The Citadel towers over Amman

monument
The Citadel towers over Amman

Perched atop the highest hill, the Citadel has witnessed more than 2,000 years of history. Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads have come and gone…

If you can visit only one site in Amman, this should be it. Known as Jabal al-Qal'ah, the place is impressive and offers a breathtaking journey through time. Several civilisations lie under foot, and the view of Lower Town is sublime. Behind the wall, which is around 1,700 metres long, the Citadel houses the Roman Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine basilica with its sumptuous mosaics, and the Umayyad palace, a masterpiece erected around 720 AD, destroyed by an earthquake in 749, and never fully restored. Relatively well preserved, the royal buildings give you an idea of the splendour of the Umayyad dynasty. Some centuries earlier, during the reign of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180), the Temple of Hercules was enthroned above the city, guarded by battalions of centurions and legionaries. The two colossal pillars that still stand are astonishing, and give a sense of the awesome beauty of this sanctuary. There are centuries of history to discover here, under the open sky.

Jabal al-Qal'ah
Amman

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