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September 1995

Roman Ruins/Citadel Amman, Jordan


     Amman is an ancient city. It's one of the oldest yet continually inhabited cities of the world. Remains have been found through excavations dating from the stone age (as early as 7000 BCE).  The bible mentions wars and famous people such as David and Saul.

     Centuries later, the city was renamed Philadelphia after the Ptolemaic ruler Philadelphus in the third century BCE. Philadelphia was taken by the King Herod, Roman ruler, in 30 BCE. About 614 CE, it was taken by Persian Sassanians, but by about 635 CE, they were overtaken by the Arabian armies of Islam.  That is when the city was renamed to Amman. It was a caravan stop for traders until about 1878 when the Ottomans emigrated there. Today, it's a bustling city of over a million people.

      Amman consists of 7 hills. The ancient Citadel (one of the hills), is home to numerous ruins including Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic. The main building people come to see is the al-Qasr, which is "The Palace" which dates to the Islamic Umayyad period. Nobody was sure what the building would have been used for, but there is a huge gateway and a hall with four vaulted chambers. A colonnaded street runs through the complex (see photos below).  Near the Al-Qsar is a small Byzantine basilica (Scott didn't take photos though), which dates to the 6th or 7th century.  At the top of the citadel lies  what is thought to be "The Temple of Hercules" (See photos below). It was build during the reign of Marcus Aurelius somewhere about 161-180 CE).

   There is a small museum on the citadel as well, which houses artifacts from Prehistoric times through the renaissance. Exhibit includes some of the Dead Sea Scrolls!

    Visitors love to photograph the Roman Amphitheatre which is down below the Citadel. It was thought to have been built during the reign of Antoninus Pius, about 138-161 CE, as could contain up to 6 thousand spectators.   Two smaller museums are down near the amphitheater and house beautiful mosaics from Jerash. A smaller theater called "Odeon" is currently being restored (see photo below). This housed as many as 500 people.  It's believed to have been a venue for musical theatre.

    Down from there was the Nymphaeum (fountain/pool) built in 191 CE. It's still being excavated, and is off limits I believe until it's completion (hopefully by the year 2010). 

    Amman is loaded with mosques, businesses and people.  It's a blend of old and new and worth visiting.


Left to right: 1) Left side Amphitheatre 2) Amphitheater Steps 3) Looking down into Amphitheater 4) Looking down from Citadel to Amphitheatre 5) Right side of Amphitheater


Left to right: 1) Amphitheater Stage Close Up 2) Outer Walls of Baths 3) Baths 4) More Baths 5) Bathhouses


Left to right: 1) Citadel Wall piece 2) Citadel Walls 3) Colonnade 4) Street Colonnade 5) Column Close up


Left to right: 1) Temple of Hercules 2) Outside Amphitheatre 3) Small theatre (Odeon) being reconstructed 4) Hercules Temple 5)  Scott at the Temple of Hercules


Left to right: 1) City Street seen (shows modernization/English signs) mixed with people wearing a mixture of modern clothing and traditional clothing etc.

Sites you might like to visit:

Bible Places

Sacred Destinations Travel Guide

Visit Jordan


King Herod

Persian Sassanians

Ottoman Empire


Marcus Aurelius

 Antoninus Pius

Dead Sea Scrolls



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