear.


Rabbath Ammon

In the 13th century BC Amman was known as "Rabbath Ammon" by the Ammonites. Ammon provided several natural resources to the region, including sandstone and limestone. Along with a productive agricultural sector, which made Ammon a vital location along the King's Highway, the ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia.

Today, several Ammonite ruins across Amman exist, such as Qasr Al-Abd, Rujm Al-Malfouf and some parts of the Amman Citadel. The ruins of Rujm Al-Malfouf consist of a surveillance stone tower that was used to ensure protection of their capital and several store rooms east of it. The city was later conquered by the Assyrian Empire, followed by the Persian Empire.


Hellenistic period

Conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia by Alexander the Great firmly consolidated the influence of Hellenistic culture. The Greeks founded new cities in the area of modern-day Jordan, including Umm Qays, Jerash and Amman. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Macedonian ruler of Egypt, who occupied and rebuilt the city, named it "Philadelphia", which means "brotherly love" in Greek. The name was given as an adulation to his own nickname, Philadelphus.

One of the most original monuments in Jordan, and perhaps in the Hellenistic period in the Near East, is the village of Iraq Al-Amir in the valley of Wadi Al-Sir, southwest of Amman, which is home to Qasr Al-Abd (Castle of the Slave). Other nearby ruins include a village, an isolated house and a fountain, all of which are barely visible today due to the damage brought by a major earthquake that hit the region in the year 362. Qasr Al-Abd is believed to have been built by Hyrcanus of Jerusalem, who was the head of the powerful Tobiad family. Shortly after he began the construction of that large building, in 170 BC upon returning from a military campaign in Egypt, Antiochus IV conquered Jerusalem, ransacked a temple where the treasure of Hyrcanus was kept and appeared determined to attack Hyrcanus. Upon hearing this, Hyrcanus committed suicide, leaving his palace in Philadelphia uncompleted.The Tobiads fought the Arab Nabateans for twenty years until they lost the city to them. After losing Philadelphia, we no longer hear of the Tobiad family in written sources.


Roman rule

The Romans conquered much of the Levant in 63 BC, inaugurating a period of Roman rule that lasted for four centuries. In the northern modern-day Jordan, the Greek cities of Philadelphia (Amman), Gerasa, Gedara, Pella and Arbila joined with other cities in Palestine and Syria; Scythopolis, Hippos, Capitolias, Canatha and Damascus to form the Decapolis League, a fabled confederation linked by bonds of economic and cultural interest.

Philadelphia became a point along a road stretching from Ailah to Damascus that was built by Emperor Trajan in 106 AD. This provided an economic boost for the city in a short period of time. During the late Byzantine era in the 7th century, several bishops and churches were based in the city.

Roman rule in Jordan left several ruins across the country, some of which exist in Amman, such as the Temple of Hercules at the Amman Citadel, the Roman Theatre, the Odeon, and the Nymphaeum. The two theatres and the Nymphaeum fountain were built during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius around 161 AD. The theatre was the larger venue of the two and had a capacity for 6,000 attendees. It was oriented north and built into the hillside, to protect the audience from the sun.


Early Islamic rule

In the 630s, the Rashidun army conquered the region from the Byzantines, beginning the Islamic era in the Levant. Philadelphia was renamed "Amman" by the Muslims and became part of the district of Jund al-Urdunn. A large part of the population already spoke Arabic, which facilitated integration into the caliphate, as well as several conversions to Islam. Under the Umayyad caliphs who began their rule in 661 AD, numerous desert castles were established as a means to govern the desert area of modern-day Jordan, several of which are still well-preserved. Amman had already been functioning as an administrative centre. Amman was later destroyed by several earthquakes and natural disasters, including a particularly severe earthquake in 747.

Amman's importance declined by the mid-8th century after damage caused by several earthquakes rendered it uninhabitable. At some point after the mid-8th-century earthquake, and certainly from the 15th century onward until 1878, Amman became an abandoned pile of ruins only sporadically used for shelter by seasonal farmers from elsewhere who used the arable land of the area, and by Bedouin tribes who used its pastures and water.


Ottoman rule

The Ottoman Empire annexed the region of Amman in 1516, but for much of the Ottoman period, al-Salt functioned as the virtual political centre of Transjordan. After about 1,000 years without recorded history, Amman was only resettled starting from 1878, when hundreds of Circassians arrived following their exodus from the Caucasus during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.  Between 1872–1910, tens of thousands of Circassians were forcibly relocated to Ottoman Syria from historical Circassia by the Russian Empire during the events of the Russo-Circassian War.


British Mandate period

The first and second battles of Amman were part of the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I and the Arab Revolt, taking place in 1918. Amman had a strategic location along the Hejaz Railway; its capture by British forces and the Hashemite Arab army facilitated the British advance towards Damascus. The second battle was won by the British, resulting in the establishment of the British Mandate.

In 1921, the Hashemite emir and later king, Abdullah I, designated Amman instead of al-Salt to be the capital of the newly created state, the Emirate of Transjordan, which became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1950. Its function as the capital of the country attracted immigrants from different Levantine areas, particularly from al-Salt, a nearby city that had been the largest urban settlement east of the Jordan River at the time.


