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The Citadel is a good place to begin a tour of the archaeological sites of the city. It is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon and excavations there have revealed numerous Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic remains. Located on a hill, it not only gives visitors a perspective of the city’s incredible history but also provides stunning views of the entire area.

Places of specific interest at the Citadel include:

The Jordanian Archaeological Museum

Which contains a substantial collection of artifacts from the Paleaolithic Period onwards. Four exhibits claim special interest. First are the two wax-like figures discovered at Ain Ghazzal in 1983, which date back to the early Neolithic period (8000-6000 BC). The second, and perhaps most famous exhibit, is the collection of The Dead Sea Scrolls, which are contained in a small alcove at the right end of the museum. An alcove on the opposite side of the room holds four anthropomorphic coffins, discovered in the grounds of the Raghadan Palace, which are rare examples of burials practised between the 13th and 7th centuries BC. Just across from the coffins is the ‘Amman Daedalus’, a Roman copy of the Hellenistic original. (According to Greek mythology, Daedalus built the famous Minoan Labyrinth in Crete. He is also known for making wings to enable him and his son Icarus, to escape the island.)

See all museums in Amman

The Umayyad Palace complex, dating from 720-750 AD. The great monumental gateway with its cruciform shape and four vaulted niches leads to a courtyard and colonnaded street, which runs through the complex with ruined buildings on either side.

The Temple of Hercules
, built during the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD).

The Byzantine Church, believed to date from the 6th or 7th century AD. Corinthian columns mark the site.

When you leave the Citadel, head for downtown, where points of interest include:

The restored Roman Theatre
, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. Built into three sides of the hillside, it seats around 6000 people and is still used for performances today.

The Roman Forum. A public square, bordered by the theatre and the Odeon, which was amongst the largest of the Empire (100 x50 metres). The row of columns in front of the theatre is what remains of the colonnades which flanked it.

The Nymphaeum. Roman cities always contained ornamental gardens, and old ‘Philadelphia’ was no exception. The main fountain is close to the theatre complex and dates back to the end of the 2nd century AD.

The Grand Husseini Mosque. A short stroll through the throbbing streets of the heart of downtown Amman and the glittering famous gold souq is The Grand Husseini Mosque. This Ottoman style mosque was rebuilt using striking pink-and-white stone in 1924 by the late King Abdullah I on the site of an ancient mosque built originally in 640 AD by Omar ibn Al-Khattab the 2nd Caliph of Islam and is thought to be the site of the Cathedral of Philadelphia.

Iraq Al Amir

Situated in a lush, secluded wadi 24KM to the southwest of Amman. It is generally known for Qasr Al-'Abd (Palace of the Slave), an impressive and unique building which dates from the first quarter of the 2nd century BC. Originally two stories high and constructed of megalithic stones weighing from 15-25 tons each, it the most striking Hellenistic monument that has survived on either side of the Jordan River.