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Amman, One of the Finest Roman Theatres in the World

Amman, One of the Finest Roman Theatres in the World



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The Kingdom of Jordan has many historical sites. One of the most important and largest heritage sites is the Roman Theatre, Amman, which is one of the best examples of such a structure anywhere in the Middle East. Additionally, the theatre is one of the most complete structures of its type anywhere in the Levant, and it continues to play an important role in the cultural life of the area.

Ancient Rome to the modern day

The theatre was built by the Romans in what was then the Greek-city of Philadelphia and which is today known as Amman. Philadelphia was founded by the Macedonians after the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great . It was one of the most important cities in the region and a hub for trade and commerce during the Seleucid Empire .

In 65 BC, Pompey the Great, conquered the area and incorporated it into the Roman Empire. The theatre was constructed during the reign of the Emperor Antonius Pius between 138 and 161 AD. It was possibly built by rich locals, in order to gain popularity and prestige in Philadelphia. This theatre would have staged mimes, recitals and tragedies and would have been very popular with the local citizenry. The city flourished for almost 400 years and eventually became part of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is probably then that the theatre ceased to stage theatrical productions as the area was Christianized. Many Christians regarded all forms of theatre as sinful.

The city was conquered by the Muslims in the 630s, and the theatre may have been repurposed. Later earthquakes badly damaged the city and it was all but abandoned. The theatre too was badly damaged, and it was restored during the 20 th century. The new Jordanian government began to rebuild the structure in 1957, in order to boost tourism. The theatre is now a popular host for cultural activities including the Amman International Book Fair and musical concerts.

What’s there to see at the Roman Theatre, Amman?

The Roman Theatre Amman is cut into a hill, which is typical of any Roman theatre and it is northward facing so that the spectators would be shaded from the sun during performances. A colonnade can be seen before the theatre and some of the original columns can still be seen. There are a number of the original entrances still in use at the site, known as the parado.

Most of the theatre consists of steeped or tiered seating and they are divided into three horizontal sections. The seating area is known as the cavea, and the entire area offers a great view of the stage. At one time could accommodate 5-6000. In the Roman period, the seats would have been allocated based on wealth and social standing, with the best seats reserved for the rich. The seats closest to the stage were reserved for the military and the local elite. Once there was a shrine to the goddess Athena at the top tier of the cavea, and a sculpture from this can now be seen in the Jordan Museum.

The seating area/ cavea at the Roman Theatre, Amman. ( Aleksandar Todorovic /Adobe Stock)

The seats surround a small circular area that is known as the orchestra and adjacent to this are the remains of a small theatre known as the Odeon. It is worth noting that the acoustics in the theatre are excellent. The stage is very well preserved, and it includes scaenae frons , or the back wall of the stage. There is also a proscaenium, a low wall before the stage , and this was once decorated with statues. Near the entrances are two museums, one dedicated to Jordanian Popular Tradition and the other to the Folklore Museum. The theatre restoration remains controversial, and there are those who believe that the structure is not authentic, as it did not use original materials.

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How to visit the Roman Theatre, Amman

The theatre is located in the center of Amman and is near the popular Hashemite Plaza. There is a small entrance fee required for admittance to the site and the museums. A visitor can freely explore the theatre when there are no performances being held. There are a number of tours that take in the theatre and other Roman sites. The historic structure is located near a 2 nd century Roman fountain and the ruins of a Temple of Hercules for further places of interest.


    Hidden Treasures of Jordan tour

    Explore some of the world’s oldest cities during this fascinating small group tour of Jordan, featuring the archaeological highlights and hidden gems of this ancient country.

    This 12-day tour of Jordan will take you to the world renowned and lesser-known spots of a country that offers a window into the ancient world. You’ll go from the unforgettable Petra, a lost city carved into red sandstone, to the fascinating Greco-Roman remains of Jerash, you’ll see historical monuments and archaeological delights. Follow the Desert Loop to see palaces and forts which date back to 661 AD, visit biblical Mount Nebo to see the Promised Land, as Moses did, spend the night in a Bedouin camp and take in the vast landscape of Jordan’s deserts. A trip to the Dead Sea will allow you to float weightlessly and the Red Sea brings an opportunity to snorkel among the colourful fish around the coral reefs. Every stop of this wonderful holiday brings the chance of exploration, adventure and relaxation.


    Amman, One of the Finest Roman Theatres in the World - History

    Trip Overview

    Enjoy a 5-day Small group tour that covers Amman city, Jordan Desert Castles, Baptism site, Madaba city & Churches, Mount Nebo, Machaerus castle, Jerash, Ajloun Castle, Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea. Spend three nights in Amman including breakfast (Separate rooms for separate bookings - not shared with others). Also sleep overnight at a Bedouin camp at Wadi Rum including dinner and breakfast. Entrance fees and local guide services at each attraction are NOT included.

    Trip Highlights

    • - Take in southern Jordan's top sights in five days—ideal for those short on time.
    • - Explore Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • - Discover the desert of Wadi Rum on a 4x4 tour.
    • - Visit and soak up the mineral-rich waters of Dead Sea.