Post-independence

Jordan gained its independence in 1946 and Amman was designated the country's capital. Amman received many refugees during wartime events in nearby countries, beginning with the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. A second wave arrived after the Six-Day War in 1967, and a third wave of Palestinian and Jordanian refugees arrived in Amman from Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War. The first wave of Iraqi refugees settled in the city after the 1991 Gulf War, with a second wave occurring in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Most recently a wave of Syrian refugees have arrived in the city during the ongoing Syrian Civil War which began in 2011. Amman was a principal destination for refugees for the security and prosperity it offered.

In 1970, Amman was a battlefield during the conflict between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian Army known as Black September. The Jordanian Army defeated the PLO in 1971, and the latter were expelled to Lebanon. On 9 November 2005, Al-Qaeda under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's leadership launched coordinated explosions in three hotel lobbies in Amman, resulting in 60 deaths and 115 injured. The bombings, which targeted civilians, caused widespread outrage among Jordanians.Jordan's security as a whole was dramatically improved after the attack, and no major terrorist attacks have been reported since then.

During the last ten years the city has experienced an economic, cultural and urban boom. The large growth in population has significantly increased the need for new accommodation, and new districts of the city were established at a quick pace. This strained Jordan's scarce water supply and exposed Amman to the dangers of quick expansion without careful municipal planning. Today, Amman is known as a modern, liberal and westernized Arab city.

Climate

Amman's position on the mountains near the Mediterranean climate zone places it under the semi-arid climate classification.

Summers are mildly hot and breezy, however, one or two heat waves may occur during summer.

Spring is brief and warm, where highs reach 28 °C (82 °F). Spring usually starts between April and May, and last about a month.

Around the end of November is the period in which winter usually starts and continues from early to mid March. Temperatures are usually near or below 17 °C (63 °F), with snow occasionally falling once or twice a year.

Amman has extreme examples of microclimate, and almost every district exhibits its own weather. It is known among locals that some boroughs such as the northern suburb of Abu Nser are among the coldest in the city, and can be experiencing frost while other warmer districts such as Marka can be providing much warmer temperatures to its inhabitants at the same time.

Climate data for Amman

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)23.0
(73.4)
27.3
(81.1)
32.6
(90.7)
37.0
(98.6)
38.7
(101.7)
40.6
(105.1)
43.4
(110.1)
43.2
(109.8)
40.0
(104)
37.6
(99.7)
31.0
(87.8)
27.5
(81.5)
43.4
(110.1)
Average high °C (°F)12.3
(54.1)
13.7
(56.7)
17.2
(63)
22.6
(72.7)
27.8
(82)
30.8
(87.4)
32.0
(89.6)
32.4
(90.3)
30.7
(87.3)
27.1
(80.8)
20.4
(68.7)
14.4
(57.9)
23.5
(74.2)
Average low °C (°F)3.6
(38.5)
4.2
(39.6)
6.1
(43)
9.5
(49.1)
13.5
(56.3)
16.6
(61.9)
18.5
(65.3)
18.6
(65.5)
16.6
(61.9)
13.8
(56.8)
9.3
(48.7)
5.2
(41.4)
11.3
(52.3)
Record low °C (°F)−4.5
(23.9)
−4.4
(24.1)
−3.0
(26.6)
−3.0
(26.6)
3.9
(39)
8.9
(48)
11.0
(51.8)
11.0
(51.8)
10.0
(50)
5.0
(41)
0.0
(32)
−2.6
(27.3)
−4.5
(23.9)
              
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization

Geography

Amman is situated on the East Bank Plateau, an upland characterized by three major wadis which run through it.

Originally, the city had been built on seven hills. Amman's terrain is typified by its mountains. The most important areas in the city are named after the hills or mountains they lie on. The area's elevation ranges from 700 to 1,100 m (2,300 to 3,600 ft). Al-Salt and al-Zarqa are located to the northwest and northeast, respectively, Madaba is located to the west and al-Karak and Ma'an are to Amman's southwest and southeast, respectively.

One of the only remaining springs in Amman now supplies the Zarqa River with water.

Economy

The banking sector is one of the principal foundations of Jordan's economy. Despite the unrest and economic difficulties in the Arab world resulting from the Arab Spring uprisings, Jordan's banking sector maintained its growth in 2014. The sector currently consists of 25 banks, 15 of which are listed on the Amman Stock Exchange. Amman is the base city for the international Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, serving clients in more than 600 branches in 30 countries on five continents. Arab Bank represents 28% of the Amman Stock Exchange and is the highest-ranked institution by market capitalization on the exchange.

Amman is the 4th most visited Arab city and the ninth highest recipient of international visitor spending. Roughly 1.8 million tourists visited Amman in 2011 and spent over $1.3 billion in the city.

The expansion of Queen Alia International Airport is an example of the Greater Amman Municipality's heavy investment in the city's infrastructure. The recent construction of a public transportation system and a national railway, and the expansion of roads, are intended to ease the traffic generated by the millions of annual visitors to the city.

