Readers Corner

The Magical Kingdom of Jordan Part 1

Oct 20, 2021

I recently had the opportunity to visit the country of Jordan, officially known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with a group of fellow travel advisors. I had long been fascinated with Petra, as so many others are, and have wanted to visit Jordan for a very long time. Sometimes, when you really want to see or do something, it does not always meet expectations. In the case of Jordan, all expectations were exceeded. Future travel will have a bit of a higher bar for me now. The entire experience was beyond my wildest dreams. We were even interviewed by a Jordanian TV station and attained a bit of celebrity status!

I have been asked by so many people to talk about my trip so I thought I would document it all here. This will be a multi-part post as Jordan and the trip were filled with that much awesomeness!


Jordan is a small country in the Middle East, bordered by Israel, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank of Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. For my fellow friends from the States, it is about the size of the state of Maine. With a population of approximately 10 million (2 million of whom live in Amman), there is a lot of open space. Jordan is very safe and a relative peaceful gem in the Middle East. It is a Muslim-majority country but is fairly progressive in its policies and attitudes. It is located in a region that has been influenced by layer after layer of other cultures in its history. One of the many things that surprised me about Jordan was just how many events of historical and religious importance took place in this tiny country.


Photo Credit: Zeina Kassem


AMMAN

I absolutely adored Amman. It is a dense city with lots of traffic but no where near as chaotic as other cities where I have spent time. Fabulous ruins dominate the city center. We enjoyed many great meals of traditional Jordanian food, shopped the market, and had fun doing some shopping around Rainbow Street. Alleyways and side streets beckon you to explore. There are very old parts of the city and newer parts. There are lots of options for accommodations, from truly incredible 5-star hotels to unique locally owned boutique hotels. And the variety of restaurants fill every desire.

Amman is a very hilly city and there are stairs everywhere, taking you from one level to another. One certainly gets their fair share of exercise when navigating the city. And, being an old city, there are many parts with uneven walkways so good, comfortable shoes are a must!

Overlooking the entire city is the Citadel of Amman, sitting on the highest hill in Amman. The Citadel has been occupied since the Bronze Age and surrounded by an extensive wall. The highlights include the remains of the Temple of Hercules (pictured above, second from the top) and the Ummayad Palace, but there is much more to be explored. We all remarked upon entering the Palace that you could still feel a presence there. It is always amazing to me to stand in a place that was built hundreds of years ago and think about all who passed through and what happened throughout history. Fascinating. There is also a little museum with artifacts going back hundreds, thousands, even millions of years. And they have barely begun to really excavate large swaths of Jordan.

The Citadel also gives you an amazing view of the city, both old and new. Form the top of the hill, you get a complete 360-degree view of the entire city. All three of the photos from above were taken from the top of the hill. The very first photo is of the Roman Theater, located in the center of town. And that is where we descended to next.

The Roman Theater was built in the 2nd Century when the Romans occupied the region. Back then, Amman was called Philadelphia. It was built to seat 6,000 people and was used for cultural activities, both then and now. The highest seats were considered the best as they offered great views and the actors could still be clearly heard because of the design. It is a bit steep so we did not climb up too far. But one of our gang did do an MC Hammer dance in the theater and we have video proof!