kamila

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

Amman – (not) the ugliest city in the world

Just before my Middle East trip at the beginning of the year I stumbled upon an article naming top 10 ugliest cities in the world. To my great surprise Amman, the capital city of Jordan and the place I was looking forward to visiting really badly, made it to the 3rd position (only Guatemala City and Mexico City were higher on the list). Amman was described as dirty, chaotic and, well, ugly. And I really get it why people might not like it as it’s not your typical picture perfect tourist destinations. But these features (and few more) were the reasons why I loved Amman from the very beginning!

amman-houses

The downtown, where I stayed, is located in the valley, surrounded by hills packed with way too many houses. All of them have a dirty yellowish color and look kind of the same, like they are about to collapse at any second. That’s just the impression you get from far away but once you get closer and wander around you see they are all perfectly fine. The city is always busy, the streets are full of people and cars (sometimes you have to force your way across the street), there’re numerous little shops on every corner. From the very beginning I could see that Amman definitely has a soul, the vibe that I’ll definitely enjoy. And I was right!

amman-street

One of the most surprising things about Amman was the street art located all over the city. As soon as I’ve realized how big part of the downtown is covered in some really good pieces I started to looking around every corner, checking every step to see every single example I could find! And I loved all my discoveries! It seems like Amman has a pretty big street art scene, they have even a themed fair there! That’s definitely something to look for if you happen to be in the capital of Jordan!

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Amman-street-art

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Amman is also one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back to 7000 BC! Even if it at first glimpse it doesn’t look very attractive there are sights of a really big historical value located all over the city. When walking around downtown you can randomly stumble upon some old Roman ruins jammed next to the regular houses. Right in the heart of the downtown there’s an impressive Roman theater – built in 2nd century AD that can fit in around 6000 people and it sometimes still used for performances of various kind.

Amman-Roman-theatre

But the biggest attraction is the Citadel, located on top of the highest hill in Amman and offering the best views of the city. The way up there is pretty steep but definitely worth the effort (it’s just better to use the main entrance and not climb over the wall like I did, the security had a good laugh at that). Inside there’re some nice ruins (of course!) that are worth exploring but for me the possibility to see this enormous city from a different perspective was the best. Only then you can really see how huge Amman is, looks like the houses are crumbled on top of each other. Above it all an enormous flag of Jordan waves proudly!

Amman-citadel

Amman-huge-flag

Amman-ruins

It seemed to me that Amman lives 24/7 (but a little bit slower in the mornings). There were always people around, shopping in small local shops or on the huge market place, flicking through old items (including Iraqi banknotes with Saddam Hussein) at the flea market, the main square in front of the mosqfilled withue was people ready to work were waiting for potential employers. Back streets hide small restaurants serving delicious and cheap food. One of the best falafels I’ve ever eaten was bought in one of such places, for 1JD (1.4$ / 1€).

amman-flea-market

Amman-restaurant

Amman-shops


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During my stay in Amman I happened to wander through better neighborhoods too, where the houses were modern and restaurants served European overpriced beer. And they were fine too but the busy downtown bustling with energy was where I felt the best. Despite the bad reputation of the city and few minor incidents (when I knew I got a higher price only because I’m not local) Jordan is a safe country and I loved the place and its vibrant atmosphere. It might be ugly for some but I find this ugliness beautiful. Amman must be the most Middle East city of all I’ve visited so far and it just made me more intrigued of the area. Now I’m more than ready to explore this part of the world better and at some point I wouldn’t mind returning to Amman too.

Amman-view

abandoned-Amman

Do you like visiting not obvious destinations too? Would you like to visit Amman?


Are you looking for a place to stay in Amman? Look no further! I stayed in Jordan Tower Hotel and it had probably the best location in the city, available for a decent price. If you’re interested in other options you can book your accommodation in Amman here!


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If you think of visiting Jordan or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!

Now you can visit Amman as a part of Petra Tour. This two days tour departs from Jerusalem every Wednesday and Sunday and is a great opportunity to see highlights of Jordan during your stay in Israel.

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4 Kwi '14

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