Amman is introducing itself as a business hub. The city's skyline is being continuously transformed through the emergence of new projects. A significant portion of business flowed into Amman following the 2003 Iraq War. Jordan's main airport, Queen Alia International Airport, is located south of Amman and is the hub for the country's national carrier Royal Jordanian, a major airline in the region.

In a report by Dunia Frontier Consultants, Amman, along with Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, are the favored hubs for multinational corporations operating in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Subdivisions

Jordan is divided into twelve administrative divisions, each called a governorate. Amman Governorate divides into nine nahias, five of which are divided into districts and are further divided into neighborhoods. The other four nahias lying in the suburbs are either divided into villages or towns.

The city is administered as the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and covers 27 districts which include:

1 Al-Madinah                            15 Badr Al-Jadeedah 
2 Basman                                   16 Sweileh 
3 Marka                                      17 Tla' Al-Ali 
4 Al-Nasr                                    18 Jubeiha 
5 Al-Yarmouk                            19 Shafa Badran 
6 Ras Al-Ein                              20 Abu Nseir
7 Bader                                       21 Uhod 
8 Zahran                                    22 Al-Jeezah 
9 Al-Abdali                                23 Sahab 
10 Tareq                                     24 Al-Muwaqqar 
11 Qweismeh                             25 Husban Al-Jadeedah
12 Kherbet Al-Souk                   26 Na'our 
13 Al-Mgablein                         27 Marj Al-Hamam 
14 Wadi Al-Seer 

Prices in Amman

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter$ 1.55
Tomatoes1 kg$ 0.85
Cheese0.5 kg$ 6.00
Apples1 kg$ 2.30
Oranges1 kg$ 1.50
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$ 4.20
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$ 15.00
Coca-Cola2 liters$ 1.55
Bread1 piece$ 0.35
Water1.5 l$ 0.55

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2$ 40.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$ 60.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$ 85.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$ 7.00
Water0.33 l$ 0.40
Cappuccino1 cup$ 3.90
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$ 7.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$ 5.70
Coca-Cola0.33 l$ 0.50
Coctail drink1 drink$ 11.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets$ 22.00
Gym1 month$ 65.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$ 7.00
Theatar2 tickets$ 25.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$ 0.06
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$ 3.10

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack$ 8.00
Tampons32 pieces$ 5.50
Deodorant50 ml.$ 3.75
Shampoo400 ml.$ 3.95
Toilet paper4 rolls$ 1.55
Toothpaste1 tube$ 2.55

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)$ 85.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)$ 75.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$ 95.00
Leather shoes1$ 92.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter$ 0.95
TaxiStart$ 0.40
Taxi1 km$ 0.70
Local Transport1 ticket$ 0.70

Tourist (Backpacker)  

48 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

165 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Most travelers to Amman (and to Jordan) will arrive via Queen Alia International Airport. Very occasionally, regional or charter flights use Marka Airport, centrally located in east Amman a few km beyond the railway station. For most western visitors, entry visas to Jordan can be purchased at the airport, if not already obtained from a Jordanian consulate overseas. The price of visa is 40 Jordanian Dinars ($56), payable in Jordanian Dinars only; at the immigration line you will pay for the visa at the first counter, and then pass through to the second counter to receive the stamp. Note that there will be a sign informing you that payment is also available by credit card; this is inaccurate and you will be sent away to obtain hard currency. Money exchange is available before passport control and a single ATM (doesn't take MasterCard), more ATMs are available after customs. Please note than there is only one post office and no postbox in the airport, located in arrivals hall of Terminal 1 near the Lost and Found office. If closed, you can put your letters/postcards under the curtain.

From Queen Alia to Amman city proper, the two best options are to either take a taxi or an Airport Express bus. Taxi transportation from the airport to Amman should cost around 20 Jordanian Dinars ($30). Airport taxi fares are fixed. Note that the fare is only fixed from airport to city, taxi driver might try to secure a ride from you from the city back to the airport, often with a massive inflated price. It is not hard to get a ride from City to Airport for JOD20, if the driver is trying to charge more, make your stand and say no. The Airport Express bus runs around the clock every 60 minutes (except at midnight, 2AM, 4AM and 6AM) and costs JOD3. It leaves from a marked bus stop outside Terminal 2 only. The trip from the airport to Tabarbour bus station in Amman, with a stop at the 7th Circle, usually takes from 45 minutes to an hour. It is then possible to catch a taxi from the bus station to your hotel but beware of taxis drivers trying to rip off the newly arrived traveler. The bus stop at the 7th circle is less than 100m south of the circle. The small yellow "airport express" labeled bus is easily recognized and the driver will also stop on other places if you wave him. To reach the 7th circle from downtown take bus 41 or any headed to Wadi As-Seir and ask to be dropped of at Dawaar As-Saabe'a (7th circle).

