The Jordanian capital of Amman is often associated with Byzantine Roman runs due to its famed Citadel Hill, which holds the often-visited coliseum, but for some reason, few actually think of that other signal expression of its importance to the Byzantines at the time: its bishopric. Amman was still Philadelphia when the Amman Byzantine Church was built in the 6th century (it was renamed about a century later), and the Byzantine Church is thus among the oldest of its ruins from this period under Rome.
The church ruins may be found on foot, and are in fact generally accessed that way by most people. On Nimer bin Adwan Street, trek up the incline until you reach the side-path that leads to the church (ask locals or your tour guide for help). Its location on Citadel Hill puts it right next to all the main tourist attractions in the area, several of which were also of religious and ritual import to those who built them: the Temple of Hercules and the mosque nearby, for instance.
While most of what remains of the Amman Byzantine Church now are just the foundations and some of the columns, the site is nonetheless picturesque and reminiscent of many of the ruins left of ancient Grecian temples (with a bit of Oriental influence thrown in due to the nature of Byzantine architecture, of course). Furthermore, there are plans for renovation going on, in order to further draw tourists to the area. As far as the reconstructive and renovating architects can infer, the church seems not to have departed at all from the typical Byzantine church construction at the time, which means the design part of the reconstruction work, at the very least, should be fairly straightforward.
As may well be guessed by anyone taking a look at the ruins, there were two rows of columns running down the length of the church’s nave. A good number of these are still present in various states of preservation, and even the leafing details at the very tops of these columns-or those whose tops have survived, at least-are yet intact, revealing more of the minutiae in classical Byzantine design. The possession of rows of columns on either long side of a rectangular nave is typical of the architecture of the period. An interesting feature is the evidence of there having quite clearly been a chancel screen in the church, which was a device employed to conceal the altar from the congregation. This practice actually began only in the 6th century, around the same time the church was built.
Perhaps what most tourists will find most interesting about the church is simply its atmosphere. Ruins-especially the classic, almost-clichéd double-row-of-columns ruins-have always had a mystique all their own, one that people still feel attracted to even today. The situation of the site on a hill only adds to it, as it means that visitors can practically wallow in the stereotypical setting of ancient ruins here. The Amman Byzantine Church is definitely worth taking a gander at, even if only for that. And if nothing else, it is certainly a great place for taking photos.