    Book Your Tour Online Now

    (Entry Fees & Tour Guide NOT included)

    • - Amman city, Jordan Desert Castles, Baptism site, Madaba city & Churches, Mount Nebo, Machaerus castle, Jerash, Ajloun Castle, Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea five Full Days Tour from Amman.
    • - English speaking Driver all over the trip.
    • - A modern vehicle is used with AC including gas. (Sedan Car or H1 Van).
    • - Water, 2 Hours Jeep Tour at Rum Valley & one night sleep at a Bedouin camp including dinner & breakfast.
    • - Home / Hotel pick-up and drop-off.

    • - Entrance fees.
    • - Local tour guides.
    • - Meals and other expenses unless specified.
    • - Travel Insurance.

    Additional Info

    • - Confirmation will be received at time of booking.
    • - A moderate amount of walking is involved, wear sensible shoes.
    • - For the Wadi Rum overnight stay you need your personal items, towel, toothbrush, and warm clothes as it gets cold in the desert at night in winter times.
    • - The Jeep tour at Wadi Rum is taken with the Bedouin cars / trucks which are provided with back seats ( no air conditioning and open air - suitable clothes during December - January like warm hats to cover your ears, neck and face is highly recommended.
    • - The camp at Wadi Rum is basic camp in a good location, consist of Tents, with beds, blankets , public Toilets, dining room - all necessaries for life including electricity via solar system (No heating system on the tents Air conditioning and private toilette is available only with with the Luxury option - Luxury camp).
    • - For the Group Tour Option (up to 7) : It is very important to be ready on the scheduled times particularly for pick up in the morning which is between 06:30 - 07:30 - if these times doesn't fit you or you need flexible time then this option will not work with you - go for the private tour option.

    Cancellation Policy

    Cancelation prior 30 Days of starting the tour is fully refunded, any cancelation within the last 30 days before starting the tour is NOT refunded.

    Trip Itinerary

    Day 1: Jordan Desert Castles and Amman city tour.

    A full day tour to Jordan Desert Castles : Qasr Amra, Qasr Al-Azraq, Qasr AL-Kharraneh, and Amman city tour : Amman Citadel, Roman Theater and down town tour.

    08:00 Hotel Pick up and starting of the Desert Castles .

    13:00 Beginning of Amman Tour and visiting Amman Citadel

    14:00 Visiting of Roman theater & the museum

    15:00 Down Town Tour - visiting Al-Husseini Mosque and old markets with lunch time.

    17:00 Hotel Drop off - Included in 3* Hotel with Breakfast.

    Day 2: Baptism site, Madaba Churches - Mount Nebo and Machaerus castle

    08:00 Hotel pick up and moving to the Baptism site.

    12:00 Visiting of Mount Nebo (The place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land)

    13:00 Madaba Mosaic Shops & Lunch time.

    14:00 Visiting St George’s Church & Mosaic Map (5-6 century church)

    15:00 Visiting of Machaerus castle (Imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist)

    17:00 Moving back to Amman -Included in 3* Hotel with Breakfast.

    Day 3: Jerash & Ajloun Castle Day Tour

    08:00 – Hotel Pickup & Starting the tour

    12:30-13:30 Lunch Time (Not Included) & moving towards Ajloun Castle

    15:00 – 16:00 Ajloun castle tour & Moving back to Amman

    17:00 Hotel Drop Off at Amman-Included in 3* Hotel with Breakfast

    Day 4: Petra and Wadi Rum

    07:00 Hotel Pick up & Driving towards Petra

    10:00 Arriving & Starting Petra Tour - Self Guided Tour.

    16:00 Moving to Rum (Winetr Time 14:00).

    18:00 Arriving to Rum and moving towards Bedouin campsite .

    20:30 Dinner ( Bedouin Zarp "Chicken , Grilled vegetables & salads) -Included

    Day 5: Wadi Rum Dead Sea

    07:00 am: Having breakfast at the camp.

    08:00 am: Starting morning Jeep tour (In Bedouins truck) and visiting some of the amazing places at Wadi Rum.

    11:00pm: Moving toward Dead Sea and enjoying the beach and floating at Dead Sea area.

    06:00 pm: Leaving back to Amman

    07:00pm: Home/Hotel drop off (Time might differ a little because day light is shorter in winter time).

    Site Highlights

    The fabled seven hills of Amman have given way to about twenty, and the magic of the city has grown as well. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and has seen most of the many civilizations that have come through the area. While most visitors only see the modern Amman, one of the enchanting aspects of the city is how a visitor can turn a corner and find a Byzantine church ruin in a busy shopping district, or see the ruins of an Ammonite fortress tower from the windows of a hotel. Like its jebels, or hills, the fortunes of Amman have risen, fallen, and risen again.

    Petra (Pink City Of Petra)

    The city of Petra, capital of the Nabataean Arabs, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, it is Located 240 km south of the capital Amman and 120 km north of the red sea town of Aqaba, Petra the world wonder is undoubtedly Jordan's most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction, and it is visited by tourists from all over the world.

    It is not known precisely when Petra was built, but the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC, which grew rich through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices.

    Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km (37 mi) to the east of Aqaba it is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated'.To reflect its proper Arabic pronunciation, archaeologists transcribe it as Wadi Ramm .

    The Dead Sea

    Located in the Jordan Valley, part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from East Africa to Turkey, the Dead Sea is the remains of a giant inland lake. Lake Lisan was 200 kilometers long and approximately 200 meters deeper than the current level of the Dead Sea. As it contracted, it left Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea, which at 408 meters below sea level is the lowest point on earth.