There are, of course, rent-a-car stations in Amman as well.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Train operator in Jordan: HJR (Hedjaz Jordan Railway) . Since about 2005, scheduled services within Jordan and to Damascus have, sadly, been suspended. They are unlikely to resume. Train excursions run occasionally, as do local services to Zarqa. Neither operate more often than once per week, if at all. Amman's tiny, charming railway station (Mahatta) with its museum is worth a look even if you do not (or cannot) take a train.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Note that the Abdali bus station is now closed. The new bus station is called Tabarbour Bus Station and is in the North fringes of Amman. Most of the buses to the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge and the various cities ('Ajloun, Jerash, Irbid) in Northern Jordan leave from here. To get there from downtown, take Serviis (A sedan car that works like a bus) #6 from Raghadan Tourist Service Station (Raghadan Al Seyaha) which is located right next to the Colosseum. The Trababour Bus Station is the last stop on the Serviis' route. There are numerous buses pulling into the city of Amman, most of which are operated by JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transport). The JETT bus to/from the Israel border bridge costs 7.5 JOD and takes about 1 hour.

There are two operators (on of them called Challenge) each providing two daily services from Damascus (Sumariya-Terminal) into Amman for 500 SYP (50 SYP student discount). Times tend to change a bit, but they leave around 7:30, 8:30, 14:30 and 15:30. The tour takes typically about 4 to 5 hours, but can be longer depending on border formalities. The Challenge busses still arrive in Abdali.

From the bus station, you can take a taxi to the city center. As a guide, it NEVER costs more than 2 JD on the meter from the bus station to most places in town, so either go by the meter, or pay a maximum of 2 JD.

Be wary of the private cars posing as taxis around the bus stands. They would offer their services asking you to pay as much as you want but later on insist on pocketing more money from you. In case you get one, insist paying the standard price which should not be more than 2 JD. Anything more than 2 JD is a rip-off.

NOTE: There are 2 Raghadan stations in Amman, the one near the Roman Theater (which is relevant to most tourists) is Raghadan Al Seyaha, make sure you tell the taxi driver this otherwise you will wind up at the wrong Raghadan station

Transportation - Get In

By taxi

A taxi to/from the Israel border crossing bridge can cost 25 JD and takes one hour, depending on which of the three border crossing points you use.


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By taxi

Yellow and grey taxis are readily available and can be easily found anywhere in Amman. Just hail them in the street as Jordanians do. Taxis for Amman will have a green logo on the driver and passenger doors. The grey ones have an advertisement on top of the car. Resist hailing cabs with another color logo; these cabs are based in other cities and it is illegal for them to pick up fares in Amman. White taxis are shared, and the driver can pick up other fares along the way, which can lead to confusion.

Taxis in Amman are required by law to use meters and most drivers will reset the meter as soon as a fare is picked up. Most trips within Amman should be under JD2 or 3, and even a ride from one end of town to the other should not cost more than JD5. Taxis are not required to use meters after midnight and drivers often expect double the normal fare for late night trips. Beware of drivers offering to give you a short ride "for free" as a "Welcome to Jordan", especially if you're walking between the Citadel and the Roman Theater; they will then offer to wait for you to take you to your next stop, and will use the "free" ride as an excuse not to start the meter. They will then charge you exhorbitantly when you arrive at your next stop.

The base rate for the taxi meter was changed in 2007 from 150 fils (JD 0.150) to 250 fils (JD 0.250) due to the rising oil prices, however, not all taxis have replaced their old meters with new ones, and when a taxi is using an old meter, it is legitimate for the driver to ask you for 10 extra piasters (100 fils) on top of the quoted meter fare. Make sure though that you note the initial fare as soon as the driver turns the meter on in order not to have the driver ask you for "the 10 piasters" when he has a new meter. Drivers are not normally tipped, instead the fare is simply rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 piasters. It should be noted that many drivers do not carry much change, so exact change should be given when possible. If a driver is pretending he has no change, it is likely that he just wants to keep it, so that you'll have to pay more. If you mind this, ask the driver to find a nearby shop and get change or get the change yourself from a shop or (if you don't mind being rude) look into their money box to find the change yourself.

The going, negotiated rate for a taxi from Amman to the airport is JD20 or more, although some drivers can be talked down to JD15 or even JD 10 (which would be close to the metered rate). All taxis are allowed to take passengers to the airport; only special Airport Taxis may take passengers from the airport into town.

If you are visiting the Citadel, call it al'Aqal. The driver may try to convince you that the Roman theater is nicer so that he can drop you off there at the bottom of the hill. It's best to be dropped off at the Citadel and walk down the hill to the Roman theater.

Transportation - Get Around

By Car Rental

There are several car rental companies located in Jordan some will even give you a driver for free if you book a car rental with them. Some of these are Hertz, Sixt Rental Cars, National , and many more.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Big, municipal buses serve many parts of Amman. They are used by low-income workers, working-class youth and foreign workers, but are perfectly safe. As of January 2011, the fare was 380 fils. Pay the exact fare (or overpay); bus drivers have no change! You can also load a bus fare cash card with a few JD and swipe the card past a reader as you enter the bus, but places to buy and recharge the card are rare. Most buses are numbered; some display their destination in Arabic only. Bus no. 26 conveniently travels between the old town (Balad) and the 7th Circle along Zahran Street. No. 27 goes from the old town towards the posh Abdoun neighbourhood. No. 43 passes near Shmeisani (as does no. 46) and continues along Mecca Street towards Mecca Mall. Many bus stops are marked by bus shelters, but buses also drop passengers at unmarked spots wherever it is safe to stop. Private minibuses shadow the municipal buses. They do not display route numbers, but a conductor usually shouts out their destination.

