Edit Blog Post
Published: December 16th 2013
Greetings all happy travellers!
This day started off kind off shaky as our private driver was delayed due to blocked roads. They are, for natural reasons, not very used to snow here and it has created quite some difficulties for their infrastructure to the point where their military is involved now. This of course meant that we had to strike the desert castles from our itinerary which is a shame. With our driver delayed we decided to postpone our trip to Gerasa for a few hours and we started with the historical monuments in Amman instead. First we went to the theatres but they were still closed so we decided to take our chances and went to the citadel instead and luckily it was open! And I do mean luckily because it's a bit of a hike up there and if it had been closed we would most likely have been forced to strike that from our itinerary as well.
The citadel is very nice and we could see remnants of many civilisations here from various time periods, Hellenistic, Roman and Umayyad ruins lay next to each other as a memory of the turbulent times the city of Philadelphia
(the old city that lay here before Amman) faced. I especially liked the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace Gate but really everything here is well worth a closer look and if you're in Amman this place is a must see! The Umayyad Palace stretches for quite some area and there are a well preserved water system as well as mosques and churches to explore.
Located at the top of the citadel is the Jordan Archaeological Museum, it is well organized and has quite a good collection of interesting artefacts from many different time periods on display so you should definitely visit it, it's included in the entrance to the citadel so there's no reason not to do it!
Afterwards we went down to the theatres again and now the big one had opened so we visited it. Unfortunately the Odeon remained locked so we'll try to go there tomorrow instead. Let me tell you that the big theatre is astonishing! It's huge and very well preserved, this if something shows the historical significance of Philadelphia in ancient times! Inside the theatre is two small museums about Jordanian culture. They are small but quite nice and worth
After we had partaken in the historical and cultural delights that Amman had to offer we returned to our hotel where our driver had arrived and waited for us. The drive to Gerasa took about 45 minutes and we paid 20 JD each for a return trip. The driver was very nice and the car was remarkably clean and comfortable so I can definitely recommend this service to anyone who's thinking about using Amman as a base from which to explore Jordan.
Gerasa itself is absolutely wonderful. It really is a big and well preserved complex where you truly feel like you're walking through history. The only negative thing was that there was a lot of people selling cheap crap and who refused to accept a no. They really started to get on our nerves after a while since we bought some things and they still wouldn't let up, finally it came to the degree that my friend asked them to f**k off. I do understand them though, most of the are probably refugees from Syria trying to survive but it became very overwhelming and not what we were expecting in a place such as this.
Since there wasn't many tourists either we gathered quite some attention until Marcus finally told them off, after that we were left in peace. Anyway, aside from those people it was amazing and since there wasn't many tourists it was easy to see it all. Entrance was 8 JD which is most certainly worth it.
It opens dramatically with the Arch of Hadrian built in honour of Emperor Hadrian's visit to Gerasa in 129 AD. Walking under this massive monument makes you feel small and it really hammers in the fact that this was indeed also a Roman province once, the stretch of the Roman Empire is hard to fathom sometimes. After the Arch you pass by the most well preserved Hippodrome in the world actually, it is not as big as the one in Rome was but as I said it is very well preserved and definitely worth checking out. Afterwards you will pass through the old city gate and step out onto the impressive colonnaded roads which converge in the unique Oval Plaza, the hills above are crowned by the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Artemis as well as two very well preserved theatres. All-in-all
this place is truly breathtaking! Along the colonnaded roads you can also explore several ancient churches, marketplaces, barracks, a large cathedral and more! It's hard to name favourites here though because the entire place is just astonishing. Go there and experience it is all I can say!
When we came back out our driver was resting in his car, all ready to go and on our way back to the hotel we asked him to stop by the bus station so we could get tickets to Petra. Unfortunately the roads are closed again so there's no buses to Petra tomorrow. So we decided to go back to Aqaba tomorrow and then go from there to Petra on Wednesday instead.
Well, until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!
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