We’ve finally made it to the last leg of our trip: Amman and Jerash, Jordan. By this point, we’ve seen so much but there’s also still so much to see!
After the Jordan River, we drove 2.5 hours to Amman. Our hotel was just across the street from the Roman Theater so as soon as we checked in we walked over. We arrived at the hotel at 4 PM and decided to have dinner on the rooftop at the hotel at 6:30 PM. This gave us plenty of time to explore. The theater entrance was included in the Jordan Pass, but only one entry so we wanted to see everything.
The architecture of the theater is pretty amazing. The theater was built in the 2nd century and seats 6,000 people. It’s huge and a bit of a trek to climb the steep steps all the way to the top. The seats for the King and Queen remain, as does the post where people were beheaded. According to a local guide, you can still see blood stains in the cracks of the post.
The acoustics of the theater are pretty impressive. There’s a small cross on the stage area and when standing there you can be heard by the entire theater. Moving a foot or so to the left or right greatly diminishes the volume.
The most impressive feature of the theater is the ability to kneel and speak directly into the wall surrounding the stage area and be heard only by someone also kneeling on the other side of the stage. This was created to pass messages back and forth during performances between the stage hands.
In order for it to work you must kneel and speak directly into the wall, not to the side. Send a family member over to the other side and you’ll be able to carry on a conversation without anyone else in the theater being able to hear.
After the theater, we went back across the street to our hotel to have a drink before dinner. I cannot recommend this hotel enough. The owner and staff were fantastic, the complimentary breakfast was great, and the dinner they served on the rooftop was possibly the best meal we had the entire trip. It’s a tough call because we had some pretty fantastic meals but you are seriously missing out if you don’t have dinner at the Amman Pasha Hotel. Not to mention the gorgeous view of the amphitheater lit up at night. The hotel also has a cafe with live music most nights. And, they rescue local animals – we shared the rooftop with several bunnies, birds, and chicks.
The next morning we headed to Jerash, which was an hour away.
We ended up driving around the whole thing in attempt to find the parking lot. It is so much bigger than I expected! We spent all morning walking through the ruins. It is really one of those places that photos will never do justice for. The detail of the architecture that remains is extraordinary. It’s really fascinating to think about how long it took to make each column and temple. The people who began working on the pieces never saw their work finished.
Don’t forget to take water, it was hot in March! There is a museum a little ways into the grounds with bathrooms, though you do need to pay the attendant.
My favorite part was walking into the back side of the smaller amphitheater. I didn’t know what I was going into so stepping in and being surprised by what was inside was fun.
At the Temple of Artemis, there is a column that sways. When we were there some locals showed us with a fork but I’ve read about people using coins as well. Whatever object you’re using it, you slip it under the column and when it rocks towards you then you can no longer remove the object. Once it rocks back the other way, you can take it out again. It’s crazy to see how these massive columns can actually move and not topple over. Locals have a small snack and drink cart, complete with tea, set up at the temple as well. You can find the map of Jerash with some great information on each of the ruins here.
After walking all day in the heat we stopped for lunch at the little cafe on the grounds. Not a huge menu but it was definitely a step up from the chips and candy that we’d been subjected to during all of our time in the car during the whole trip. The cafe also has a restroom, just be sure to have your own tissues with you in case the bathroom is without.
After lunch, we drove back to Amman and headed to the Citadel. These grounds are also much bigger than I expected but, luckily, not nearly as big as Jerash. The citadel offers beautiful views of the city and lots of ruins. There’s also a pretty nice museum, which offers some relief from the heat. We just so happened to be up there during one of the adhans, or calls to prayer. It was a very cool experience to hear all of them at the same time while overlooking the city. Later, I read a traveler’s tip to make sure that you do visit the citadel during one of the adhans, so I’m glad we incidentally checked that off.
We spent one more night at the Amman Pasha Hotel and in the morning we packed up and got on our way to the airport.
The history in Amman – and all of Jordan for that matter – is absolutely incredible. Our entire Jordan trip was phenomenal and definitely one for the books! We had an unforgettable family trip.
Check out the rest of our Jordan adventure!