    The salt content of the sea is 20%, eight times the level of the world's oceans. This concentration contributes to the amazing buoyancy of the water and is a legacy of years of evaporation. The only life forms left in the Dead Sea are eleven species of bacteria. The waters are rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, bromine, iodine, and bitumen. All these have healing properties that can alleviate or ease allergies, skin rashes, bronchial irritations or glandular conditions. Visitors come from all over the world to ease or cure their conditions at the medical treatment centers at the Dead Sea. Even those suffering only from ennui can enjoy the high-quality spas in the area. In addition, due the unique depth of its location, the climate and quality of sunshine in the Dead Sea area is beneficial. Dead Sea salts and mud are known worldwide for their healthful properties.

    Jerash - Gerasa

    Jerash is one of the best-preserved Roman-era cities in the world. Located only 40 kilometers north of Amman, visitors today can trace the chariot ruts on the Cardo, admire the mosaics which were laid contemporaneously to those found in Madaba, and test the acoustics of the North and South Theatres. Inhabited since Neolithic times, Jerash came of age when Pompey swept through the region in 63 BC Jerash became one of the largest cities in the Decapolis federation.

    Madaba City and Churches

    The fertility of Madaba's plains have made it a strategic location for 3500 years. Fought over by many peoples during different times, it later became a Nabataean town. During the Byzantine era, the city became a bishopric and the mosaics, for which it became famous, were laid. Today, the city is still famous for mosaics, both historical and for its mosaic school, the only one of its kind in the Middle East.

    Mount Nebo is an elevated ridge in Jordan, approximately 710 metres (2,330 ft) above sea level, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.

    The Baptism Site

    The third most holy site for Christians in the world, after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity, is the site of the baptism of Jesus Christ, known in Arabic as al-Maghtas. Excavations at Wadi Kharrar carried out after the 1994 peace treaty found evidence of a complex of churches, hermit cells and other buildings described in the writings of many pilgrims who have visited the site since the 2nd century AD. Now preserved as a tourist destination, al-Maghtas attracts tourists year-round.

    Machaerus and Mukawer

    The archaeological site of Mach­aerus, found 2 km to the west of the vil­lage, is located on the east side of the Dead Sea and provides a spectacular view of it. It may be divided into two segments: the fortress ruins on the isolated spur of Qal 'at al-Mishnaqa , and the associated lower town built on the steep northern slope. According to Josephus (War 7), Alexander Jannaeus (reigned 103-76 BC), a Hasmonean ruler, built the for­tress consisting of upper and lower seg­ments. Gabinius, one of Pompey's gen­erals, destroyed it in 57 BC Herod the Great (reigned 37-4 BC) rebuilt it. After Herod's death, his son Herod Antipas inherited the fortress. Upon the lat­ter's death in AD 39, it passed to Herod Agrippa I until his death in AD 44. After this time it came under the control of the Romans. Subsequently, during the First Jewish Revolt, Jewish rebels took control of it after AD 66. The Romans besieged the fortress in AD 72, the rebels were allowed to leave, and then the Romans tore it down, leaving only the foundations. In the 1800s, explorers visited and recorded the ruins at the site.

    Ajloun Castle

    Ajloun Castle is one of the greatest examples of Islamic Ayyubid military architecture. The first stage of construction began ca.1184 by General Izzidin Usama, nephew of Salahuddin AL Ayyoubi, who built it on a hill 1100 meters above sea level.

    Jordan Desert Castles

    Under the Caliph Omar's rule, the region of Jordan, Palestine, and Greater Syria were conquered. The Umayyad dynasty came into existence under Muawiya, who subsequently moved the capital north to Damascus. This shifted the power of the Islamic Empire north from the Hijaz. They became a part of the Umayyad Dynasty, the first of the Islamic dynasties.

    The Umayyads successfully ruled a vast empire for a total of ninety years. The monuments in Jordan were the beginning of the development of the Islamic art and architecture. These desert castles represent the early Islamic art. There was an abundance of decoration, including mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carving. Illustrations depicting man, animals, and geometric patterns borrowed from both Persian and Graeco - Roman traditions. These desert complexes, often referred to as castles, served various purposes. It is believed that some may have been built as caravan stations, others to support agriculture, some as resort pavilions, some in order to forget the troubles of life, and some to house traders. These monuments stand as a reminder of the earliest days of the Islamic empire and of a short-lived dynasty whose base lay in the region. The most important of these palaces are Mushatta, Kharranah, Amra and others.


    History

    Neolithic period

    In the outskirts of Amman, one of the largest known ancient settlements in the Near East was discovered. The site, known as 'Ain Ghazal which is situated on a valley-side, dates back to 7250 BC and spans an area of 15 hectares. It was a typical average sized aceramic Neolithic village that accommodated around 3,000 inhabitants. Its houses were rectangular mud-bricked buildings that included a main square living room, whose walls were made up of lime plaster. [18] The site was discovered in 1974 as construction workers were working on a road crossing the area. By 1982 when the excavations started, around 600 meters (2,000 feet) of road ran through the site. Despite the damage brought by urban expansion, the remains of 'Ain Ghazal provided wealthy information. [19]