You can visit the fascinating Roman Theater and Nymphaeum, that reflect the historic legacy of the city, and the enchanting Citadel which has stood since the ancient times of the Ammonites. Or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the King Hussein Park and visit the Automobile Museum, which contains the late King Hussein's car collection, or the Children's Museum.

Jabal Amman 1st Circle Walking Trail is also interesting, with its coffeeshops and grand traditional villas. A leaflet with a route description is available from the Wild Jordan Cafe.

If it's shopping you're after, then the pedestrian Wakalat shopping district offers a wide selection of international brand names to choose from.

For a more exotic and traditional experience you can visit the old-downtown, also known as the Souq, and take in the traditional sights and smells of the spice market, and shop for authentic souvenirs. All of this info can be found at  www.ammancitytour.com.

 

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Shopping

Amman has numerous antique dealers littered throughout the city. Those located in the western parts of the city will most likely be serviced by those with a competent grasp of the English language, but you run the risk of the items being a bit overpriced. For the more adventurous, some of the best tourist shopping can be done in downtown Amman (the Balad). Shopping in the Balad has a more primitive feel with shop after shop filled with wares and prices not always clearly marked and extremely negotiable.

Some interesting, original souvenir items that one may consider taking home are:

  • a keffiyeh, the traditional checkered headpiece of Jordanian men
  • an antique brass tea/coffee pot, distinctly Middle Eastern with its artistic etching and curved spout
  • olive wood carvings of various objects or figures can be purchase nearly everywhere
  • hand-crafted Jordanian daggers
  • hand-made Bedouin-style embroidered clothing

For the coffee lover, Amman's Starbucks locations (Swefieh, Abdoun, Taj Mall, City Mall, Mecca Mall) offer various mugs, tumblers, and to-go cups with distinctive Jordanian and Middle Eastern flair.

Those who crave gourmet coffee have a number of choices along Rainbow St. off of First Circle in Jabal Amman with other shops sprinkled throughout the city.

Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, liquor, etc.), can be purchased in liquor stores across the city. Most are distinguishable by an advertisement for Amstel or some like beverage outside. There are also bars up and down Rainbow St. in Jabal Amman and throughout Abdoun. Drinking age is 18 but some bars/cafes might card you and admit 21+ customers only.


Shopping areas

  • The Balad An area of extreme frenzy 8AM-8PM. Take a walk through the narrow alleyways and corners and negotiate (haggle) the price with friendly vendors. A maze of streets with everything from a fruit market to spices, souvenirs, clothes, hardware. Drink a cool glass of Sugar Cane juice, watch the talented young men make artistic sand designs inside the glass bottles, go and smoke a shisha (hubbly bubbly) in any of the numerous street cafes. Enjoy some tasty falafel in the famous Hashem cafe, enjoy a mansaf dish at Jerusalem restaurant or a nice slice of tasty Kanafe from Habibeh sweets. Busy crowded streets with the real taste of Jordan. Visit the Husseini Mosque, Darwish Mosque, Roman Theatre, Citadel, spice markets, or if adventurous have a wander around the Friday Bird and animal market and the second hand market on a Friday morning. Walk to Rainbow street and enjoy a different side of Amman. Visit the Duke of Mukhyber's residence on the main street. Lot's of small cafes and roof terraces to enjoy the atmosphere. Visit the new Museum or catch a music recital or performance at the Hussain Culture Centre. Lot's to do in Wastel Ballad - Downtown Amman.
  • Souk - Afghani - Yemeni - and lots of others
  • Malls - City Mall is currently Jordan's biggest shopping mall. All the usual international brands are present. Mecca Mall is another big mall on Mecca Street (not far—about a 15-minute walk—from the City Mall; there's an ACE Hardware store). Baraka Mall- Sweifiyeh for those seeking indulgence and the odd $500 to spare - all designer names. Majdi Mall for those with the common feel - located near University of Jordan towards Sweileh.
  • Wakalat Street A new street with big western stores. Mostly clothes, furniture, sport. A traffic free street with open areas for sitting and walking.
  • Sharia Rainbow - Rainbow Street - A cobblestone street just down from First Circle that is populated with small antique stores, clothing, restaurants, sheesha tea shops and the well-known Falafel al-Quds, reputedly the "best" Falafel in the Middle East (some Saudi's even financed the opening of one in Saudi Arabia). Further down the street you will find a small park that overlooks the city. Further still on a side street, during the warmer months, is a side-walk flea market. At the end of this street and down some stairs you will find Wild Jordan.

Restaurants

Amman features many different styles of restaurants, from traditional Middle Eastern fare to more familiar Western fast food and franchises. Prices range from ultra-cheap to moderate, depending on one's taste buds. For those on a budget, Arabic food is very affordable and can be obtained everywhere.

