If you end up visiting Jordan’s capital at some point in your life, it would be impossible (for the sight-seer, anyway) to miss a trip to Jabal Al-Qal’a, or Amman Citadel Hill. The citadel is perched on one of the many mounts of the city and holds some of the most significant as well as picturesque archaeological sites here. From the remnants of a colossal statue to sculpted artefacts dating all the way back to the Neolithic, the finds here can more than satisfy your average history and archaeology buff.
Amman Citadel Hill is commonly described as L-shaped, although an alternative way of looking at it would merit comparison to a boomerang. One of the most significant sites, the Temple of Hercules, sits near the elbow of the boomerang, and just next to it is one of the most favoured tourist attractions in the area: the fragments of the old Hercules statue that once stood here, erected around 2nd century CE. As far as aptness goes, the identity of the statue’s subject could not be better: archaeologists estimate that the original statue may have had truly demigod-like proportions. It was most likely as tall as 13m. Now, with the detailed remnant of its enormous hand curled lazily over the edge of a platform of rock and earth (the elbow is still resting there too, by the way), its ghost still has the power to cast an impressive shadow on the tourist, and it can be a great photo opportunity if you take a photo of it with the ruined temple as a backdrop.
North of that would be the Jordan Archaeological Museum, which was established in 1951 and which holds some veritable treasures within its walls. Among other things, it houses an impressive coin collection several centuries in age, as well as the famed ‘Ain Ghazala human figurines dating back to the New Stone Age and some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The ‘Ain Ghazala figures are particularly interesting: archaeologists have yet to interpret exactly what their purpose was and why a few of the figures had two heads, but their wonderful state of preservation combined with the level of detail in their creation (the eyes are expressed with particular care, for instance, actually having irises outlined in bitumen) and their age make them valuable pieces of history in humanity’s heritage.
A bit northeast of that are the ruins of a Byzantine Church that is currently being restored, and further north one may find another centuries-old mosque, as well as a palace of the Umayyad Caliphate, from 8th century CE. The last is referred to as quite straightforwardly by locals as Al-Qasr, or The Palace, and its impressive size is yet another thing to note here. In short, Amman Citadel Hill is absolutely chock-full of archaeological sites that are sure to please you if you enjoy visiting ruins and dig sites and have a hankering to take epic photos of ancient ruins to compare with those often presented of such sites as the ruins of ancient Greek temples. You had best bring a good camera with you-as well as a pair of sensible shoes. The Citadel is best explored on foot, after all.