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Introduction

Irbid is the capital and largest city of the Irbid Governorate. It also has the second largest metropolitan population in Jordan after Amman, with a population of around 660,000, and is located about 70 kilometres north of Amman on the northern ridge of the Gilead, equidistant from Pella, Beit Ras (Capitolias), and Um Qais.

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Sights and Activities

There is not much to see in the town of Irbid, but from there you can go on and visit several ancient sites around the city.

  • Irbid Citadel (right in the centre). 08:00-19:00.
  • St. George Latin Church (west of the citadel), ☎ +962 2 727 2314.
  • Clock Tower (south of the citadel).
  • Museum of Jordanian Heritage, Yarmouk University (driving from Amman, turn left at the roundabout by the stadium, then right after 500 metres (around the stadium), and you will see an entrance about 500 metres on the left, with a museum sign. Check in with the officers at the gate and they will direct you to the museum, which is part of the University's Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.), ☎ +962 27211111. Yarmouk University campus - considered by many the finest archeological museum in the country, designed in partnership with the German government.
  • Natural History Museum, Yarmouk University (also inside the university, the museum is located in the green hangar #23.). Daily 10:00-17:00/15:00 winter/summer. Exhibits Jordanian fauna and flora. Worth a visit.
  • Irbid Archaeological Museum (Dar As-Saraya), Department of Antiquities building, Al-Ma'amun Street, ☎ +962 2 724 5613. Sa-Th 08:00-14:00.

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Weather

Irbid has a warm Mediterranean climate with high desert influences. Temperatures range from around 14 °C in winter to over 30 °C in summer, though might drop below freezing during some nights in winter and can be as high as 40 °C in summer. Precipitation average almost 500 mm a year, with most of that falling from November till March.

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Getting There

By Plane

The nearest airports is in Amman, about 1.5 hours away.

By Car

Ordinary cabs, recognized by their yellow or beige colour, are more expensive. But many of them have air conditioning, so they might be worth a try in the summertime.

By Bus

To get to Irbid you have to start out from (Tabrbor) Transport Terminal in Amman. Buses to Irbid cost from 1 JD. From the same terminal, the more comfortable coaches run by Hijazi Buses Co. cost 2.10 JD and are more direct as they do not stop between Amman and Irbid.

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Getting Around

You can get anywhere in Irbid by taking one of the many yellow or beige coloured taxi cabs. Unlike in Amman, in Irbid it is rare for a taxi to use the meter, even if you insist. Taxi rides in Irbid will typically be a set cost in increments of 0.5 JD, and you should negotiate the price before you depart. You can also take a "service" taxi or a bus, which have scheduled routes and can drop you off on the way. Ask the locals about the routes, because a) there are no regular departure time tables, and b) buses and taxi cabs wait up to take enough passengers in before taking off. You should not pay more than 0.20 JD.

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Eat

Try Al-Manqal, on University street, which serves decent grills and the usual Middle Eastern fare. You can also try Arabella and Al-Saadi. All of these serve the usual Middle Eastern grills, rice, hummus, and tabbulah. They're relatively cheap, especially for western visitors.

You will find all kinds of Arabic food to enjoy. If you want to eat like the locals, buy felafel sandwiches or hummus from one of the numerous small delicatessen shops. There are also many shawarma restaurants. All of these are very cheap: Shawarma sandwich: 60 piasters; felafel sandwich: 20 piasters; hummus dish to go: 40 piasters.

Finally, McDonald's is close to University Street Roundabout and Yarmouk University. For fast food, there are also Quick Burger, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's and other places, all on University Street.

If you're looking for something in particular to eat, ask the local residents where you can find a food establishment that serves it.

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Drink

There are no pubs or bars in Irbid. You can, however, find numerous liquor stores in downtown Irbid. These are mainly Christian-run enterprises, open to everyone, and they sell both domestic and international alcohol and beer, at reasonable prices (although you should always ask about prices before buying).

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Sleep

  • Irbid Plaza Hotel, University Street (Right at the junction of University and Pr. Muhammad Street), ☎ +962 2 724 7043. Rated higher than Al-Joud/Joude, though not high end. Double 37 JD.
  • Al-Joud Hotel (Joude Hotel), Al Jamaa Street, ☎ +962 2 727 5515. This hotel is most frequented by western visitors, close to University Street "circle". Always agree on prices before checking in. Many Israelis and Israeli Arabs use the hotel. For security reasons, a police guard has been posted there recently. Prices are relatively reasonable; so, if you can afford it, go ahead and check in because you won't find alternatives of the same standard in Irbid. Double 50 JD.

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 12:51 on Mar 19, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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