Am'man' with a mission!

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Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman
June 1st 2017
Published: April 18th 2018
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.....And onto the Jordanian capital city, and all it entails. Amman is far and away Jordan's largest urban area and is situated in the northern section of the nation. Another day trip was to be worked into the mix for the Amman stay, and in this instance, it was a day trip to the Dead Sea taking in the sights and sounds of Madaba, Ma'in Hot Springs resort and anywhere else en route where a photo opportunity might have existed. First up was the town of Madaba, famed for its mosaics, and the main church of Madaba is your best bet for seeing the mosaics which have essentially put the town on the map. A cluster of shops, and a few other low-key establishments made up the rest of the urban fabric, and it was then time to hit the road bound for the hot spring resort. Unsuitably, the crushing heat of the outdoor temperature did nothing to take the edge off the boiling hot spring water, and it soon became apparent that cooling options were out of the equation. Luckily though, bathing options were just around the corner, and, after a brief stop-off at the Dead Sea panorama viewing spot, mainly for photo opportunities, Amman beach resort at the Dead Sea is a prime bathing spot where you can combine one bathing option with another, to a glorious overall effect. Bathing in the Dead Sea is everything you would expect it to be, and then some, as the unsinkable nature of the water's saline content means that you are destined to float around like a bath toy, yet the salt content itself works itself into even the tiniest incision in your skin, causing a stinging, burning sensation which even, after a short while, begins to affect a person's natural skin condition, the more sensitive the skin, the less tolerable the overall effect. The adjoining outdoor pool at Amman beach though is a complete and utter gemstone, and a bathing session there in immediate succession to the Dead Sea is a blissful episode, especially when outdoor temperatures make it all the more favourable. On the return journey to Amman, it became clear that the contrasting nature of surroundings within easy reach of urbanized Amman are well worth seeking out if you are intent on gaining a fuller impression of what Jordan's topography really entails. A sightseeing tour of Amman will necessitate either a car plus driver or a series of short taxi rides, and opting for the latter was an easy option to orchestrate, despite the relative mayhem of Amman's streets and standard of driving. The Royal Automobile Museum is something of a must-see on an Amman city tour, and in this building, the whole gamut of the King's cars are showcased in a setting which fits the nature of the circumstances. The neighbouring King Hussein Bin Talal mosque is one place which adds weight to Jordan's status as the 'Holy Land', as well as being a place of significant size and architectural worth. In downtown Amman, the two attractions which are most worth their salt are the Roman Ampitheatre and the nearby Citadel, the chief attraction of which, for my money, is the Greek-ruinsesque Temple of Hercules, and a great photo opportunity to boot. The archeological museum contained with the complex of the Citadel is also well worth a look-in, and the history behind Jordan reveals its teeth in fascinating ways. Shopping in Amman is fairly well represented, though the modern malls such as City Mall and Taj mall do not really blend in too expertly with the more authentic downtown shopping areas, where browsing is a far more fulfilling experience. Rainbow Street is one thoroughfare which appears quiet by day, but more frequented as the day progresses, and even though Amman comes across as something of an urbanized jumble, there is a certain underlying structure to the city which has probably fallen out of focus as the city's urban growth has made city planning a more arduous task. A few other features such as the Gold Souk and the occasional mosque make up the set, and if you are Amman-bound, then prepare for a few urban treats in amongst the (literal) ruins!


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