Occupying Jebel al-Qala'a, the highest of the seven hills, the Citadel dominates downtown Amman. The hill had been inhabited for thousands of years and remained of importance until the destructive earthquake of 749 AD. The walls protecting the Citadel were rebuilt and restored repeatedly, but trace their foundation to the earliest of times. The Citadel is the site of the ancient city of Rabbat Ammon, the Acropolis of Graeco-Roman Philadelphia, the seat of Christian bishops in the early Byzantine Empire, and the Omayyad Palace complex. When the city fell into decline after the earthquake of 749 AD, the Citadel was never rebuilt, except for a defensive watchtower by the Ayyubids to monitor Crusader activity. Today, the Citadel is one of Amman's most important historic sites and contains ruins of several structures dating from various periods, as well as the National Archaeological Museum. Cultural events are also frequently held within the Citadel.
The first things that you can see in Amman is the Citadel. It is locate on gebel al-Qalah and all around it you can see the roman walls and the Arabian ones. There is a great nice temple (Temple of Hercules), a Byzantine Church, an Umayyad Palace Complex and a very nice museum.
Inside the National Archeological Museum you can see some scrolls of the Dead Sea. They were discovered in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea, in the 1952. They were written on copper, papar and steel and they spek about religion and about a mistery treasury hidden between Hebron and Nablus.
The foundation of the fairly large mosque, which served the Omayyad Palace and its quarters, is discernible within the citadel. The structure, built in 720 AD opposite the Omayyad Palace, has only survived in ruins. It was a typical early-Islamic mosque with a spacious courtyard surrounded by colonnaded porticoes, similar to the early construction of the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, or the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As in Old Cairo. The bases of the columns are visible, and a section of the mosque's northern wall has been reconstructed, showing similar carvings as the façade and interior of the entrance hall of the opposite Palace. The mosque was destroyed along with the rest of the citadel in the 749 AD earthquake.
Dating from the late 6th century AD, the Byzantine Basilica Church is located within the Citadel. It was destroyed along with the rest of the Citadel in the 749 AD earthquake and was never rebuilt. The nave of the Church contained a few Corinthian columns which were likely recycled from an earlier Roman temple. Some of these columns have been re-erected at their actual locations, while the semi-circular apse in the back has been partially reconstructed. Behind the church are some Byzantine-period ruins with surviving arches and walls.
Another roman sight of Amman lies on Citadel Hill. From there, provided you get a sunny day (not my case) you would have wonderful view across Old City and over the Roman amphitheater. In the distance, right in front of you, theorethically, you should also be able to see the black and white Abu Darwish mosque on top of Jebel Ashrafiah.
What you could see, in every weather, are the ruins of the Temple of Hercules, the remains of the Roman walls and part of an Omayyad castle. There's also a small archaeological Museum.
We visited the Citadel in April 2009.
It's certainly an interesting place ----especially with a knowledgable guide/good guidebook. There is evidence of many civilizations here and as you wander through the ruins the views of the city are interesting.
This site is really open ----typical of most sites in the Middle East! There were no restrictions e.g. keep off the monuments, no entry, no photography.
We spent about 2 hours there amongst both local and international tourists. We did not feel that there were crowds or that this is a commercially developed site. No doubt the government will one day make it more touristy (like Petra) but that will be many years from now.
Would I return? Yes.
The Citadel is situated on Jebel al-Qal’a. Among the sights are the magnificent Umayyad palace complex and the Temple of Hercules.
The most impressive of the Umayyad palace is the domed entrance hall.
There are also great views of Amman from Citadel Hill.
Admission is 2 JD.
It is easy to walk down to the Downtown area from here, but best to take a short taxi ride to the top if you are in the Downtown area (about 500 Fills).
Up in the hill that is in front of the Theatre is the Citadel. It is Amman's Acropolis. It has a roman temple (Hercule's temple), the Ummayd's Palace, a Byzantine church, some roman walls and the Museum of Archaeology. Very interesting to spend in the whole citadel about 2 hours looking and walking around the old monuments and at the museum. Also, the views from the old city that you can get from there are fabulous.
Drive or take a cab to the upper part of the city to see the roman ruins at the Citadel and get a good view of the city. The small museum is worth a look too to see the roman artifacts on display. Small entrance charges apply.
At Amman's Citadel, one of the most important monuments of the city is Hercules Temple. It was built to honour the emperor Marco Aurelius, between the years 161 and 180. We can still see two of the four columns of the facade, as well as some other columns of the other rooms of the palace.
Ammans Citadel stands on one of Ammans seven hills Jebel al-Qala'a.
Unfortunately much of the citadel has long gone, but there are still plently of Ruins for you to wander around in where you can see evidence of Islamic, Byzantine and of course Roman construction.
The Citadel is also a great viewing point to get you barings in Amman and over the Roman Theatre
The Citadel sits on top of one of Ammans hills, unfortanely there isn't much to see up here, the views of Amman are worth the trip up here but not much else...3 JOD to enter, give your self about 30 minutes to walk around and see the entire complex.
The Citadel hill of Amman (Jabal el Qala) has been inhabited for centuries. It was occupied as early as the Neolithic period, and fortified during the Bronze Age (1800 BC). It was important as a military and religious site.
In the citadel you can see the Temple of Hercules, constructed under the rule of Marcus Aurelius (AD 162-166), similar to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus; a Byzantine basilica constructed in the 5th-6th centuries AD; the Umayyad governor's palace (8th century), with the dome, the Umayyad Mosque and the Cistern for the water supply to the governor's palace.
From the citadel you can also enjoy a nice view of Amman. Towards the South, you will see the Roman theatre.
Here you'll find the Umayyad Palace, which dates back to about AD 720. The most intact building here is the domed audience hall, nearby is the small Byzantine Basilica & the National Archaeological Museum.
South of the Basilica are the remaining pillars of the Temple of Hercules, from here you get a great view of the Downtown area.