Today you’ll jump into Jordanian cuisine with an authentic lunch at Vait Khayra Souf. But you’ll start with breakfast at your hotel and work up an appetite as you tour Amman’s historic sites. First up is the Amman Citadel, the walled fortress atop the tallest of the city’s many hills. While much of Amman was built in the 20th century, its roots date back to the Bronze Age, and every civilization that has ruled the city has left its mark. The Temple of Hercules and the amphitheater—along with its smaller sister, the Odeon—are the most notable landmarks left by the Romans, while portions of an Umayyad palace remain from the days when that caliphate ruled the Muslim world.
You’ll continue on to the Jordan Museum
, a vast archaeological museum that opened in 2014. The many layers of Jordan’s history can be hard to follow, but your Insight travel director can help guide you through more than a million years of history. Your guide will also steer you to the most important artifacts, like some of the Dead Sea scrolls housed here.
Your next stop will be at Iraq Al Amir, a village to the west of Amman. Here, you’ll meet with representatives from the Women’s Cooperative
, an organization that’s provided training to women in some 150 villages throughout Jordan. They learn to make and sell traditional crafts at the gift shop, helping to preserve local handicrafts while providing income to rural families.
The women of the cooperative, which is located in 10 historic farmhouses, will share the history of the organization: founded in 1993, it’s the oldest such cooperative in Jordan. You’ll see pottery, weaving, and paper- and soap-making workshops, then have an opportunity to purchase unique handcrafted souvenirs like ceramic dishes inspired by the fruits that grow in the village’s orchards or a traditional olive oil soap.
The final stop today is the town of Jerash
, roughly an hour north of Amman. The earliest signs of human settlement at Jerash are from around 3200 B.C.E., but the so-called “city of a thousand columns” is best known for its Hellenistic and Roman theaters, temples, baths, and other buildings. You can enter the city through the 43-foot-tall triumphal arch erected for an earlier visitor, Emperor Hadrian, and wander the ruins of the temples of Zeus and Artemis. The latter is famous for its “whispering columns,” where, if one stands in the middle of the temple and whispers, the sound is amplified as it reverberates throughout the space. You can follow in the footsteps of Roman settlers by visiting the unusual oval-shaped forum or by walking a portion of the Cardio Maximus, the city’s major Roman road. Despite a devastating earthquake in the 8th century C.E., the ruins at Jerash remain the most extensive and best-preserved Roman ones outside of Italy.