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Experience Jordan’s History: Amman Citadel

Jordan has more amazing historical sites than most people realize. This historic fortress, the Amman Citadel, is located on top of Jabal al-Qal’a, the highest of seven hills on which the city was built (jabal means ‘mountain’, qal’a ‘castle’).

Travel through time…

The citadel boasts a diverse range of previous inhabitants: Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, as well as Umayyad and Ayyubid dynasties. Of course, this is a paradise for everyone else who loves history. The first signs of human occupation that archaeologists found date back to the Middle Bronze Age (1650-1550 BC). At that time, most likely either a fortress, or an agora (a public space for arts, sports and politics) occupied the hill. Today’s visitors can trace the great ancient civilizations through the remnants of a Roman Hercules Temple, a Byzantine church, a spectacular Umayyad palace, and many other ruins and fragments. They can also visit the Jordan Archaeological Museum. In the museum many excavated artifacts are preserved, including both every day items, and the finer things of life such as jewels and statues.

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“I’m not interested in History…” – Here is why you should still visit:

You may say, “Thanks for all the information, but historical sights are not really my cup of tea. Why should I visit?” – We have a few more reasons to convince you…

1. The Location

The citadel is the perfect place to take a moment of rest. This is in particular from the busy and sometimes even stressful atmosphere in downtown. Since the site is located only a few minutes walking distance from Roman theater and Husseini Mosque (to be honest though, that’s downhill), you can fit a visit easily into your schedule. The way from downtown to the citadel is mostly a steep uphill. We therefore recommend to take a taxi (should cost less than 1 JD), or plan a few extra minutes of walking.

2. The View

From the citadel’s vantage point, situated atop the highest hill in Amman, you can see far out in every direction across the beautiful city. As you look west, the tallest freestanding flag in the world flies proudly in the wind. At the foot of the hill the amphitheater and downtown Amman buzz with life. And all throughout the year you can see flocks of domesticated doves circle over the city, that are joined by numerous kites during winter and spring time. It is a strange and fascinating feeling to stand in the ancient site that has been occupied by so many cultures, all while observing the modern city of today.

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3. The Atmosphere

Like the many locals coming to the Citadel, you can take time to relax, have a chat with friends and let you gaze wander over the sea of houses. Due to the variety of people present, you oftentimes find yourself enveloped by an atmosphere that is as diverse and multicultural as the traces of history covering the place.

Practically speaking, there are WC facilities on the mountain and a nice little market where you can get ice cream, waters, snacks, and coffee. The site closes around sunset – so make sure to be there early enough, so you can lean back to enjoy Amman in the glow of the golden hour (or any other hour of the day).

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Experience Culture: Cooking in Jordan at Beit Sitti

Image Source found on Flickr

If you love taking cooking classes when you travel, then Beit Sitti is for you. When you are on holiday to Jordan, there are several places where you can take a cooking class, but Beit Sitti is unique.

 

The location of Beit Sitti is in Al Webdah, a unique neighborhood in Amman, Jordan. It is a place where East meets West, art is everywhere you look, Call to Prayer and Church Bells are heard at the same time. Many non-government organizations are located here which gives the area an almost European feel, while still being one of the oldest neighborhoods in Amman.

 

When we plan tour packages for people visiting Jordan, we encourage a visit to this neighborhood and in particular to Beit Sitti because we want our honored guests to see and understand the multiple facets of Jordan culture. Going to Wadi Rum and Petra is essential, but if that is all you do you only see one part of Jordanian culture. Spending time in the city will expose you to a greater depth of culture as the traditional roots spring up into something new in the city. You can read our blog about the “Top Five Things to Experience While in Jordan.” Now, back to why Beit Sitti is a must experience on your trip to Jordan.

 

Beit Sitti is in an older residential home. Established in 2010 by sisters in order to preserve their grandmothers legacy, these women teach traditional Arabic cooking and then together you eat the food that you have prepared. Of course, you will receive the recipes of the food that you made along with suggestions on how to modify it in your home country in case ingredients are difficult to find.

 

What this place has is ambiance. The beautifully well preserved traditional home sits high on the side of Jabal (mountain) Webdah giving a beautiful view of Amman. If you are visiting Jordan during the warmer months, enjoy eating on the terrace under lights in the evening if you choose to cook a dinner. At Beit Sitti, you can choose breakfast, lunch, or dinner each is a four course meal.

 

If you would like to read personal reviews and experiences on Beit Sitti here are a few of our favorite blogs on this topic or you can read more on TripAdvisor.

 

The Road Less Forked: A Cultural Experience: Cooking my own lunch at Beit Sitti – Amman, Jordan

 

Traverse: Cooking at Beit Sitti

 

twirl the globe: Cooking Up a Storm in Beit Sitti Jordan

 

As always, if you would like to book a trip to Jordan you can contact us here to create a custom trip just for you. If this interests you, you may want to check out our other Experiential Tours or our other blog articles on Experiences in Jordan.