People often overlook Amman but we really enjoyed our time in the city. The Citadel in Amman is a great place to start any trip to Jordan. It is the centre of the city and offers both a glimpse into Jordan's ancient past as well as incredible views of the city as it is today.
Even if you're not a history buff, visiting the Citadel in Amman is a must. It's also a great spot for photography, particularly if you stay around for sunset. The Citadel closes early during Ramadan (which coincided with our visit), so we didn't get to experience it, but we've seen many beautiful photos so we'd definitely recommend it coinciding your visit with sunset.
Here's everything you need to know to plan your trip to the Citadel in Amman.
The Citadel Amman
The Citadel in Amman was used even before the Romans arrived, with evidence of a Bronze Age settlement (about 3,000 - 2,000 BC) before Marcus Aurelius built the Roman Temple of Hercules (which is the two pillars that are the focal point of the Citadel).
The ruins are really interesting to explore and take in that this place was built over 4,000 years ago. It always blows me away that ancient civilisations could build incredible structures like the Temple of Hercules.
We'd recommend giving yourself a good amount of time when visiting, it's a great place to wander and soak up the juxtaposition of old and new.
All around the Citadel you'll be wowed with incredible views both of the ruins and the city itself. There's a small pavement on the northern side of the Citadel - off to the right just after the Temple of Hercules - that offers our favourite views of the city. There is no railing so you can get some nice pictures with that amazing city back drop. It's one of our favourite photography spots in Jordan.
Citadel Amman Entry Price
Entry to the Citadel is cheap, costing only 3JD per person (about $4 USD).
If you would like a guide there are many that wait around the entrance. It's not essential though, we were happy just to wander.
Citadel Amman Opening Hours
The opening hours for the Citadel changes depending on the time of year and closes early during Ramadan.
Winter: 8am - 4pm
Summer: 8am - 6.30pm
April/May: 8am - 5.30pm
Getting to the Citadel
Like a lot of Amman, The Citadel is perched on top of a very steep hill. You could walk up there, but you'll be getting a sweat on and there are a few unpaved sections. We did walk down though which was very easy : )
A taxi from the downtown area should only cost between 1 and 2 JD (about $3 USD).
The Citadel is fairly close to the Roman Amphitheatre so it makes sense to combine the two.
The Roman Amphitheatre Amman
We'd highly recommend also visiting the Roman Amphitheatre. It is an incredibly well preserved structure that shows off the Romans' ingenuity. Walking up to the top will give you more great views of the city.
What we really loved about it too is that there was no one else around on our visit. Not sure there are many ancient structures like this in the world where that would be the case!
There are also two relatively bland museums that have some creepy wax figures re-enacting traditional Bedouin and Jordanian culture. They are included in the entry price.
If you've got longer in the capital, we'd recommend checking out the 10 best things to do in Amman. There are plenty we wish we'd had time to do!
Where to stay in Amman
Our Pick: Gallery Guest House
We stayed at the Gallery Guest House, the best budget to mid-range choice you can get in Amman. For $40 USD a night we had a comfortable en-suite room on a quiet street with air-con. Breakfast is included in the price and is served on the roof terrace overlooking the city.
It is walking distance to many of the city attractions and just a few minutes from our favourite restaurant in Amman, Hashem. Best falafel ever.
We can't recommend this place highly enough. It was probably the best value stay we had in Jordan and after looking for ages online and seeing lots of horror stories about the cheaper hotels we were really pleased with this find. The guys that run it are lovely too.
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