Jordan's modern and multicultural capital, Amman, often comes as a bit of a surprise to travellers who've been traversing the country's wilderness areas and historic sites, such as the world-famous ‘lost city' of Petra. Instead they find tree-lined residential districts, upmarket hotels, trendy cafes and art galleries that reflect its status as a young, working Arab city.
Amman is home to one-third of Jordan's population and although it has a modern vive is actually one of the world's oldest continually inhabited city. It's often referred to as the ‘white city' on account of its attractive limestone buildings.
Amman is also a city of hills. On one of these is the 8th-century Umayyad Palace, built as a governor's residence and part of the vast hilltop citadel of Jebel al-Qal'a. The Palace's domed-roof, stucco colonnettes and Persian-style geometric patterns, provide a fascinating contrast with modern parts of the city. Older still is the Roman Theatre, capable of seating 6,000 spectators and still occasionally used for concerts.
The fertile Jordan Valley lies beyond the city limits, easily accessible for tailor made walking and horse riding tours.