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Amman (عمان), the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley. In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city’s much older past. Due to the city’s modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost uniformly white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone. The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewelry to everyday household items. The people of Amman are multi-cultural, multi-denominational, well-educated and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.
West Amman is a lively, modern city. The eastern part of the city, where the majority of Amman's residents live, is predominantly the residential area of the working class and is much older than the west. While possessing few sites itself, Amman makes a comfortable base from which to explore the northwestern parts of the country.
There are a number of renovations and excavations taking place that have revealed remains from the Neolithic period, as well as from the Hellenistic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages. The site which is known as the Citadel includes many structures such as the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. At the foot of the Citadel lies the 6,000 seat Roman Theater, which is a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and is still being used for cultural events. Another newly restored theater is the 500-seat Odeon that is used for concerts. The three museums found in the area offer a glimpse of history and culture; they are the Jordan Archaeological Museum, The Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Traditions.
Hosted by an independent theatre company in March every year, the Amman International Theatre Festival brings together some of the rawest and freshest talent from around Jordan. Taking on somewhat of a competitive format, each performer has the chance to showcase their skills in English or Arabic.
Amman is less hot than places more south in the country, mainly because of its elevation. In winter, frost and snow are not uncommon and in summer the dry heat is bearable. Best times to visit are probably spring and autumn, when temperatures are pleasantly warm and you avoid the wetter wintermonths as well. Summer is dry and usually warm to hot. Extremes have been recorded of 40 °C or more. Average highs are around 30 °C, while in winter most days are well above 10 °C.
|Avg Max||12.3 °C||13.7 °C||17.2 °C||22.6 °C||27.8 °C||30.8 °C||32 °C||32.4 °C||30.7 °C||27.1 °C||20.4 °C||14.4 °C|
|Avg Min||3.6 °C||4.2 °C||6.1 °C||9.5 °C||13.5 °C||16.6 °C||18.5 °C||18.6 °C||16.6 °C||13.8 °C||9.3 °C||5.2 °C|
|Rainfall||63.4 mm||61.7 mm||43.1 mm||13.7 mm||3.3 mm||0 mm||0 mm||0 mm||0.3 mm||6.6 mm||28 mm||49.2 mm|
Royal Jordanian Airlines is the national airline with many destinations served from Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), 32 kilometres south of Amman. Destinations are as far away as New York, but most flights are to major cities in the Middle East and Europe. Asian destinations include Bangkok and Hong Kong. Dozens of other airlines (mostly regional) fly to the airport as well. Buses and taxis serve the airport all day, with buses operating every half hour to Amman. A new rail line is being constructed that will link Queen Alia International Airport with central and downtown Amman. Domestic flights are an option you don't really need with travelling times overland just a matter of several hours, but travelling between Amman and Aqaba could be done with Royal Jordanian Airlines.
A twice weekly train travel between the capital of Syria, Damascus, and Amman. The train leaves both places on Mondays and Thursdays at 8:00am and take 9 hours to complete the schedule. Although slower than buses and shared taxis, this train ride comes as a welcome alternative for train fanatics.
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.
A taxi to/from the Palestinian border crossing bridge can cost 25 JD and takes one hour, depending on which of the three border crossing points you use.
Buses, minibuses and shared taxis ply the national routes and destinations include Madaba and Aqaba. International destinations include Damascus and even further away crossing Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates.
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 Palestinian border bridge costs 7.5 JOD and takes about 1 hour. (Keep in mind that though the Allenby Bridge crosses from Jordan to the West Bank, the checkpoint on the western side is operated by Israel, and plan your travel documents accordingly.) Once at the border crossing, you must switch to another bus to cross over the bridge, pass through the checkpoint, then hire a shared taxi from the border. Expect travel from Amman to the old city of Jerusalem to take at least 3 hours.
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.
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.
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 2:00am 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.
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.
The majority of Amman's pubs and night clubs can be found in West Amman.
Amman has the full range of accommodation options from very basic 1 star accommodation to luxurious 5 star facilities.