    'Ain Ghazal is well known for a set of small human statues found buried in pits which were discovered in 1983, when local archaeologists stumbled upon the edge of a large pit 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) containing plaster statues. [20] These statues are human figures made with white plaster. The figures have painted clothes, hair, and in some cases ornamental tattoos. 32 figures were found in two caches, 15 of them full figures, 15 busts, and two fragmentary heads. Three of the busts were two-headed, the significance of which is not clear. [19]

    Rabbath Ammon

    In the 13th century BC Amman was known as "Rabbath Ammon" by the Ammonites. Ammon provided several natural resources to the region, including sandstone and limestone. Along with a productive agricultural sector, which made Ammon a vital location along the King's Highway, the ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia. As with the Edomites and Moabites, trade along this route gave the Ammonites considerable revenue. [21] Ammonites worshiped an ancient deity called Moloch. Excavations by archaeologists near Amman Civil Airport uncovered a temple, which included an altar containing many human bone fragments. The bones showed evidence of burning, which led to the assumption that the altar functioned as a pyre. [22]

    Today, several Ammonite ruins across Amman exist, such as Qasr Al-Abd, Rujm Al-Malfouf and some parts of the Amman Citadel. The ruins of Rujm Al-Malfouf consist of a surveillance stone tower that was used to ensure protection of their capital and several store rooms east of it. [23] [24] The city was later conquered by the Assyrian Empire, followed by the Persian Empire.

    Hellenistic period

    Conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia by Alexander the Great firmly consolidated the influence of Hellenistic culture. [25] The Greeks founded new cities in the area of modern-day Jordan, including Umm Qays, Jerash and Amman. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Macedonian ruler of Egypt, who occupied and rebuilt the city, named it "Philadelphia", which means "brotherly love" in Greek. The name was given as an adulation to his own nickname, Philadelphus. [26]

    One of the most original monuments in Jordan, and perhaps in the Hellenistic period in the Near East, is the village of Iraq Al-Amir in the valley of Wadi Al-Sir, southwest of Amman, which is home to Qasr Al-Abd (Castle of the Slave). Other nearby ruins include a village, an isolated house and a fountain, all of which are barely visible today due to the damage brought by a major earthquake that hit the region in the year 362. [27] Qasr Al-Abd is believed to have been built by Hyrcanus of Jerusalem, who was the head of the powerful Tobiad family. Shortly after he began the construction of that large building, in 170 BC upon returning from a military campaign in Egypt, Antiochus IV conquered Jerusalem, ransacked a temple where the treasure of Hyrcanus was kept and appeared determined to attack Hyrcanus. Upon hearing this, Hyrcanus committed suicide, leaving his palace in Philadelphia uncompleted. [28] The Tobiads fought the Arab Nabateans for twenty years until they lost the city to them. After losing Philadelphia, we no longer hear of the Tobiad family in written sources. [29]

    Roman rule

    The Romans conquered much of the Levant in 63 BC, inaugurating a period of Roman rule that lasted for four centuries. In the northern modern-day Jordan, the Greek cities of Philadelphia (Amman), Gerasa, Gedara, Pella and Arbila joined with other cities in Palestine and Syria Scythopolis, Hippos, Capitolias, Canatha and Damascus to form the Decapolis League, a fabled confederation linked by bonds of economic and cultural interest. [30] [31] Philadelphia became a point along a road stretching from Ailah to Damascus that was built by Emperor Trajan in 106 AD. This provided an economic boost for the city in a short period of time. During the late Byzantine era in the 7th century, several bishops and churches were based in the city. [32]

    Roman rule in Jordan left several ruins across the country, some of which exist in Amman, such as the Temple of Hercules at the Amman Citadel, the Roman Theatre, the Odeon, and the Nymphaeum. The two theatres and the Nymphaeum fountain were built during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius around 161 AD. The theatre was the larger venue of the two and had a capacity for 6,000 attendees. It was oriented north and built into the hillside, to protect the audience from the sun. To the northeast of the theatre was a small odeon. Built at roughly the same time as the theatre, the Odeon had 500 seats and is still in use today for music concerts. Archaeologists speculate that the structure was originally covered with a wooden roof to shield the audience from the weather. The Nymphaeum is situated southwest of the Odeon and served as Philadelphia's chief fountain. The Nymphaeum is believed to have contained a 600-square meter pool which was three meters deep and was continuously refilled with water. [33]

    Early Islamic to Ayyubid period

    In the 630s, the Rashidun army conquered the region from the Byzantines, beginning the Islamic era in the Levant. Philadelphia was renamed "Amman" by the Muslims and became part of the district of Jund al-Urdunn. A large part of the population already spoke Arabic, which facilitated integration into the caliphate, as well as several conversions to Islam. Under the Umayyad caliphs who began their rule in 661 AD, numerous desert castles were established as a means to govern the desert area of modern-day Jordan, several of which are still well-preserved. Amman had already been functioning as an administrative centre. The Umayyads built a large palace on the Amman Citadel hill, known today as the Umayyad Palace. Amman was later destroyed by several earthquakes and natural disasters, including a particularly severe earthquake in 747. The Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasids three years later. [31]

    Amman's importance declined by the mid-8th century after damage caused by several earthquakes rendered it uninhabitable. [34] At some point after the mid-8th-century earthquake, and certainly from the 15th century onward until 1878, Amman became an abandoned pile of ruins only sporadically used for shelter by seasonal farmers from elsewhere who used the arable land of the area, and by Bedouin tribes who used its pastures and water. [35] [36] Excavations among the collapse layer of the Umayyad Palace have revealed remains of kilns from the time of the Abbasids (750-696) and Fatimids (969-1099). [37]

