Amman Citadel

K. Ali Ben Al-Hussein St. 146, Amman, Jordan

Most visitors comment that Amman feels very much like a modern city, but the Citadel, on the summit of Jebel al-Qala’a, contradicts that impression. Here, you’ll find extensive remnants of Amman’s many incarnations, from the great columns of the Roman-era Temple of Hercules to a Byzantine church and a large, Umayyad-era palace with a well-preserved audience hall. More than a mile of ancient walls stretches around the site in various states of repair. Even if Amman’s layered history isn’t your thing, it’s worth coming up here for the vistas. Perched on Amman’s highest point, the Citadel offers sweeping views of the city, with its white-stone houses creeping in regimented rows across the surrounding hills. It’s a truly awesome sight, especially in late afternoon and at sunset.

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If Amman has a single highlight, it is the Citadel in the heart of the city, where humans have lived since the Neolithic age. Under the Greeks the settlement was called Philadelphia. The stunning, elegant Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules dominate the site, along with a Byzantine church and the domed 8th-century Umayyad Palace. The Jordan Archaeological Museum is a must-stop for the 10,000-year-old ‘Ain Ghazal Neolithic statues.

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