|Abbasi Palace Hotel||Quraish Str Down town - old city||HOTEL||-|
|Bdeiwi Hostel & Hotel||Down Town, Al-Khyyam Street (Behand Orange Telecom)||Hostel||-|
|Cameo Hotel||Amman Forth Circle||Hotel||-|
|Canary Hotel||Jabal Al Weibdeh||Hotel||-|
|Caravan||Jabal Al Waibdeh||Hotel||67|
|Cliff Hotel||Jordan- Amman - Down Town Prince Mohammed st-front off hashem restorant||Hotel||82|
|Darotel||5 Ibn Sayyeda Str. Shmeisani||Hotel||-|
|Farah Hotel||Down town cinema on Alhussein St behind Arab Bank||Hostel||79|
|Hotel Hisham||Abu Firas Al Hamadani, Jabal, 11183 Amman||Hotel||-|
|Mansour Hotel||Amman - Down Town King Faisal St||Hostel||91|
|New Park Hotel||Amman King Hussein Str Opposit Old Court||Hotel||78|
|Palace Hotel||King Faisal st||Hotel||-|
|Sun Rise Hotel||king hussein street abdali sta||Hotel||69|
|Sydney Hostel||Amman - Down town Prince Mohammad street||Hotel||-|
|Toledo Hotel||Al Razi Street Jabal Al Hussein,po box 927335||Hotel||83|
|Amman Palace||Zraikat complex - Sakife al sa||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Bellevue Amman||840385 Amman||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Region||Dahiet Alrasheed||Hotel||-|
|Alarz Hotel||2 Al Zamakhshari||Hotel||-|
|Arab Tower Hotel (Burj Al Arab)||Downtown, Al Hashimi Street||Hotel||-|
|le vendome hotel||Shmeisani Issam Ajlouni Street||Hotel||-|
|Dove Hotel||16 Riyad Al Mefleh Street. Jabbal Amman 4th Circle||HOTEL||-|
|Jordan Tower Hostel||Hashmiyeh Street Amman||Hostel||83|
|Torwada Hotel||Downtown AL Reeda St Amman||Hotel||70|
|Asri Hotel||Jordan - Amman Behind AL-Hussein Mosque||Hotel||-|
|Asia Hotel||Saqf Al-Sail St||Hotel||-|
|Nihal Hotel||Talal St. Near Al-Hannini Restaurant||Hotel||-|
|MerryLand Hotel||Amman - Abdali - king hussein street||Hotel||48|
|Coral Sadeen Amman Hotel||Wasfi Al-Tal (Gardens) St. - Amman - Khalda||Hotel||-|
|Normas Hotel||Amman-Downtown-King Faisal Street||HOTEL||60|
|Mamaya Hotel||Downtown King Hussein Street||Hotel||50|
|Nefertiti Hotel||26 Jahed ST.shmissani opposite Ambassador Hotel Amman Nearby Kimpinski Hotel||HOTEL||-|
|AL-Houriat Hotel||Quraish St Amman Down Town||HOTEL||-|
|Roman Theatre Hotel Amman||Amman-Down Town- opposite the Roman Amphitheatre Amman||HOTEL||-|
|AL Saleh Hotel||Prince Moh. Street||HOTEL||-|
|Riviera Hotel Amman||King Hussein Street Opposite Jerusalem Restaurant||HOTEL||-|
|Amman Pasha Hotel||Shabsoug Street Building number 4||HOTEL||-|
|The Boutique Hotel Amman||AMMAN DOWN TOWN PRINCE MOHAMAD STREET NEAR POST OFFICE BUILDING 32 ,SECOUND FLOOR||Hotel||81|
|Almonzer Hotel||alabdale amman-alabdale street||Hotel||-|
|Raghadan Hotel||Hashmi Street Downtown||HOTEL||-|
|Orient Prince Hotel||Alhashimi Street 1118 Downtown||HOTEL||-|
|Amman House Hotel Apartment 2||University Street||HOTEL||-|
|Cairo Hotel Amman||Downtown - King Faisal Street opposite Arab Bank||HOTEL||-|
|Sultan Hotel||Salah Eldeen St Amman Down Town Opposite Sabel Alhouriat||Hotel||-|
|Corp Executive Hotel Amman||Queen Alia Street||Hotel||-|
|Kahramana Hotel||Behind Raghadan Tourist complex, Down Town||HOTEL||-|
There are numerous universities one can study in. Irbid, Madaba, and Aqaba also hold many educational institutes for foreigners. Jordan's universities are world-renowned and respected for their hospitality and methods of instruction.
Jordan is relatively well connected to the internet compared to many other countries in the Middle East. Internet cafes are all around Jordan and range from 1- 2 JD for half an hour. Wifi is getting more and more popular in Jordan, but is not very common everywhere. In larger places, you find free wifi and some coffee places and restaurants. Hotels tend to charge for wifi, but not always, so check beforehand.
See also International Telephone Calls
Jordan's international country code is 962. The emergency numbers include 112 and 911, you can use them both.
Most of Jordan has mobile coverage. There are three mobile operators: Zain - the first and largest mobile provider, Orange and Umniah. You can buy SIM cards at any of these providers and if you are planning to make international calls, use Umniah as they are the cheapeast. Otherwise Zain is the better choice of mostly domestic calls. Using your own SIM in Jordan can be expensive, especially for internet.
Card-based temporary numbers can be purchased at the airport or any mobile shop for JOD5. These numbers can be subsequently recharged with a prepaid card starting at only JOD1. Temporary "throw away" phones can be bought at many mobile phone shops across the country for around JOD20-30, but a Jordanian must buy the phone before possession can be transferred to you.
Jordan Post runs the postal services in the country. It has fairly reliable and cheap services and international post usually takes several days up to a week or more for countries further away. Opening hours of post offices are mostly between 7:00am and 5:00pm Saturday to Thursday and 7:00am to 1:00pm on Friday, although this depends whether it's a main city or smaller villages. In summer, there might be slighty longer opening hours. For larger packages, it might work out cheaper and certainly faster to use international courier services, including DHL, FedEx, TNT or UPS for example.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Amman searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Amman and areas nearby.
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