Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, 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. Amman’s neighborhoods are diverse and range in cultural and historical context from hustle and bustle of the downtown markets to the art galleries of Jabal Lweibdeh and the modern shopping district of Abdali.
If a journey through history is what you’re looking for then the best place to start would be the Citadel. Located on a hill it gives visitors a glimpse into the evolution of Amman and provides stunning views of downtown Amman. Among the sites you can’t afford to miss at the Citadel are the Umayyad Palace complex, the Temple of Hercules and the Byzantine Church.
This summer street market in Jabal Amman is open on Fridays, during the summer months, and includes stalls selling local wares, pop-up cafes, street food and live performances from local bands and musicians. If you’re in Amman during the summer, you can’t miss out on this family friendly activity!
Built in 191 AD, it was once a large two-story complex with fountains, mosaics, stone carvings and possibly a 600 square meter swimming pool.
HIJAZ RAILWAY STATION
View the great collection of working steam locomotives, formerly used for as part of a pilgrimage route connecting the Ottoman Empire to Saudi Arabia and an intrinsic part of the Great Arab Revolt in 1918. For more of an in-depth look at the history of the station make sure to visit the onsite museum.
The Jordan Museum is located in the dynamic new downtown area of Ras al-‘Ayn. Presenting the history and cultural heritage of Jordan in a series of beautifully designed galleries, The Jordan Museum serves as a comprehensive national center for learning and knowledge that reflects Jordan’s history and culture, and presents in an engaging yet educational way the Kingdom’s historic, antique and heritage property as part of the ongoing story of Jordan’s past, present, and future.
Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese families built the houses that form Darat al Funun. They are a living memory of the history of Jordan and the shared history of the Bilad al Sham. Darat al Funun today is an oasis for the arts overlooking the crowded downtown area of the old city of Amman. Along with visiting the Darat’s contemporary art exhibitions, many come to admire Amman’s traditional architecture, attend events in the archaeological site, read a book in their art library, or take a walk in the gardens.
KING HUSSEIN BIN TALAL MOSQUE
The King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque, named after the late King, is the largest mosque in the Kingdom. Its architecture reflects the Umayyad style prevalent in several sites in Jordan.
GRAND HUSSEINI MOSQUE
The mosque was built by the late King Abdullah I in 1924 on the site of a much older mosque. It’s conveniently located downtown near the traditional souqs and street food vendors.
KING ABDULLAH I MOSQUE
Built as a memorial by the Late King Hussein to his grandfather, the unmistakable blue-domed mosque can ost up to 7000 worshippers inside and another 3000 in the courtyard area.
Beit Sitti offers a special cooking experience where tourists and locals can learn how to prepare a traditional Arabic meal side by side by attending unique training courses which can last for several hours. Once enrolled, you get to prepare one meal along with several appetizers and sweets which you can eventually share with other visitors.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF FINE ARTS
The National Gallery of Fine Arts is one of the most important art museums in Jordan, because it is contains some of the most important art collections from 60 countries with a highlight on local and regional artists. The museum's collection comprises of over a thousand pieces of art.
Rainbow Street is one of the oldest streets in Amman and has become a hub for local and international visitors. Lined with cafes, restaurants and a few art galleries sprinkled here and there the street is a must visit location in Amman for shopping, a night out or a simple meal.
JORDAN RIVER FOUNDATION
Chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1995 with a focus on child safety and community empowerment. Driven by values of social justice, impactful interventions to alleviate poverty, and socio-economic empowerment - focusing on women and youth, JRF implements various programs to achieve its mission of transforming Jordanian communities. The JRF Showroom located on Rainbow Street showcases products sourced from community empowerment projects supported by the foundation.
Hashem Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in the country and is famous for its Hummus and Falafel. The restaurant has managed to maintain its standards for over forty years and there isn’t a single person in Amman who isn’t familiar with the location. Its downtown branch is usually full of visitors at any time of the day. The beauty of Hashem Restaurant is that locals and foreigners frequent this famous establishment.
