Jordan: Amman Citadel & Roman Amphitheater

DSC_0007Amman was known in the Old Testament as Rabbath-Ammon, the capital of the Ammonites around 1200 BC, it was also referred to as “the City of Waters”.

In Greco-Roman times in the 3rd century BC, the City was renamed Philadelphia (Greek for “The Brotherhood Love”) after the Ptolemaic ruler Philadelphus (283-246 BC). [Source]

During our Amman City tour we covered 3 historical sites which was The Amman Citadel, The Roman Theater and Jerash. But I will make a separate post about Jerash to avoid a photo heavy article.

Basically, our whole day Amman tour  were pretty much packed with historical and cultural exploration. So if you are into history and culture like my husband, I’m sure you’ll find Jordan an interesting place to visit.

Our tour guide picked us up at the Toledo Hotel at 9 o’clock in the morning. From the hotel we started our tour first at the Citadel. The weather was a little bit hot and the humidity was high. Which is a typical weather in the Middle East during August to September. It’s even hotter during the early part of summer. Sunnies, hat, light clothing and sunblock are must-haves when visiting Jordan this time of the year.

The Amman Citadel

National Historic Site & Archaeological Museum


The Amman Citadel is located at the center of downtown Amman. According to Wikipedia it was known as Jabal al-Qal’a in Arabic. “The L-shaped hill is one of the seven jabals that originally made up Amman. Evidence of occupation since the pottery Neolithic period has been found. It was inhabited by different people and cultures until the time of the Umayyads, after which came a period of decline and for much of the time until 1878 the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins only sporadically used by Bedouin and seasonal farmers. Despite this gap, the Citadel of Amman is considered to be among the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places.”

Though the fortification walls enclose the heart of the site, the ancient periods of occupation covered large areas. Historic structures, tombs, arches, walls and stairs have no modern borders, and therefore there is considerable archaeological potential at this site, as well as in surrounding lands, and throughout Amman.


There are three major buildings inside the Citadel, the Temple of Hercules,  the Byzantine Church, and the Umayyad Palace

The Temple of Hercules

DSC_0014-1The Romans built the Temple of Hercules as their dedication to Hercules in the same period as the Roman Theater was also built.


The Byzantine Church

DSC_0071The Byzantine basilica was constructed in the 5th-6th centuries AD


The Umayyad Palace

DSC_0068DSC_0064DSC_0072DSC_0088DSC_0111DSC_0083Husband noticed that I have a thing with doorways and arches… hahaha so here’s one pose out of many husband took.

Archaeological Musuem

DSC_0117The Archaeological Museum is located inside the Citadel. Built in 1951, and houses some artifact collections from prehistoric times to the 15th century.

After we explored the historical ruins in Citadel we went down to the Roman Theater below. Actually the Citadel has a great overlooking view of the Roman Theater.

Roman Amphitheater

DSC_0041Amman’s Roman Theater is a 6,000-seat, 2nd-century Roman theater. A famous landmark in the Jordanian capital, it dates back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia.

The theater was built during the reign of Antonius Pius (138-161 CE). The large and steeply raked structure could seat about 6,000 people: built into the hillside, it was oriented north to keep the sun off the spectators. – Wikipedia

DSC_004320150923_101049It’s still amazing to see that the theater is still intact and functional after a number of years since it was built. And today the theater is being used as a venue for cultural activities.

20150923_10174920150923_10185720150923_102929DSC_0153 Rooms behind the theater entrance are now used to house the Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition on the one side, and the Jordan Folklore Museum on the other side.

It’s interesting to learn how these places withstand and evolved through different periods of time. And now we’re still blessed to see some remnants of the past.

We’ve spent at least one hour and thirty minutes exploring both Citadel and Roman Theater before we headed to Jerash. From Amman City Center to Jerash cost us more or less one hour on the road. Please stay tuned for the Jerash article.