Amman is my home base through May. I’m settling into a new apartment in Jabal Amman neighborhood and trying to soak up Middle Eastern culture while learning about the Jordanian lifestyle. The fascinating city is full of surprises.
Amman is a popular city, and expatriates from all over the world live here. I won’t elaborate on the apartment hunting issues I encountered. Every country does business differently, and there are many ways a foreigner (ʿağanib) can run amok. Unfortunately, rental hell happens all too often. Travelers looking for short-term rentals in foreign countries need to be extra cautious. Although that may sound like a no brainer, during an extended trip, it’s easy to let your guard down, especially when the rules are constantly changing, and full disclosure is rare. You need to cover all the bases and ask key questions in advance. Solo travelers are very much on their own. Don’t expect others to have your back.
I’m in awe of the panoramic views from my new apartment! They’re mesmerizing! The photos attached don’t begin to do the vistas justice, and sunrise, morning, afternoon, dusk, and night skies all bring different light and colors. Almost wish I had art supplies, so I could attempt to capture some of the magic. We’ve had a few days of heavy rain, but in general, the weather has been clear and mild.
Neighborhoods and Circles
This link provides a brief description of Amman’s neighborhoods and its eight circles. My new apartment in Jabal Amman is near the second circle. The first apartment was in Weibdeh. The two neighborhoods are geographically close, but they have decidedly different personalities.
You can get around Amman by referring to the “circle” near where a place is located. My new landlord gave me a quick tour of the surrounding area the day I moved. His family relocated from Palestine to Amman years ago. Many former Palestinian and Syrian residents have settled in Amman.
Jabal Amman is “renowned for its traditional historic buildings and distinctive early 20th century architecture”. To preserve the neighborhood’s historic nature, Amman is “protected architecturally“. Mango House is a notable Jabal Amman building and an “example of the new style of Jordanian architecture that differs from houses built during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s”.
“The circles of Amman include eight roundabouts, starting from downtown and running west along Zahran street. Locals use them as shorthand to refer to neighbourhoods and directions.” alongdustyroads.com
I haven’t visited all of Amman’s attractions yet, but will undoubtedly get to them during my stay, including:
- Souq Al-Sukar
- Graffiti and Streetart
- Hashmi Shamali Open Air Museum
- Underground Amman
- King Abdullah I Mosque
- Roman Theatre
- Temple of Hercules
- Amman Citadel
- Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
- Dar Al-Anda Art Gallery
- Wadi Finan Art Gallery
Since 2012, Amman hasn’t had an active philharmonic orchestra, and there are no ballet or opera performances. Poetic Islamic music and popular Arabic songs are beautiful. The “five best known Arabic instruments are the tomtom, oud, dulcimer, rebab, and pumpkin violin“.
Dunia Rooftop café and restaurant is a popular place for Islamic music lovers. They often feature favorite “oldies songs” and music by popular Lebanese singer Fairuz. In Jordan, weekends are Friday through Saturday. Sunday is a normal working day, but most schools are closed. I’m considering several daytrips to areas near Amman:
Famous Rainbow Street is near my apartment. It’s known for interesting cafés and restaurants.
Amman is a great place to rejuvenate. This trip through eight countries has been a bit exhausting but exciting and indescribably educational. Hope to get the cast on my left arm removed this week, and with luck, the fractured wrist will be back to normal. Life with one hand only is more complicated than imagined.