Arabic food generally consists of several general basic groups. Meat dishes will generally consist of lamb or chicken; beef is more rare and pork is never offered. Shwarma, which is cooked lamb meat with a special sauce rolled in piece of flat bread, is a local favorite. Rice and flat bread are typical sides to any meal. Jordan's speciality, mansaf, is a delicious lamb and rice meal, typically eaten with one's hands. Arabs serve plenty of cucumbers and tomatoes, many times accompanied by a plain white yoghurt condiment. Another favorite is chick pea-based foods such as falafel, hummus, and fuul. One of Amman's most famous local foods restaurant is Hashem, located in down-town Amman and you can have a lunch or dinner there for no more than 1.500 JD which is very low compared to other restaurants in Amman. This restaurant is one of the favourites of the Royal family and you will see a lot of photographs of the Royal family of Jordan dining at this restaurant. Nearby, there is Habeebah, which serves traditional east Mediterranean sweets such as baklava, but is most famous for serving a traditional dessert known as knafeh nabelseyyeh in reference to its origin from the Palestinian city of Nables.

The allegedly best shawerma in Amman is found in the street-side kiosk called Shawermat Reem, at the 2nd Circle. It is very famous and there are even lines at 2AM It is a must to eat from this place and is very cheap.

Lebnani snack is a great place to eat Middle Eastern sandwiches, delicious ice cream and cocktails.

  • La Maison Verte - impressive French restaurant, with excellent food and excellent ambience. A must go to place. Moderate to pricey, but it's worth it; the atmosphere alone is worth it, it's quite fancy yet very cozy. Their house specialities include "Entrecote", various steaks and a variety of sea food.
  • Levant is a very comfortable restaurant with excellent service, excellent English and excellent food. They serve "gourmet" Arabic food, which means fresh local ingredients in surprising and delicious combinations. For more information you can view their website (http://www.levantjo.com/). They are located in Jabal Amman, 3rd Circle Behind Le Royal Hotel, Tel : 46 28 948
  • Cantaloupe - is a fairly trendy restaurant and cocktail bar with terrace impressively overlooking the city. Salads and fish are good, steaks are excellent. Regional and local wines are remarkably good. Service is excellent and unobtrusive. A little loud as the evening progresses.

Contact details: 10 Rainbow Street, 1 Juqa Street Jabal Amman Mobile: +962 7777 333 33 Telefax: +962 6 46 56 561

  • Fakhr al Din+962 6 4652399. 40 Taha Hussein, st Jabal. - when going from 1st to 2nd circle, turn right after the Iraqi embassy. Following that, turn right at the end of this street, go past the lot on your left and then turn left again. "Fakhr al Din" is written in Arabic on the wall of last building on the block (فخر الدين). A real classical of Amman's Lebanese-oriented restaurant. Quite pricey but worth it, especially if you're in the terrace on a warm evening. For local wine, try their "Gerasa" red wine. Reservation highly advised. Cost is around 15 to 30jd for a complete meal. Great place, but beware of waiters who deliver unordered food to your table. Don't accept anything you don't order.
  • Kan Zaman - impressive medieval castle on a hilltop turned into a beautiful restaurant. The place is worth the visit. The food is pretty basic but ok. Ask for their local "Kan Zaman" red wine. Hopefully, the prices are not proportional to the size of the hall. It's a bit difficult to get there as it is around 10 km south of amman. On the highway to the airport, you'll see a sign. Leave the highway, go under the bridge and follow the small road.
  • Noodasia - my treat. Nothing to do with Arabic food though, as the menu handles the whole map of Asia, from Thailand to China, through Japan (good sushis) and Indonesia. Nice place, excellent service and good food for the money, but no alcohol served. It's located on Abdoun Circle, in front of the Big Fellow pub.
  • [email protected] - a beautiful old house turned into the then-first bookstore/internet/cafe. Opened in the year 2000 and a hot spot ever since. This cafe is on Rainbow street overlooking all of the old city (Balad) and has two wonderful terraces with the best views in Amman. Boasting a very funky interior in contrast with the classical exterior, this cafe offers lite fare, water pipes (argheeleh), wine, beer and the best pizza in Amman. Free wireless network and three internet terminals. A must see.
  • Popeyes - the best fast food restaurant in Amman. It serves the best fried chicken "cajun our way". But what makes it different than other fried chicken restaurants is its lovely mashed potatoes served with hot gravy sauce, makes you want to swim in it. Also they serve a creamy cushiony baked biscuits. A must go place.
  • Grappa (around the corner from Fakhr Al Din, close to 2. circle),  +962 463 8212, e-mail: . Restaurant and lounge bar with great steaks and good wine. JD 10 for mains.
  • Hashem - Near the post office at King Faisal Street, where most of the budget hotels are located, you can ask most of the locals for directions to this cheap and famous local eatery. During meal times, the place is swarming with locals, who are there to eat a cheap and good meal of felafel, houmous and bread. Cost is only about 1.500 JD per person (for felafel, hommous, bread and tea).

