At the risk of sounding supremely, historically uneducated (which admittedly I am), I did not expect the main focal points of the Jordanian capital city to be ancient Roman ruins! Would you? Of course I was aware that the ancient empire covered a vast amount of land but to have reached this far east without the aided assistance of Ryanair or Easyjet, well it really makes one pause for thought, does it not?
One of these main sights was in the heart of 'down-town' Amman and with my hostel being a five minute walk to reach down-town, well I couldn't of asked for a more central, affordable location. On route down I couldn't fail to notice the prevalence (and proudness) of their flag.
Notice the subtle difference though in two of prominent green, white, red and black flags? The difference is perhaps best shown in the first and centre image as there's a star on one of them which is what distinguishes the Jordanian flag to the Arab Revolt. (The Jordanian flag is newer and so it is based on the flag from The Great Arab Revolt).
The seven points of the Jordanian star are said to stand for something like the seven opening verses in the Qur'an, covering faith in one God, humanity, humility, national spirit, virtue, social justice, and aspiration. The flag of the Arab Revolt (no star) dates back to the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. You might have heard of 'Lawrence of Arabia'? It was he who liaised between Arab and British command playing a huge role in the victory over the Turks!
With your history and general knowledge done for the day, let's get on with seeing some ancient Roman ruins I spoke of earlier. First though, here is modern day Amman
depicting typical housing in and around down-town. Naturally there will be more affluent areas to this several million populated city but these aren't areas your average backpacker will get to frequent, obviously.
Next, moving on to the Roman theatre with several teaser shots first from directly outside the Roman ampitheatre before I pay my dues to enter this impressive site. The entry cost? Less than a couple of pounds! Result.
The Roman theatre looked to me like a fantastically restored structure from 'Roman Philadelphia'. (The city was known back then as 'Philadelphia'). They claim a seating capacity of 6000 in which this open-aired arena continues to be utilised from time to time to stage events in the city. I spent a good couple of hours here mixing between relaxing and seeking photo opportunities but mainly, for once, the former.
Whilst it's entirely accurate to say I honestly don't have anywhere booked after Jordan, the likelihood is that I will return to Amman to at least fly out from there. As such, the next time I return here, whenever that might be, I will continue with 'Part 2' of my exploration of Amman which will include its next impressive Roman site, the citadel. Here's a teaser view from down-town looking up to the hill:
Over these months I've attempted to convey (and hopefully successfully) the importance of people during one's travelling experience. You may recall that I describe travel-friends as the 'very essence of travelling' which you should find will be the case for any long term traveller with even just an ounce of social skills. In the quiet, cheap but slightly dingy hostel in Amman, one good thing, possibly great, thing to come out of it would hopefully be a long term friendship with an Australian fella named Blake. Do not be surprised if you hear and see more of this man in some future posts to come, especially as together was have arrived in a special place.
A place that many of you will consider synonymous with Jordan: PETRA.