Jabal al Qala`، Yemen
From Hot to Heavenly in AmmanCitadel Hill, or Jabal el Qala in Arabic, lords over the sizzling, noisy city of Amman, Jordan. Standing on that hill feels like being on top of the world. All of Amman spreads out below the mount. The hill is an expansive plain, gently sloped, peppered with powerful stone pillars; the remains of some of the largest structures from the ancient world. Today, most of the monuments lay in jumbled ruin. I was climbing around the stones in the late afternoon, exploring the Roman ruins of the Temple to Hercules. Almost all the other visitors had gone. The sun began to set, the moon appeared, and the air became cooler. Gentle sounds filled the sky in all directions as the muezzins’ nasal, singsong chants broadcasted from minarets all over the city. What an extraordinarily beautiful moment. As evening fell, I stood in the dusty ruins, bathed in the mystical sounds of the Muslim call to prayer. The Citadel Hill is reached by a quick taxi ride from anywhere in Amman. Check what time the entrance gate is scheduled to close, or else you might have to beg the guard to let you in (like I did). Plan on a self-directed visit with minimal signage. Good idea to ask the taxi driver to wait.