Published: July 9th 2010July 9th 2010
Temple of Hercules
Ahlan ya Shabab!
Sorry it's been so long since my last entry, once classes got started homework has been nonstop. 4 hours of classes a day equals four hours of homework per night for 5 days a week! While it is very intense I like it a lot, and my class has very nice people. It's hard to believe 3 weeks have already passed and only 6 are left, time sure does fly!
So, since today is Friday that means it is the weekend in Jordan. So, after sleeping in a little I headed to the local mall and finally had a successful ATM experience, thank goodness! So after exiting the mall feeling great I decided why not go the citadel? For those of you who don't know what the citadel is, all you have to do is Google Amman images and some pictures will come up. It has incredible history, spectacular views, and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world!
The history is this in a nutshell. The hill of the citadel is known as Jabal al-Qal'a, and it's pretty much situated in the middle of the city. Once you get to the top the
views are incredible as you can see the whole capital in every direction you turn. Possibly the coolest thing I have experienced since arriving in Amman came right as I walked into the entrance, the call to prayer. Now, I hear the call to prayer every day, courtesy of the mosque right outside my window. However, never before have I heard every single mosque in Amman as the echos reach the top of the mountain. It was seriously the coolest thing I have ever heard as the muezzins voices rise to the top of the city.
The focal point of the citadel is the Temple of Hercules. This can be seen right as you enter the park area. This was thought to have been built around 161-180 AD. The cool thing is you can get as close as you want and experience the sheer height of it while standing beside it.
The 2nd well known structure is the Byzantine church from the 6-7th century AD.
The third and final structure is the Umayyad Palace Complex. Thought to have been built around 720 AD, the remains are vast. They include a gateway, an audience hall, vaulted chambers and a main road.
Ruins are all that is left, obviously, but they are still something to see!
As Amman tries to become more modernized one thing that is going on this summer is a festival with musical acts from all over the world. The festival takes place on the Citadel which brings a modern atmosphere to a timeless treasure for the country.
Other sites of interest from the top of the mountain are the flagpole (the third tallest one in the world!), the dome of the Abdullah Mosque (named after the first King Abdullah, not the current one) and the remains of an ancient roman amphitheater that can hold 6,000 spectators (and is still used to this day on occasion). While the sun was hot, the temperature wasn't humid, and with a bottle of water the experience was definitely worth the trip up to the top. Actually, right now it's hotter on the east coast of America than it is here. =) Again more pictures will be on my facebook page. Until next time, mara al salaama
There are more photos below