Habiba is one the most famous places that serves Knafeh. It is considered a complimentary dessert to the hummus and falafel dishes at Hashem Restaurant nearby. The place is always packed full of people who stand in line waiting to get their share of the delicious ‘Nabulsi Kanafeh’. The dessert can be eaten in the courtyard near the restaurant or pre-ordered for large events and gatherings.
A unique look into the architectural heritage of Amman, this home has been converted by its owner to a public space for artists and musicians. While the home’s initial purpose served as Amman’s first post office in the 1930s, the building was then transformed into a hotel and then into the creative space that it is now. It is truly a an immersive experience bringing visitors back through Amman’s history.
DOWNTOWN MARKETS – SOUQ AL-SUKAR
Walk through this beautiful and busy downtown fruit and vegetable market where locals shop for their fresh produce.
ROYAL AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
The Royal Automobile Museum was founded in 2003 under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II. The Royal Automobile Museum showcases an important part of Jordan's political history from an interesting perspective. The exhibits also reflect the history of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan through cars from the reign of King Abdullah I to the reign of King Abdullah II. More recently, it has included many non-Jordanian vehicles and bikes, such as a 19th-century bike, a Bugatti and other rare vehicles. One of the most important items of the museum is the Lincoln Cabri convertible, 1952 model, which was used by late King Hussein Bin Talal during his studies in England, and also during his crowning ceremony in May 1953.
THE JORDAN ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Situated at the top of the Amman Citadel, the museum was built in 1951 to display the richness of archaeological sites from various artifacts discovered during excavations throughout Jordan. The museum was designed to rely on natural lighting (sunlight) through the windows on the top of the building and on electric lamps on the walls of the museum and above the cupboards so as not to shed light on the artifacts directly and damage them.
First opened way back in 1971, The Folklore Museum of Costume and Fashion was established in the eastern part of the Roman Theatre in Amman, with the aim of collecting Jordanian and Palestinian folklore from all parts of Jordan to protect and preserve for future generations. The museum also aims to showcase our popular heritage and present it to the whole world.
THE ROMAN THEATRE
The restored Roman Theatre, which dates back to the 2nd century AD is built into three sides of the hillside, it seats around 6000 people and is still used for performances today.
Located southwest of Amman, Iraq Al-Amir is famous for its olive trees and hillside caves that date back to the copper age. Also worth visiting while in the area is Qasr El-Abd on of the very few examples of pre-Roman architecture in Jordan.
THE CAVE OF THE SEVEN SLEEPERS
Mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in Surat Al-Kahf (the Cave), the cave of the sleepers is a historic religious site of great importance in Jordan, located outside Rajib Village in East Amman.
The sleepers involve Christian boys who were persecuted by the Roman Emperor Trajan and then escaped to a cave, where they had slept for 309 years.Today, the tombs of the men are still visible inside the cave, where you can peep inside the tombs to see the skeletal remains of the sleepers and their dog. The cave is also surrounded by Byzantine and Roman ruins as well as a mosque – exactly as described in the Holy Qur’an.
IRAQ AL-AMIR WOMEN’S COOPERATIVE
Iraq Al-Amir was established by Noor Al-Hussein Foundation (NHF) in 1993. Rich in historical sites dating back to the hellenistic era, the region is also famous for its many springs which turned the valley into a green garden that has become an important tourist attraction. Iraq Al-Amir Women Cooperative Society has provided training projects for more than (150) women from all villages of Wadi Seer on various handicrafts and it is managed and run by women.
The Handicrafts Village which is considered a major part of the Society was established in 2001 for the purpose of conserving the region’s environment and preserving its unique architectural heritage. It also helps in developing craft-making skills to the local women and girls, and gives them a better chance of finding a job and contributing to their society.
SYRIAN JASMINE HOUSE
Many women that came from Syria are widowed or had to leave their husbands behind. They arrived in Jordan as the sole breadwinners for their families. The Syrian Jasmine House employs 70 women - the majority of whom are Syrian but the group also includes Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. They have trained more than 1000 women in the art of handicrafts. The company received a donation to fund the trainings, however they do not depend on donations; they are a business at the end of the day.