Kempinski Blog Article
One of the Middle East’s most popular cities and the ancient capital of Jordan, Amman is a global city that offers much in terms of shopping, sightseeing and culture. If you are looking for a Middle Eastern city break or want a great base from which to explore the countless treasures throughout Jordan, Amman is a perfect destination – here is everything it has to offer.
Amman and its surrounding areas have been inhabited for over 8,000 years, and since then countless civilisations have made their mark on the city, enriching it with culture. While a very large proportion of the city is less than a century old, the city’s heritage is embedded into every aspect, including Roman monuments, an ancient Ammonite tower, an Arabian Palace and a church built by the Byzantine empire.
Visitors can discover more about the city’s history by visiting the selection of excellent museums which are located all over the capital. Visit these museums to learn about the city and country’s archaeological and cultural heritage. If you would rather see the history than learn about it, book a day trip out of the capital to see some of the world-renowned historical sites across Jordan’s interior, including Petra and Jerash.
The best way to reach Amman is through Queen Alia International Airport. This airport has been the recipient of numerous best airport awards, due to its concourse that was designed by Norman Foster.
Home to a wide selection of international airlines, including Lufthansa, British Airways, United Airlines and Royal Jordanian, flights connect from an equally diverse list of worldwide destinations. Some regional carriers also use the smaller Marka Airport nearby.
When landing in Jordan, you will have to purchase an entry visa if you have not already purchased one at your nearest local Jordanian embassy. Visas cost JOD40, and can only be bought in Jordanian dinars – at Queen Alia International Airport there is an ATM located before passport control.
Both airports are located a short drive from the city, either by taxi or Airport Express bus. Airport taxi fares are fixed, and the bus runs to Tabarbour bus station in the city, usually taking around an hour. There are also car hire companies located at the airport.
Bus and train services to the city run from the Jordanian cities of Petra, Jerash, Irbid and ‘Ajloun. When travelling in and around the bustling city, it is worth getting your bearings according to the seven Jebels (hills) that make up the city, and the eight roundabouts that run along Zahran street. The roundabouts are numbered more highly depending on how westerly they are. It is also worth noting that most of the non-residential sections of the city are in the western areas of Amman, close to the Citadel.
Luxurious, modern and featuring outstanding levels of service, Kempinski Hotel Amman is one of the best places to stay in the city. With a luxury spa, six restaurants and bars, and comfortable rooms and suites, it is the perfect base for trips to the city.
If you are looking to sample the local flavours, be sure to try Abu Jbara, Tawaheen al-Hawa and Sufra. Tawaheen al-Hawa is well-known for the banquet style and extravagant portion sizes, and Sufra’s garden has a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere that is perfect when dining with friends and family.
For an elegant dining experience visit Fakhreldin Restaurant, where classic mezze is paired with traditional local dishes like kibbeh nayyeh (raw minced meat with olive oil, mint and chilli). Alternatively, book a table at Burj Al Hamam – the perfect place to spend an afternoon tasting all kinds of hot and cold mezze dishes, fresh fish and flavourful barbecued meats.
Amman’s long history, coupled with its cosmopolitan character, make it an interesting and exciting destination to visit. There is a wide variety of things to see and do during your time in Amman – here are some of the highlights.
If you have an appreciation for ancient architecture, make sure to take a trip to Addman’s Roman Theatre. An enormous structure with seating for 6,000 guests, the theatre was built into a hillside in the 2nd century, back when Amman was called Philadelphia, and was restored in the 1950s. Today it hosts lots of cultural events, including Amman’s International Book Fair, the Al-Balad Music Festival and more.
Jabal Al Qal’a (Citadel Hill)
The centrepiece of the city, the citadel dominates the city’s skyline, and for good reason. The hill has been home to various civilisations for over 18,000 years, and was the site of the ancient Ammonite city of Rabbath Ammon and the gigantic Roman Temple of Hercules. Alongside these great sights the citadel is also home to the large, intricate Umayyad Palace, built in the 8th century.
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Whether you have a passion for art and design or just a small interest, The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts is an excellent attraction suitable for all visitors to the city. Located in Jabal Al Weibdeh, the gallery is home to works by over 500 artists, from more than 40 Arabic and Islamic countries across the globe, and there is a huge variety of styles on show.
With exhibits covering 1.5 million years of Jordan’s past, the Jordan Museum is the place to go if you want to understand the kingdom’s culture and heritage. Beginning with the archaeology of the area, the museum charts the country’s past through some 2,000 artefacts and a range of exhibitions.
Amman’s downtown district, a trip to Balad gives you the chance to see Amman’s older, more traditional side. The area is full of street vendors, souqs, shops and restaurants, making it a great place to pick up a few souvenirs, enjoy a bite to eat, and relax during a sunny afternoon.
Amman is one of the Middle East’s most enjoyable destinations. To find out more, click here to contact the team at Kempinski Hotel Amman.