Amman

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Amman

Amman was first mentioned as Rabbath Ammon in the Hebrew Bible around the 10th century BCE. Although the Jordanian capital has its fair share of ancient remnants, it is the way Amman experiences modernity that fascinates the most. Often listed among the most progressive cities in the Middle East, Amman is a flourishing capital growing by the hour, inhabited by a culturally diverse and rather liberal populace.

The City

Although things have been rough for some of Jordan's immediate neighbours, the country itself has managed to largely avoid political unrest in recent history, making today's Amman a pleasant and perfectly safe city to visit. The locals are famously welcoming, and many speak English, but a surprising few identify as originally Jordanian, belonging rather to various other ethnicities, such as Iraqi, Circassian or Palestinian. Nowhere is Amman's eclectic mix of cultures and youthful spirit more apparent than in Rainbow Street, one of the city's most happening locations lined with restaurants, bars, and shops, playing host to the weekly open-air Jara Souk during the summer. There is plenty to do and see in the city itself, but Amman also makes for an excellent base from which to explore the country further.

Do & See

There is a surprising lot to do in the Jordanian capital, from remnants of Roman (and even pre-Roman), Byzantine and Umayyad presence, to a couple of well-regarded galleries and cultural centres showcasing what Amman's cultural scene has to offer. Throw in affordable, delicious dining and a plethora of bargain shopping opportunities, and you'll be set for an eventful few days.

Dining

The historic crossroads of cultures Jordan was built on finds its reflection in local cuisine, which bears clear trace of Mediterranean, North African, Bedouin, general Middle Eastern and Levantine influence. Jordanian falafel is held in high esteem, and there are plenty of opportunities to discover why that is in Amman. Some must-eats include the national mansaf (tender yogurt-cooked lamb on rice, traditionally eaten with hands), shish kebab, and a mezze spread containing hummus and other "dips".

Cafes

Traditional sweets shops and tea houses mingle with a growing number of hip cafes worthy of a modern capital in the streets of Amman. Those looking to savour a traditional dessert must absolutely try the kanafeh (spelling varies), a sweet syrup-drenched pastry with delicious, gooey cheese at its heart.

Bars & Nightlife

Although alcohol vending is most often paused for the month of Ramadan, many Jordanians do enjoy a drink, and alcohol consumption isn't generally frowned upon. There are a few great haunts across the city and several bars with seriously impressive night views from their hillside locations.

Shopping

There is some serious shopping to be done in the capital, and some incredible bargains to be had. For those interested in purchasing gold, the Gold Souk in Ali Ben Abi Taleb Street is the place. Jewellery is often sold by weight, and prices can be brought down if you haggle. To support local social initiatives, shop at one of the several establishments across Amman that forward profits to craftspeople and rural communities that produce goods: textiles, pottery, cosmetics, herbs, spices and more.

Tourist Information