    The occupation of the Citadel Hill by the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem is so far based only on interpretations of Crusader sources. William of Tyre writes in his Historia that in 1161 Philip of Milly received the castle of "Ahamant" as part of the Lordship of Oultrejordain, [38] which is seen to refer to Amman. In 1166 Philip joined the military order of the Knights Templar, passing on to them a significant part of his fief including the castle of Ahamant [39] or "Haman", as it is named in the deed of confirmation issued by King Amalric. The remains of a watch tower on Citadel Hill, first attributed to the Crusaders, now are preferentially dated to the Ayyubid period, after 1187, leaving it to further research to find the location of the Crusader castle. [40]

    Ottoman rule

    The Ottoman Empire annexed the region of Amman in 1516, but for much of the Ottoman period, al-Salt functioned as the virtual political centre of Transjordan. After about 1,000 years without recorded history, [41] Amman was only resettled starting from 1878, when hundreds of Circassians arrived following their exodus from the Caucasus during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. [42] Between 1872–1910, tens of thousands of Circassians were forcibly relocated to Ottoman Syria from historical Circassia by the Russian Empire during the events of the Russo-Circassian War. [43] [44] English traveller Laurence Oliphant wrote of a visit to the settlement of Amman in 1879 in his The Land of Gilead. [45]

    Ottoman records from 1906 show around 5,000 Circassians living in Amman and virtually no inhabitants who spoke Arabic. The city's demographics changed dramatically after the Ottoman government's decision to construct the Hejaz Railway, which linked Damascus and Medina, and facilitated the annual Hajj pilgrimage and trade. Because of its location along the railway, Amman was transformed from a small village into a major commercial hub in the region. [46]

    British Mandate period

    The first and second battles of Amman were part of the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I and the Arab Revolt, taking place in 1918. Amman had a strategic location along the Hejaz Railway its capture by British forces and the Hashemite Arab army facilitated the British advance towards Damascus. [47] The second battle was won by the British, resulting in the establishment of the British Mandate.

    In 1921, the Hashemite emir and later king, Abdullah I, designated Amman instead of al-Salt to be the capital of the newly created state, the Emirate of Transjordan, which became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1950. Its function as the capital of the country attracted immigrants from different Levantine areas, particularly from al-Salt, a nearby city that had been the largest urban settlement east of the Jordan River at the time. The early settlers who came from Palestine were overwhelmingly from Nablus, from which many of al-Salt's inhabitants had originated. They were joined by other immigrants from Damascus. Amman later attracted people from the southern part of the country, particularly Al Karak and Madaba. The city's population was around 10,000 in the 1930s. [48]

    Post-independence

    Jordan gained its independence in 1946 and Amman was designated the country's capital. Amman received many refugees during wartime events in nearby countries, beginning with the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. A second wave arrived after the Six-Day War in 1967, and a third wave of Palestinian and Jordanian refugees arrived in Amman from Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War. The first wave of Iraqi refugees settled in the city after the 1991 Gulf War, with a second wave occurring in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Most recently a wave of Syrian refugees have arrived in the city during the ongoing Syrian Civil War which began in 2011. Amman was a principal destination for refugees for the security and prosperity it offered. [49]

    In 1970, Amman was a battlefield during the conflict between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian Army known as Black September. The Jordanian Army defeated the PLO in 1971, and the latter were expelled to Lebanon. [50] On 9 November 2005, Al-Qaeda under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's leadership launched coordinated explosions in three hotel lobbies in Amman, resulting in 60 deaths and 115 injured. The bombings, which targeted civilians, caused widespread outrage among Jordanians. [51] Jordan's security as a whole was dramatically improved after the attack, and no major terrorist attacks have been reported since then. [52] [53]

    During the last ten years the city has experienced an economic, cultural and urban boom. The large growth in population has significantly increased the need for new accommodation, and new districts of the city were established at a quick pace. This strained Jordan's scarce water supply and exposed Amman to the dangers of quick expansion without careful municipal planning. Today, Amman is known as a modern, liberal and westernized Arab city, [5] with major mega projects such as the Abdali Urban Regeneration Project and the Jordan Gate Towers. The city contains several high-end hotel franchises including the Four Seasons Hotel Amman, Sheraton Hotel Amman, Fairmont Amman, St. Regis Hotel Amman, Le Royal Hotel and others.


    Hidden Treasures of Jordan tour

    Explore some of the world’s oldest cities during this fascinating small group tour of Jordan, featuring the archaeological highlights and hidden gems of this ancient country.

    This 12-day tour of Jordan will take you to the world renowned and lesser-known spots of a country that offers a window into the ancient world. You’ll go from the unforgettable Petra, a lost city carved into red sandstone, to the fascinating Greco-Roman remains of Jerash, you’ll see historical monuments and archaeological delights. Follow the Desert Loop to see palaces and forts which date back to 661 AD, visit biblical Mount Nebo to see the Promised Land, as Moses did, spend the night in a Bedouin camp and take in the vast landscape of Jordan’s deserts. A trip to the Dead Sea will allow you to float weightlessly and the Red Sea brings an opportunity to snorkel among the colourful fish around the coral reefs. Every stop of this wonderful holiday brings the chance of exploration, adventure and relaxation.


