With a population of more than four million, Amman is the capital and the largest city in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. A city originally built on top of seven hills, visitors have the opportunity to explore the ancient and modern highlights while enjoying amazing views of the areas surrounding Amman. The city can be accessed from cities in Israel, like Jerusalem, by car or taxi, or from the Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport. Many people prefer to explore this city with a tour, especially because it is one of Jordan’s highlights. From Amman, it is also easy to access Jerash, another one of Jordan’s famous sites.
History of Amman
Amman became the capital of the Jordan (then called the Emirate of Transjordan) in 1921. Modern day Jordan gained its independence in 1946, keeping Amman as its capital. For major cities in the Middle East, it is very new, although, the lands in and around Amman have been mentioned as a major location all the way back in the Old Testament. That is why it is considered both the ancient and modern capital of Jordan.
During the 20th century, the city began to grow in 1948 as Palestinians migrated to Amman from the newly established state of Israel. During the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, financial institutions throughout the Middle East moved their wealth from Beirut to Amman. Today, the city continues to receive refugees from countries like Iraq, and more recently Libya. It is the eighth most visited city by tourists in the Middle East and Africa.
Amman is divided into two parts – old and modern. Visitors have the opportunity to see both. Most of Amman’s historical sites are located in the downtown area. The most iconic is the Citadel, which houses al-Qasr, the palace. Excavations of the Citadel have uncovered Roman, Byzantine, and ancient Islamic remains. Near the al-Qasr is the Great Temple of Amman, which is thought to have been a temple of Hercules. Other interesting historical sites in the downtown area include the Jordan Archaeological Museum and a Roman Theater (built in the 2nd century CE), which is still used today for cultural events.
One of the top things to do in Amman, especially for car enthusiasts, is visit the Royal Automobile Museum. There you can view many of the luxury cars owned by the royalty of the country, many by the late King Hussein.
These are just a few of the many sites worth visiting in Amman. The best way to visit Amman is with a tour. You can visit the city as part of the Petra and Highlights of Jordan 2-Day Tour or with the Petra, Wadi Rum and Highlights of Petra 3-Day tour. If you want to see the best of both countries, Amman is also included in the 8-Day Highlights of Israel and Jordan Tour. See all our package tours of Israel and Jordan here.
Amman is 32 km north of Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the airport to Amman by taxi. From Israel, Amman is about 72 kilometers from Jerusalem and can be accessed by land through the King Hussein Bridge Border Crossing. If you’re already in Amman and wish to travel to Jerusalem for a day trip, check out our organized tours from Jordan to Israel. This is the easiest and best way to move between the neighboring countries.