And even if you can afford the above-mentioned, do not forget the good surprises coming from the countless shawarma outlets and other very cheap places.

  • Ameer. Located right across from the Hussien Mosque in the old city (Balad). Best place in Amman for falafel sandwiches. The sandwiches are cheap and delicious, 30 piasters. Ask for "shuta" (pronounced, shut-a, with the "a" as in "about", shuta means hot sauce) if you like it spicy. The falafel sandwiches come with french fries in them, tomatoes, parsley, onion, and some hummus. You can also ask for a "batata" sandwich (french fry sandwich), it is AMAZING! I always get one falafel sandwich and one bataba sandwich. It's the best!

Note: If you are a vegetarian, probably you will have to live on bread, felafel, fries, pita bread with hummus moutabal and salads. The salads are really tasty well marinated.

Coffe & Drink

Jordan's national beer is aptly called Petra beer, and there are many liquor shops and kiosks around Amman where you can find it. There are two types: 'black' and 'red', which have 8% and 10% alcohol percentage respectively. The red is usually slightly more expensive than the black, but you should expect to pay 2-2.5JD for a 500 ml (18 imp fl oz; 17 US fl oz) can at a shop. You will often find that bars prefer Amstel and other international brands and do not have Petra beer available.


Traditional Cafes

Living in Amman, the main places people spend time during the evenings are hookah shops.

  • Al-Mawardi (Al-Mawardi Coffee and Hooka Cafe), 15, Siqilya St. (South of Al-Rabia circle), +962 6 5532010. Coffee shop with traditional hookah, a wide selection of coffee and beverages. Offers Backgammon boards but no card games. JD 5 for a coffee and hookah.

Sights & Landmarks

Although the capital of a diverse kingdom, Amman is not what one would call "packed" with things to see, making it a great gateway to explorations further afield. Even so, the city does hold a few items of historical and cultural interest (allow maximum 2 days to see them).

  • Roman Theater. Built during the reign of Antonius Pius, 138-161AD, this impressive theater could seat up to 6,000 people. Next to it are a folklore museum and a popular culture museum which the entrance fee also covers Entrance JD1.
  • Amman Citadel (جبل القلعة, Jabal al-Qal'a). A national historic site at the center of downtown Amman. It's history represents significant civilizations that stretched across continents and prospered for centuries, as one empire gave rise to the next. Settlement at the Citadel extends over 7,000 years.
    • Jordan Archaeological Museum (Located at the citadel). The museum hosts a small but interesting collection of antiquities from all over Jordan. Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls which used to be housed here are now being transferred to the new National Museum of Jordan.
    • Temple of Herakles (Located at the citadel). Roman period remains
    • Byzantine Church (Located at the citadel). dating to the 5th-6th centuries
    • Umayyad Palace (Located at the citadel). Situated in the northern portion of the Citadel, entrance JD2. Offers a great view of Amman.
  • a Roman-era Nymphaeum
  • an Ammonite-era watchtower
  • Darat al Funun or 'small house of the arts' in Jabal el Weibdeh, overlooking the heart of Amman, is housed in three adjacent villas from the 1920s (and the remains of a sixth-century Byzantine church built over a Roman Temple), it has a permanent collection and also holds changing exhibitions. In the same area there are other small art galleries and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.
  • Rainbow St. near the 1st Circle in Jabal Amman is an interesting area to walk around and explore, it is named after the old Rainbow Cinema which is now out of use, but the area has been recently experiencing a revival with many of the old houses being restored and put into use, in the area there are some cafes and bars including [email protected] and Wild Jordan both with great views, a Hammam, the Royal Film Commission which sometimes holds outdoor screenings on its patio and some interesting small shops. Across the street from the British Council on Rainbow St., there is the refreshing Turtle Green Tea Bar where everything is in English and you can borrow a laptop to access the internet while enjoying your snack.

The cultural scene in Amman has seen some increased activities, notably cultural centers and clubs such as Makan House, Al Balad Theater, the Amman Filmmakers Cooperative, Remall, and Zara gallery. Around the 1st of September the Jordan Short Film Festival takes place.

Museums & Galleries

The largest museum in Jordan is The Jordan Museum. It contains much of the valuable archaeological findings in the country, including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Neolithic limestone statues of 'Ain Ghazal, and a copy of the Mesha Stele. Other museums include the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Jordan Archaeological Museum, The Children's Museum Jordan, The Martyrs' Memorial and Museum, the Royal Automobile Museum, the Prophet Mohammad Museum, the Museum of Parliamentary Life, the Jordan Folklore Museum, and museums at the University of Jordan.

Things to do

It is highly advisable to see the sunset from the view point near the Citadel. But pay also your attention to the time of the muezzin call. If you listen to it from the view point, where the whole city lies before you, you get the unforgettable acoustic impression.

Due to accelerated growth the past several decades, the styles of living differs considerably as one travels from east to west throughout Amman. Visitors desiring to experience "Old Amman" should explore the central downtown, or Balad, which features numerous souqs, shops, and street vendors.

