What is now Amman was once the Roman city of Philadelphia, a name was given to the settlement by an earlier Macedonian Greek ruler. The Romans took control of the area around 106 AD/CE.
Philadelphia became one of 10 cities at the eastern border of the Roman Empire which were and are known as the 'Decapolis'. The Decapolis cities lie in Jordan, Syria and Israel, though the majority of the are in Jordan). The cities adopted the Roman style of architecture and culture rather than maintaining the local Semitic culture, although the two cultures of course interacted.
The large theatre and the smaller Odeon next to it in what is now 'downtown' Amman are clear evidence of the city's importance during Roman times. The Odeon (now heavily restored) was built just before the theatre and is much smaller, seating perhaps 500 people. It was probably used for debates and discussions as well as for drama and, in its original form, may have been roofed or, at least, covered by textile awnings).
The theatre, set into the hillside, was probably built between 1131 to 161AD/CE, during the rule of Antonius Pius. It has the standard Roman theatre layout of semi-circular rows of stone bench seating, steeply tiered, facing the centre 'stage' where performances took place. The theatre seats around 6000 people and is still occasionally used for concerts and suchlike today. The theatre acoustics, of course, are as excellent as they are in all Roman theatres and the location was chosen so that the south-facing stage is in sunlight for most of the day whilst the audience are in shadow. Very clever builders, the Romans! :-)
Both theatre and odeon stand near what was once Philadelphia's Roman 'heart', its forum, although barely anything of that remains visible.
The theater was built during Antonius Piu's reign betwen 138 and 161. The large structure could seat about 6000 people and so this is the bigger Roman theater in Jordan and still today it is used for several shows.
The highest seats were called and still today are called Gods, they are far from the satege but still have the best view.
It's located in Al Ballad district.
Built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (169-177 AD), the large and steeply raked theatre could seat about 6,000 people. It is built into the hillside, and oriented north to keep the sun off the spectators.
If you like archaeology, history of art and ancient architecture then it's a must see for you :)
Built around 150 AD, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, the Amphitheatre is the most impressive survivor of Roman Philadelphia. It is also the largest Roman theatre in Jordan, with a seating capacity of up to 6000 people. It was cut into the north side of one of Amman's seven hills in what is now the city's downtown. The theatre was much restored in the 1950s and 1960s and has since held many cultural events and concerts. Within the Amphitheatre complex are two small museums, dedicated to Jordanian folklore and popular traditions. What is striking about the theatre is that it offers an incredibly quiet space with great acoustics, away from the mad streets of downtown Amman.
The Roman Theatre is one of the best examples of Roman architecture in Amman. It is built on a side of a hill and inside it can sit more than 6000 people.
The thatre was built in the 2nd century AD, during the kingdom of Antonino Pio (138 - 161).
It was restored in 1957 but people used stones different from the original ones, so is restoration wasn't very accurate.
Today it is used as theatre in summer.
This is a landmark of Amman. The theatre is very big and situated in Downtown Amman.
The structure dates from c 170 AD. It could seat an audience of more than 6000 people.
Do climb to the top for some great views, not just of the theatre, but also Jebel al-Qal’a and the Odeon, which is next to the theatre.
Visiting the Roman theatre was most probably the cheapest entrance fee I paid. For 1 JD, you can visit the theatre, Odeon and the museums and the theatre.
Amman's Roman amphitheatre is downtown - and it's the most important sight in town. It's a huge theatre which once could seat 6000 people. On the amphitheatre's ground there's also 2 small but quite interesting museums: the Museum of Popular Tradition and the Folklore Museum.
Inside it's an oasis of peace: not many tourists but plenty of people sitting down and enjoying a good book
As you gaze down from Citadel Hill, you will instantly see the ancient Roman Amphitheatre built under Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD). Up to 5000 residents of Philadelphia (Roman Amman) were seated in its impossibly steep 33 rows to be entertained by plays and other theatrical productions. The site is still in use, even today for sporting and cultural events. It is cut deeply into a hill that once served the Romans as a necropolis. It is even connected to the Citadel above on the opposite hill by a long and deep hidden tunnel.
Watch your step! The theatre is incredibly steep and the stonework is well worn and slippery, even on a dry day.
There are 2 small museums built into the foundations of the Roman Amphitheatre. The Jordan Folklore Museum (open every day from 09:00-17:00, except Fridays 10:00-16:00) is in the right wing of the theatre and houses a collection of items showing the traditional life of local people. The Museum of Popular Traditions (open daily 09:00-17:00 except Tuesdays) is located the other end of the theatre stage. Its displays include traditional Jordanian costumes, fine embroidery, antique jewellery and several 6th century mosaics from Jerash and Madaba.
This is one of the best attractions of Amman. It's located in the downtown area also called Al Balad. The theatre is very pretty and impressive if you decide to go up all the stairs.
Just at the location they have available the Museum of popular traditions and the Folklore museum, both really small.
If you are afraid to heights, be aware of not going that up. I am not afraid of heights but the steps are kind of slippery and funny looking to go up. So, i must say that I was a little bit scared.
Great spot to take nice pictures. I dont think that you will have to be here more than 30 minutes to do the 3 things all together.
ENtrance fee was 1 JD as of my trip on July 2008
This is the more spectacular remaining of the old Philadelphia (the name Amman was given during the Hellenistic period by Ptolemy Philadelphius in honour of his sister-wife Arsinoe Philadelphia).
Built in the 2nd century, it could contain 6000 spectators.
Quite impressive this is definitely worth the 500fils (0.5 JD) you pay to enter. Small warning, this is closed quite early : at 4pm on a Saturday (in september)
Downtown, in the very centre of Amman's old town, there's the Roman Theatre. Built between 169 and 177 A.D., it has room for 6000 people. It is very well preserved, though it has gone through some restoration process. It is surrounded by some other roman vestiges, and by the thousands of small houses that cope Amman's downtown.
The city Rabbah Ammon had its origins in the period about 1500 BC, and was important as the chief city of the Ammonites. In the 3rd century BC the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philadelphus captured it and renamed it Philadelphia, under which name it was known throughout the eras of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Many ruins of this period can be seen in Amman today. In the 1st century AD it was a leading city of the Roman province of Arabia. Lost to the Byzantines at the rise of Islam and subsequently conquered by Arabs in the 7th century, the city fell into decline by about 1300, again taking its former name, Rabbah Ammon. It was revived in the 20th century. An important Turkish base during World War I, it was taken from the Turks by the British in September 1918. Amman became the capital of newly independent Jordan in 1946.