We were determined not to let the icy cold rain, nor the thick putrid smoke of Ammanian cigarettes spoil the city experience.
Just quick words about cigarette smoke. We are not smokers. We avoid it whenever we can. However from time to time in various places, people have been smoking around us. Sometimes the tobacco is okay or faintly smells of cloves or sometimes even mildly sweet. Sometimes people were polite about their smoking while at other times they’d smoke right under the No Smoking signs and blow puffs in our faces. The cigarette smoko e in Amman, (and yes, everywhere we were in Amman), smelled like soot from chemical factory. How people inhaled this was beyond me. There was almost no off limit areas either. Museums, taxis, buses, restaurants, and even hotels allowed people to smoke these horrid brands of cigarettes and bellowing plumes of the stuff. It made New Delhi air and all the burning plastic seem like a rose garden.
The cold rain seemed to pierce our flimsy rain jacket and layers. Undeterred we climbed the steps to the Citadel which possessed a commanding view of the city. At every turn there were ruins and signs of ancient civilization. From various viewpoints a 360 view of the city could be seen.
One of the highlights was visiting the Archaeological Museum. Here we learned about early human development in Amman and many of the archaeological treasures found. Inside we found archaeological finds going back to 8000BC, indicating that this area has been in use by one human civilization or another for a very long time. Some of the civilizations that used the area were Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Umayyad and Ayyubid dynasties.
Also of great interest was learning how thoughtful each civilization was about water. At the apex of the Citadel was a giant cistern. Elaborate canals and grooves collected and distributed the water.
The Roman Theater
Just down the hill from the Citadel was the Roman Theater. Built around 140AD during the reign of Antonious Pius, the Theater was carved into a hill. Over 6000 people could be seated there. When standing at the focal point of the stage, our voices echoed throughout the auditorium — fantastic acoustics. We visited two museums on either side of the theater that showcased Jordanian handicrafts through history and traditional clothing. However, the docents were smoking so heavily inside that we had to leave.
We also enjoyed walking around old Jordan area. Although there were lots of tourist gedunk, we found a local market to stock up on food for our long bus ride to Petra. I don’t know why, but sometimes local market food looks so appealing. It seems to me that although we have food displayed and on sale like this at home it is considered “luxury” purchases, and that if we want cheap we buy it bulk or in a jar. Here, it seemed quite the opposite. Supplies were plentiful and reasonable.