Besides touring the city, shopping is also advisible for the traveler. The City Mall is your best bet. The older and huge Mecca Mall aimed at women (walking distance from City Mall), the Abdoun Mall (also aimed at women), and the Plaza Mall are all large shopping centers scattered across Amman; you may also want to check out "Sharia'a Al Wakalat" (Brands Street).

For night clubs and bars visit the cosmopolitan West Amman where many Western and American franchises operate here. The nightlife in Amman is not as vibrant as other Middle Eastern cities like Beirut or Tel Aviv, however, there are a few clubs and bars in Amman.

Abdali, a section of downtown Amman, is being transformed into a modern center for tourists and natives alike. The plan includes a broad pedestrian boulevard where visitors can shop, eat, or do numerous other activities. New office buildings and residential hi-rises are being constructed. "New Abdali" should have been completed by 2010, but was still a large construction site as of early 2011.

Festivals and events

Many events take place in Amman, including Redbull sponsored events, soundclash and soapbox race, the second part of Jerash Festival, Al-Balad Music Festival,Amman Marathon, Made in Jordan Festival, Amman Book Festival and New Think Festival. The New Think Festival is a yearly weekend event that is part of NewThink, a non-profit initiative that aims to inspire youth to think about the world in an innovative way. The festival is one of the many events throughout the year to get youth involved. In 2015 the festival hosted 40 different organizations at King Hussein Business Park in Amman that inspired their audience to be visionary and think differently about the world through presentations and workshops. The variety of organizations included business, environmental, medical and educational groups.

Nightlife

The majority of Amman's pubs and night clubs can be found in West Amman.

  • Picadelli Pub (At Abdali Bus Station). Friendly place that serves alcohol, food, and complimentary snacks JD 3 for beer and wine.
  • La Calle - Located on Rainbow street, this multi-level bar is known for its half-price happy hour specials.
  • Jafra (Right across from the post office on King Faisal Street (near Hashems). It is upstairs from the DVD store of the same name.). A great spot right in the heart of the downtown area. It has an old, rustic feel to it with more young locals than tourists. They have a great selection of nargileh (water pipe) and the entire menu is reasonably priced. Expect to pay about 10JD for dinner, including an appetizer, kebab, fresh juice and nargileh. Live music starts at 9PM most night. There is another one near Paris circle in Jebel Al Webdeh

Things to know


Respect

Jordan is a majority Muslim country with a large Christian population too. Jordanian people are mostly very welcoming to any foreign visitors. Women should wear fairly conservative clothing if visiting religious sites.

While Jordan is a generally free and tolerant country avoid discussing sensitive topics with casual acquaintances or strangers such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or making negative comments about the Jordanian royal family.


Lifestyle

Amman is considered one of the most liberal and westernized cities in the Arab world. The city has become one of the most popular destinations for Western expatriates and college students who seek to live, study, or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general. The city's culinary scene has changed from its shawerma stands and falafel joints to embrace many popular western restaurants and fast-food outlets such as Asian fusion restaurants, French bistros and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expatriates and Persian Gulf tourists.

Large shopping malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including the Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Shopping Center, Avenue Mall, and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali (under construction). Wakalat Street ("Agencies Street") is Amman's first pedestrian-only street and carries a lot of name-label clothes. The Sweifieh area is considered to be the main shopping district of Amman.

Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges are present across Amman, changing the city's old image as the conservative capital of the kingdom. This burgeoning new nightlife scene is shaped by Jordan's young population. In addition to the wide range of drinking and dancing venues on the social circuit of the city's affluent crowd, Amman hosts cultural entertainment events, including the annual Amman Summer Festival. Souk Jara is a Jordanian annual weekly flea market event that occurs every Friday throughout the summer. Abdoun Circle is a major centre of the city's nightlife where clubs maintain a strict "couples only" policy. Sweifieh is considered to be the unofficial red-light district of Amman as it holds most of the city's nightclubs, bars, strip-clubs, massage parlors, and other adult entertainment venues. Jabal Amman and Jabal al-Weibdeh are home to many pubs and bars as well, making the area popular among bar hoppers.

Alcohol is widely available in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and supermarkets. There are numerous nightclubs and bars across the city, especially in West Amman. As of 2011, there were 77 registered nightclubs in Jordan (excluding bars and pubs), overwhelmingly located in the capital city. There are 222 registered liquor stores in Amman 

Safety in Amman

Stay Safe

Compared with other capital cities, Amman is a very safe place to visit. Jordanian police and the military maintain a tight grip on law and order. Personal safety is high in Amman - it is safe to walk anywhere in the city at any time of day or night. Serious crime is extremely rare. In 2005, some major hotels were targeted by bombers (connected with the conflict in Iraq). Security measures at all major hotels were increased as a result.

Jordan is a majority Muslim country with a large Christian population too. Jordanian people are mostly very welcoming to any foreign visitors. Women should wear fairly conservative clothing if visiting religious sites.

While Jordan is a generally free and tolerant country avoid discussing sensitive topics with casual acquaintances or strangers such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or making negative comments about the Jordanian royal family.

Very High / 8.5

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 6.0

Safety (Walking alone - night)

Jordan - Travel guide

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