    • Aspendos Tour: The Aspendos, Perge and Manavgat Waterfalls Tour hits three of the Antalya region's biggest attractions all in one day, perfect if you have little time in the area. It includes guided visits to both of the ancient cities of Aspendos and Perge, lunch, and a stop at the waterfalls for photos. A side-trip to the seaside town of Side with its Roman ruins is also included.

    Roman Ruins: Check out Side for its theater and the temple ruins right on the shore, or head north of Antalya for the beachfront remnants of Lycian Olympos, which contains many Roman remnants. Inland, head to Pamukkale, with the spa town remains of Hierapolis on the summit of the travertines.

    Historic Sites: To discover some of Turkey's many non-Roman Empire sites head to Mount Nemrut for its fascinating statues on the summit Safranbolu to stroll streets lined with the most well-preserved Ottoman architecture in the country or check out the necropolis of the lesser-seen site of Gordion, home to the story of the Gordion knot.


    Jordan: Four Days Just Isn’t Enough.

    JORDAN: FOUR DAYS JUST AREN&rsquoT ENOUGH
    In November of 2007, my husband, his sister, her spouse and I spent two weeks touring Egypt. Almost as an after-thought, we had scheduled a short side-trip to Jordan (primarily to visit Petra) before returning to the USA. Flying into Amman, the capital of Jordan, the four of us collected our luggage and waited in the customs line, only to discover a visa was necessary to enter the country. But at the visa counter, we were told nothing but dinars (the local currency) were acceptable and were directed to the exchange desk. Finally, with dinars in hand, we could purchase a visa and clear customs. Not until leaving the international area did we finally spot a cab-driver waiting patiently and holding a sign marked with our names.

    It was a long ride from the airport to our Marriott hotel in Amman. After Egypt, the absence of heavy traffic was refreshing and the apartment complexes looked practically new. The weather was cooler too. People on the streets were wearing their winter jackets. Security was tight at the hotel with armed guards inspecting all vehicles that entered the premise. To get past the front door, our luggage went through an X-ray conveyor belt while guards passed screening wands over our bodies. A huge Christmas tree was being decorated in the lobby for despite its predominately Muslim population, Jordan is very tolerant of all religions. After checking in, we made reservations at the hotel for a tour of the city at 1:30. (Our &ldquoofficial&rdquo Jordanian itinerary wouldn&rsquot begin until tomorrow, but nobody wanted to squander time today).


    Book Your Tour Online Now

    (Entry Fees & Tour Guide NOT included)

    What we include in our tour:

    • Full Five days Tour that include tour in Amman and touring in Jerash, Ajloun Castle, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba City, Dead Sea and Madaba city from Amman.
    • An English speaking driver throughout the trip
    • A modern vehicle like Sedan Car or H1 Van with AC including gas
    • Water, 2 hours Jeep Tour at Rum Valley
    • One night sleep at a Bedouin Camp including dinner and breakfast
    • Hotel Pick up and drop off facility.

    What all is excluded from our tour:

    • Entrance fees.
    • Local tour guides.
    • Meals and other expenses unless specified.
    • Travel Insurance.

    Additional Information Regarding the Tour

    • Get confirmation at the time of booking.


    • As there will be some moderate walking during the tour you will need to wear sensible shoes.


    • For the overnight stay at Wadi Rum you will need to carry your personal items such as towel, toothbrush, and warm clothes as it gets cold in the desert at night in winter times.

    • The Wadi rum camp is a basic camp that is located in a good location, and it consists of tents with beds, blankets, public toilets, dining room and all necessities of life including electricity via solar system. There is no heating system on the tents. Air conditioning and private toilet is available only at luxury camps.

    • You may need to purchase Jordan Pass before arriving at Jordan when you are spending more than 3 nights in the country as this will waive out visa entry fees and include 41 different sites in Jordan. For more details regarding the pass visit Jordanpass.jo.


    • Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea is skipped during winter season i.e. from November to March.

    Cancellation Policy

    Cancelation prior 30 Days of starting the tour is fully refunded, any cancelation within the last 30 days before starting the tour is NOT refunded.

    Trip Itinerary

    Day 1 : Amman Tour - Jerash & Ajloun Castle

    08:00 Hotel Pick up & start the trip.

    09:00 – 11:00 Jerash tour & moving to Ajloun.

    12:00 – 13:00 Ajloun Castle tour & moving back to Amman.

    14:00 - 16:00 Visiting Citadel Amman & Roman Theater -Amman City Tour.

    17:00 Hotel drop off at Amman-Included in 3* Hotel with Breakfast.

    Day 2: Petra – Dana - Al Shobak Castle - Little Petra (Petra overnight)

    08:00 Hotel pickup & moving toward Dana.

    10:00 Arriving to Dana Area.

    11:00 Moving to AL-Shoubak Castle.

    13:30 Visiting AL-Shoubak Castle.

    15:30 Visiting Little Petra

    17:00 Hotel Check in at Petra – Wadi Mousa city -Included in 3* Hotel with Breakfast.

    Day 3: Petra Full Day Tour & Wadi Rum overnight

    07:00 Hotel pickup & starting of Petra Tour- Self Guided Tour.

