JORDAN – A day in Amman ; what to see and do

Jordan’s capital Amman was our base for 5 days, during the family Christmas holidays, of which we planned one day in Amman exploring it. It is a large city and on our list were actually three things to do and see. The citadel and Roman theater were the two things we wanted to see and we wanted to go shopping in the Balad area. The last we had to skip due to very heavy rain in the afternoon. Read on how we experienced Amman.

A day in Amman

Amman is the capital of Jordan and the largest city in the country with over 4 million inhabitants. History in Amman dates back to the 8th century BC of which you can see artifacts in the archeological museum. Jordan was ruled over time by the Greek, Romans, Umayyad, Ottoman and British after it finally became independent with Amman as its capital.

We drove through Amman by car which is perfectly possible if you know how to blend in the traffic which is chaotic. The main street has 8 circles (roundabouts) which serve as good points of orientation. We stayed a bit north-west of the city in the Holiday Inn hotel which was a perfect hotel to explore Amman and the surrounding area. A day in Amman will allow you to see all the sights, like the Roman theater and the citadel, for sure unless you want to stop by all the museums. We started early morning at the Roman theater and parked our car on the parking area just next to it.

JORDAN – A day in Amman ; what to see and do

The Roman theater in Amman

The Roman Theater in Amman dates back to the 2nd century AD and is one of the finest I have seen in my life. It’s great to visit with kids to as I did. They enjoyed running up and down the stairs and posing like Romans at the stage. We were the only Western tourists and got photographed a lot, sometimes asked, but most in secret. The theater is very steep compared to some others I have seen but this gives a good acoustic sound on the top seats which are called the Gods seats.

From the top you have a good view over the theater and you can see the stage in front (of course), the side entrances with rooms behind. Unless you want to count the 6000 seats it will take under two hours to see the theater including the two museums about traditions and folklore in Jordan. There is some beautiful clothing on display and some fine mosaics. Go stand on the stage and pose as a Roman actor closing your eyes pretending there are 6000 spectators. It’s magnificent! On the top of the hill across the street you see the citadel, which is where we headed next.

JORDAN – A day in Amman ; what to see and do

The citadel of Amman

Next stop during this day in Amman: the Citadel of Amman. To get there seemed easy; just drive up the hill. This was not that straightforward as many roads were very small and one-way only. But, this is the Middle East, so just drive and ignore any signs and use the horn were needed if cars do not go out-of-the-way. A short while later we arrived at the top where there is a large parking space which was allmost empty. Many tourists avoid Jordan because they think it’s not safe, but it is totally safe! We bought the entrance tickets and had to hurry because the sky started to get really dark, rain was coming 🙁

JORDAN – A day in Amman ; what to see and do

The citadel of Amman is one of the places in the world which has been continuously inhabited for the longest period. Artifacts from the 17th century BC were found and now on display (photo below) in the Archeological Museum located within the citadel. During past time it was occupied by many different civilizations until the 3rd century it got occupied by the Greeks and three centuries later by the Romans. From these periods and the later 7th century Umayyad period are the most remains you can admire today.

The Temple of Hercules (photo above) from the 2nd century is the most important remaining structure from the Roman period amongst a road and various other smaller structures. A Byzantine Church dating back to the 5-6th century BC is the most intact oldest building. From the Umayyad period the Palace or Qasr is still in outstanding shape. If you look inside you will see that it’s based on Greek design. The roof is new to protect the structure. There are several other structures like graves, pits and so to see which are all good sign-posted. While walking I realized that for over 8000 years humans had lived in the area, allmost unreal! We hurried to see the other remains and just got back to the car when it started to pour rain.

JORDAN – A day in Amman ; what to see and do

More things to do during a day in Amman

The rain had our day in Amman end early. We had a few other things on the agenda like going to some local markets in the Balad area and have some local food there. Walking in the rain, however, was not on our agenda so we went back to our hotel and just relaxed there for the rest of the day. Amman is good for visiting year round; this rain is rare but can happen in winter time. Even with 8 degrees Celsius that day you can be sure that you can sun bath at the Dead Sea area. During our day in Amman we did not see any Western tourists. The local people said us that this is because Westerns think it is unsafe because of the surrounding countries which have some problems. This is totally not the case and Jordan is perfectly safe. We only saw a kid with a toy-rifle at the citadel (photo below) but beside that, perfectly safe! We enjoyed Amman and would love to go back one day to experience more of the local city life in Jordan.

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Further reading

Sometimes it’s impossible to cover every single place of interest, activities, food, and others that might be relevant. In the below list you find a list of relevant links with further information about this destination which I have carefully curated. These will help plan your trip even better.

  • There are so many things to do in Jordan! Make sure to check these 101 things to do in Jordan list if you’re going to Jordan. It even had some things on it I didn’t even think of and are on my bucket list if I go back to Jordan again.

Gallery day in Amman

Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.