Unfairly neglected by travellers eager to retrace the footsteps of Indiana Jones in Petra or float in the muddy waters of the Dead Sea, Amman is Jordan’s best-kept secret. With mouth-watering cuisine, a dynamic art scene and the heart-warming hospitality of its residents, the city should undoubtedly be included in your travel plans as it allows you to acquire a first-hand insight into Jordan’s daily life and culture. Follow these 5 top tips to make the most out of your stay in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Climb up to Jabal al-Qal’a and learn everything about the glorious past of the city
As one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Amman has always been a crossroads of ancient civilizations whose impressive vestiges can be found on the top of Jabal al-Qal’a, the capital’s highest hill; here, a complex of remains including the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad Palace gives life to Amman Citadel. This open-air museum is your perfect introduction to Jordan’s history.
Savour the genuine flavours of Jordan
With a wide range of dining options, Amman is a foodies heaven; from freshly-baked flatbread to tasty shawarma and smooth velvety baba ghanoush, the local cuisine can satisfy the most demanding palates while suiting all budgets. Eat your way through Downtown with a stop at Hashem Restaurant and feel like a local in this popular, family-run eatery by ordering their creamy hummus and crispy falafel. Indulge your sweet tooth with a slice of knafeh at nearby Habibah sweets. If you are looking for fine dining, instead, book your table at Soufra; the elegant décor and the atmosphere of the past combined with its mansaf to die for, make this traditional Jordanian restaurant the perfect choice for an unforgettable dinner in trendy Rainbow Street.
Discover the capital’s creative side by roaming its art galleries
Amman has gradually become one of the most active hubs for artistic expression in the Middle East. The artworks of local and regional artists, ranging from visual productions to classic Arab art forms and surprising installations, are regularly showcased in the city’s trailblazing galleries. For art connoisseurs, a visit to Darat Al Funun, The Khalid Shoman Foundation is imperative; promoting Arab talent since 1988, this creativity haven can be considered the heart of Amman’s cultural life.
Explore Downtown, the Eastern soul of Amman
Known by Jordanians as Al-Balad (The City), Downtown is the historic center of the capital; groups of seniors gather in the area to play backgammon while sipping cardamom coffee, the hypnotic chant of the muezzin echoes from the minarets and the scent of spices inebriates the sense, providing the visitors a snapshot into the most authentic Jordanian life. Make sure to wander through its bustling markets, try local street food and buy hand-made souvenirs before boarding your flight back home.
Embrace the local café culture
Throughout the years, Amman has developed a thriving café scene aiming to cater to the most sophisticated tastes. Head to Rainbow street and get your daily dose of caffeine at quirky Books@Café, join a crowd of young professionals, students and artists for an afternoon tea at cozy Rumi Café and enjoy a refreshing juice from Shams El Balad Café’s rooftop terrace.
Amman is, therefore, a destination not to be missed; for additional information regarding how to get there, where to stay and what to do visit the Official Website of the Jordan Tourism Board: www.visitjordan.com