    16:00 Moving toward Wadi Rum (Winter time 14:00).

    18:00 Arriving to Rum and moving toward the Bedouin campsite.

    19:30 Dinner ( Bedouin Zarp "Chicken , Grilled vegetables & salads) -Included.

    23:00 Sleeping at the camp -Included.

    Day 4: Wadi Rum -Aqaba-Dead sea-Amman

    07:00 Having breakfast at the camp -Included.

    08:00 Starting morning Jeep tour at Rum -Included.

    10:00 Moving toward Gulf of Aqaba (During summer season - April to October).

    14:00 Moving toward Dead Sea and enjoying the beach & floating at Dead sea area.

    18:00 Leaving back to Amman.

    19:00 Hotel drop off -Included in 3* Hotel with Breakfast.

    Day 5 : Madaba City-Mt.Nebo & Baptism Site Day Tour

    08:00 Hotel pick up & driving towards Madaba City.

    09:00 Visiting Madaba- St. George, Map Church and Martyrs churches.

    10:00 Visiting Mt.Nebo- the Church.

    11:00-14:00 Baptism Site -Jordan River.

    15:00 Having Dinner (Not Included).

    17:00 Airport/Amman hotel drop off.

    Site Highlights

    One of the oldest inhabited cities around the world, Amman is truly magical. The impressive seven hills of Amman have created ways to about twenty making it the easiest cities in which one can enjoy the best of Middle East experiences. Besides the urban side of Amman there are various other factors that attract visitors towards it such as a Byzantine church ruin in a busy shopping district, the ruins of an Ammonite fortress tower from the windows of a hotel and much more. Downtown Amman is yet another amazing thing about Amman! At the bottom of many hills of the city you can find outstanding Roman ruins, an international standard museum and the hullabaloo of mosques, souks and coffee houses that are fundamental parts of a Jordanian life.
    In around 1200 BC Amman turned out to be the capital of the Iron Age Ammonites, the biblical Hebrew Rabbath Ammon. It is also the ancient Greek Philadelphia and is the capital and largest city of Jordan today.

    Petra - The Pink City

    Petra, the capital of the Nabataean Arabs is one of the most renowned archaeological sites in the world that is located 240 km south of the capital Amman and 120 km north of the Red Sea town of Aqaba. Petra is also one among the wonders of the world and hence is the most valuable treasure and ultimate tourist spot in Jordan. There is no precise information when Petra was built but it is known that the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC that grew rich through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices

    Wadi Rum – The Valley of the Moon

    Wadi Rum is a valley that is cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km to the east of Aqaba. It is the largest Wadi in Jordan. The term ‘Rum’ originates from an Aramaic root that means ‘high’ or ‘elevated’.

    Gulf of Aqaba - The Red Sea

    Aqaba, the seaside town is located on the Red Sea within the sight of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Although Jordan has only 26 kilometers of coastline but they are put to good use. Below the Red Sea waters you will find some of the most fantastic dive sites in the world. Aqaba is also known as a base camp for travelers wishing to see Wadi Rum and Petra.

    The Dead Sea

    The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan Valley which is a part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from East Africa to Turkey. The Dead Sea is the remains of a giant inland lake named Lake Lisan which was 200 kilometers long and about 200 meters deeper than that of the current level of the Dead Sea. As the Lake Lisan contracted, Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea were left behind which are at 408 meters below sea level (and is the lowest point on the earth).

    The sea contains about 20% of salt which is eight times the level of the world’s oceans. And this concentration contributes to the amazing buoyancy of the water and is a legacy of years of evaporation. The only life forms available in the Dead Sea are the eleven species of bacteria. As the water is rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, bromine, iodine, and bitumen, it provides various healing properties that help in alleviating or easing allergies, skin rashes, bronchial irritations or glandular conditions. Tourists from all over the world come here to ease or cure their conditions at the medical treatment centers at the Dead Sea. And even people who feel stressed and bored can enjoy the high quality spas in the area. Due to the depth of this location the climate and quality of sunshine in the Dead Sea area is highly beneficial and the salts and mud of Dead are well known for their beneficial properties.

    Jerash - Gerasa

    One of the best preserved Roman era cities in the world, Jerash is located 40 kilometers towards north of Amman. Even today visitors can trace the chariot ruts on the Cardo! Besides that one can admire the mosaics laid contemporaneously to those found in Madaba as well as test the acoustics of the North and South Theatres. Jerash came into fame as one of the largest cities in the Decapolis Federation.

    Madaba City and Churches

    The fertile plains of Madaba made it a strategic location for almost 3500 years. Many peoples fought over it during different times and later it became a Nabataean town. The city then became a bishopric and the mosaics during the Byzantine era which made are famous. At present the city is still famous for the mosaics both historical and for its mosaic school, the only one of its kind in the entire Middle East.

    Ajloun Castle

    One of the greatest examples of the Islamic Ayyubid military architecture, Ajloun Castle was built atop Mt ‘Auf (1250 meters) between 1184 and 1188 by one of Saladin’s generals, ‘Izz ad Din Usama bin Munqidh. From the castle one can enjoy the views of the Jordan Valley and three wadis leading into it.

