Monday, October 18, 2010


Oct 17 - Our first day in Amman began with a drive through the rich neighborhood in West Amman, ending up at the Wild Jordan Centre, which was established to preserve and enhance the nature reserves of Jordan.  From a patio at the Centre we could see our final destination for the day, the Citadel.
After leaving the Wild Jordan Centre we descended a long stair case and began our walk through downtown Amman where we saw the King Hussein Mosque, built in 1924 on the site of an ancient temple.
We walked past the Gold Souk, checked out a spice shop and strolled through the vegetable market where we were treated to fresh figs.  We also stopped at a felafel shop and tasted a desert made of goat cheese, very thin noodles and honey.  We ended up at the Nymphaeum, a second century fountain in the middle of this busy downtown area.
From there we walked to a 6,000 seat Roman Theater, also from the second century.
This theater, although Roman, is built in the Greek style, that is into a hillside rather than freestanding.
While we were wandering around I spotted this piece of statuary leaning in a corner.
We then walked back to our bus for the ride up to the Citadel, which sits on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel al-Qala'a, about 850m above sea level.  The complex is surrounded by 1700m-long walls that were rebuilt many times during the Bronze and Iron ages, as well as during the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods.  The most impressive remains are of the Umayyad palace, which dates to around AD 720.  It was an extensive complex of royal and residential buildings.  It was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 749 and never rebuilt.  Here is a view from the Citadel that shows the Roman Theater as well as the Odeon and Forum in the distance.
Another structure at the Citadel is the Temple of Hercules built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
And this is all that remains of his statue - part of his hand and his elbow.  Judging from the size of these remains, it must have been truly colossal.
Next we traveled to the home of a local Amman family for lunch.  Apparently some years ago the tour company put advertisements in the paper looking for families willing to host tour groups for lunch.  The family who hosted us are Christians, not Muslims.  The husband was away traveling for work, so we did not get to meet him, but we met the mother and the three lovely daughters, who served the meal.  It was a delightful experience.  After our return to the hotel we met with a Jordanian Senator who gave us a brief history lesson on Arab-US relations, and then traveled to a local restaurant for dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment