Amman: The Original City of Brotherly Love

It may not look like much on the outside, but Amman is treasure trove of history and hospitality. Also, beer. After nearly three months in Muslim-majority countries we were pretty psyched to find freely flowing beer.

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Pretty sure there’s just the one architect/construction company in this city. Photo by Ryan.

This was home to the Ammonites of Biblical fame, which fell to King David, but was rebuilt by the Ptolemaic ruler Philadelphus. The city was renamed Philadelphia in honor of the new ruler, making it the original City of Brotherly Love. We can assure you that it still lives up to its old motto. Jordanians on the whole are the most welcoming, nicest people we’ve met on our journey so far.

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The old Roman Theater, cut directly into a hill sometime in the 2nd century. A smaller structure, the Odeon, is pictured to the left of the theater. Photo by Tricia.
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What remains of the Temple of Hercules in the old city of Rabbath-Ammon. It’s quite a sprawling ruin and worth a couple of hours out of your day to explore. Photo by Tricia.

Our first few days in Jordan were spent here in Amman in order to get our bearings and learn a little of the history of the country. The Jordan Museum was a wonderful start, with artifacts dating back to 15,000 BC to the very first known carvings of human statues.

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Some of the oldest known human statues. These are on display at the museum in the Citadel, another set is in the Jordan Museum. They date to 8,000 BC. No one knows why it’s two heads on a single block body. Photo by Ryan.

There was a wonderful temporary exhibition dedicated to Ibn Al-Haythim, the “man who discovered how we see.” It’s a beautiful exhibit about light, optics, and vision. He’s also credited with saying what is now one of my most favorite quotes: “The duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads.” This is good advice, especially with all the fake news running around these days.

If you’re headed to Jordan, don’t miss spending a day or two in Amman. The museums and old ruins are worth the time. And make sure you stop into Hashem Restaurant for some of the very best falafel you’ll ever have.

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