    Dana Natural Reserve

    One of the best known nature reserves in Jordan, Dana Natural Reserve was set up in 1993 and became an exemplar of how to set up a sustainable and eco­friendly reserve. The network of guided and unguided hiking trails, campground, guesthouse and eco-lodge, dramatic wadis and scenic mountains dropping about 1600 meters from the highest point make Dana one of the most popular tourist spots in Jordan. Then there is the Nabatean tomb and the sea urchin fossils adding to its beauty. Also the mushroom shaped rock formations create captivating scenes. All these and more makes it a place of appreciation among the visitors.

    The Baptism Site

    After the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity, the Baptism site is third most holy site for Christians all over the world. This is the site where Jesus Christ got baptized. In Arabic this place is also known as Al-Maghtas. When after the 1994 peace treaty excavations were done at Wadi Kharrar evidences were found that a complex of churches, hermit cells and other buildings described in the writings of many pilgrims who have visited the site since the 2nd century AD exists here. And now the site has been preserved as a tourist destination and attracts tourists year round.

    Shoubak Castle

    Part of the great beacon chain of Crusader fortresses, Shobak Castle is by far the most lonely. Built in 1115 AD by Baldwin I, who later built Karak, it was originally known as Mont Realis (Montreal) and was the first outpost of the kingdom of Jerusalem in the Crusader district of Outrejordain.


    Holidays combining Jordan and Israel

    By choosing a twin-centre holiday to Jordan and Israel you are combining two of the world’s cultural and scenic treasures in one stunning journey. Discover the cultural differences of these neighbouring countries and delve into their shared heritage.

    Travel between Jordan and Israel – flight or land border crossing?

    Sharing a land border makes combining Jordan and Israel as a twin-centre holiday an obvious choice. There are three border crossings open for tourists between Israel and Jordan and we can suggest the best one based on your travel plans.

    The Allenby Bridge / King Hussein Bridge border crossing is the closest crossing point to Israel from Amman and provides a convenient link between Jordan and Jerusalem. Note though that visas need to be arranged in advance and private vehicles are not permitted to cross this border meaning travellers have to change vehicle when crossing. All guests travelling with Corinthian will be met by our representative and assisted with the transfer from one private vehicle to another.

    The lesser-used Jordan River Border / Sheikh Hussein crossing is a hassle-free option if you’re travelling on a pre-arranged holiday with private transport. Located to the north of both Israel and Jordan, it is, however, a less suitable option for tourists who tend to focus on sights south of Amman.

    One of the most accessible border crossings is the Yitzhak Rabin / Wadi Araba border crossing between Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel. Without taking into account time for border formalities, the driving time between these two Red Sea resorts can be less than thirty minutes. A stay at the Red Sea could also be the perfect interlude on a busy itinerary.

    For those who prefer to fly, Amman and Tel Aviv are connected by direct flights although this might not be the most convenient routing for your itinerary bearing in the mind the amount of time that can be taken up by airport check-in formalities. One time-saving option if you are in southern Jordan is to cross the border from Aqaba to Eilat in Israel and take the short flight from there to Tel Aviv.

    Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, Israel

    Ideas for combining Jordan with Israel

    Corinthian Travel’s most popular two-centre holiday to Jordan and Israel combines Jordan’s historic and scenic sites with sightseeing in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

    Beginning in the Jordanian capital of Amman, a day excursion will take you to the Banks of the River Jordan, to the place of Christ’s baptism at Bethany. This is followed by a visit to one of the finest Roman cities in the Middle East, Jerash. No holiday to Jordan would be complete without setting eyes on the breath-taking ‘rose-red’ ancient city of Petra and your itinerary includes ample time to be immersed in the history of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Heading north again, spend a night by the Dead Sea before crossing the Jordan River into Israel. Visit the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and the vast Jewish fortress of Masada before continuing to Jerusalem. Spend time taking in one of the world’s holiest cities where sightseeing includes the Mount of Olives, the Gardens of Gethsemane, the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock and a visit trip to Bethlehem.

    Prices for a ten-day private tour combining Jordan and Israel staying in luxury accommodation and accompanied by private guides start at £3850 per person. Read the full details here or contact us to discuss in more detail with our Middle East experts.

    Travellers wanting to spend a little longer in Israel should take a look at our Israel and Jordan Tour: The Holy Lands. This private journey combines a visit to Petra in Jordan with an in-depth exploration of Israel including Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the fortress of Masada, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and the Crusader city of Akko. Your final nights will be spent absorbing Israel’s cosmopolitan capital, Tel Aviv.

    Israel and Jordan: The Holy Lands is a 12-day/11-night private tour with prices starting from £4650 per person.

    The Dead Sea


    Arab world shows its support for UAE Mars Mission - in pictures

    Public buildings and landmarks across the Middle East lit up to mark the UAE Mars Mission this week.

    In Amman, the Roman Theatre was bathed in red light on Monday night. Spotlights beamed the mission logo 'Arabs to Mars' onto the second century building.

    In Baghdad, the Iraq Museum was lit up in honour of the mission. The landmark holds some of the region's most important artefacts and treasures from ancient times.

    Kuwait Towers, in Kuwait City, were also lit up with the UAE Mars Mission logo. The three slender towers are synonymous with Kuwait and dominate the country's skyline.

    On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said no matter the outcome of the orbit insertion attempt, history had been made for the Arab world.


    Watch the video: Old Roman Theatre Amman Jordan September 2021 (August 2022).