The capital of Jordan is no raving beauty like pre-war Damascus nor is it bustling like Istanbul. However it is a very nice city. People are friendly and willing to help you. And nobody bothers you. Not even when you are a women by yourself is what Mrs. Villager found out. She shares her Amman tips.
1. The souk
“Welcome to Jordan!” People greet me friendly while I am going over the market. Amman doesn’t have a mysterious and pretty souk like Damascus in the old days, so you hardly ever find it under tips. A pity because this souk is a fun and friendly one.
There are a few streets with a lot of small shops but for the untrained eye it probably looks more like a shopping area than a traditional market. You find Amman’s souk in Al-Balad, the old part of Amman. Here you can buy the traditional coffee pots and the camel bags.
And you smell the herbs for the traditional dishes like Mansaf. Around the King Hussein mosque there is the fruit and vegetable market where you can order a fresh juice. By all means, enter the shops, especially the ones selling herbs.
From our experience every one likes you to taste the different herbs used in Jordan cooking and before you know it they start explaining how to prepare typical meal.
While you are at the market don’t forget to look up now and again. Above your head there some great coffee places with small iron balconies located The most famous one was the one of the Arab League, unfortunately it is no longer there.
2. The Citadel
The citadel lies on the Jebel al-Qa’la hill and is a great place for views. If you are new to the city it is also a good place to start exploring the town. Nine thousand years ago there were already settlements in this area.
Here you find the temple of Hercules, built in the time of Marcellus Aurelius when the Roman empire went as far as Petra and beyond. There is also a small archaeological museum that exhibits items from the area.
What I found intriguing is that I learned that they already performed medical treatements in the Bronze Age by drilling in skulls.
According to the sign next to it, the patiént did not survive the second treatment. From the citadel you can walk down to the Roman amphitheater.
When you walk the streets you would never guess that Amman is a very trendy city as soon as it gets dark. Amman is hip & happening at night. Young people go out to lounge bars like Ghoroub on the 13th floor of the Landmark hotel. It is the place where they celebrate birthdays with their children or bachelor party’s.
Waiters run around to get wine form the cellar or to keep the water pipes going. the window are open and you have a wonderful view over the illuminated city. Alcohol is being served in many places in Amman but keep in mind that the prices are high because of the alcohol tax.
Rainbowstreet is fun for two reasons: it offers bars and a nice bookshop Books @ Café but the area also houses some historical villa’s worth noticing. Books at, as the bookstore is called, is a bar, a hipster lounge and a bookshop.
The area around Rainbowstreet was very wanted after the earth quake of 1927 by politicians like the father of former king Hussein and the Brit Glubb Pasja who got Jordan patrols in the dessert and who was more popular than Lawrence of Arabia. Their (former) villa’s can be found around Rainbowstreet.
Where the street goes down you have really nice views over the other hills. On Fawzi Malouf Straat you find Wild Jordan, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). They have a café with great views and good salads.
5. Cooking at Beit Sitti
Do you want to get to know the Jordan cuisine and learn how to cook it? Go for a workshop to Beit Sitti. Cook Maria teaches you in the former house of her grandmother everything about baking bread, making mezze ( Arab tapa’s) a main course and a dessert.
After you have cooked your lunch or dinner you enjoy the meal on the romantic terrace with great views of Amman.
Images: Jordan Tourism Board