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Amman } 101 عمان

Wed,26Nov2014

Amman 101

Now, you’ve seen pictures of Jordan, heard about it through some friends, got a recommendation from your travel agent, or you simply just felt curious about this Arab country and thought to yourself “Okay! This is my next vacation destination! Let me buy a travel guide book”.

Sure, your travel book may tell you all about Petra and Jerash and even perhaps Amman, but does it really tell you about Amman? Like we can? We say “NO”! However, before packing your bag you might want to check some of the information we have here to at least get a proper idea about how things will generally look and what you might need.


So here’s a little bit of history: Amman is the capital of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It was inhabited by several civilizations; starting 8500 BC in the Neolistic period, which was followed by Assyrians, Persians and Macedonians. During the rule of Ptolemy II Philadelphos in 285 – 247 BC the city was renamed to Philadelphia and became part of the Nabataean kingdom. The city flourished when a new road from Elath to Damascus ran through it.

When the Ghassanian’s took over control, the city was renamed to Amman, however, the city was afterwards destroyed by several earthquakes and natural disasters which led it to remain a village of ruins until the Circassians settled in 1887. The establishment of the Hejaz Railway in 1900 by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II brought life back to Amman, the railway ran from Damascus (Syria) to Medina (KSA).

After the establishment of the HKJ in 1921, King Abdullah I opted to choose Amman as capital of the Kingdom.


Jordanian Visas

Depending on your nationality, you can get a visa upon entry, if you are a holder of American, Australian, Canadian, GCC or EU nationality it is very straightforward. Entry visa is JD20 and you can obtain a multiple entry one for JD60. If you plan to cover other neighboring countries during your visit to Jordan, it is advisable you obtain your visa to these countries prior to traveling. If you plan to extend your stay for more than 30 days, visa extensions may be granted without any extra cost at any police station after assembling the necessary paperwork. Visitors may extend their visas for up to six months, for longer-term residency you may want to go to the Directorate of Residency and Borders (06 5623348; Majed al-Idwan St. Shmeisani, Amman).

In all cases, please do check with our Jordanian embassy/consulate at your country in case the above changed for any reason. This might help: http://www.jordanembassyus.org/new/embassies.shtml


Safety in Amman

Of course! We are the one safe and stable haven in the Middle East. You can walk around at night in most areas and feel very secure. We use 911 for emergency too. Police are always around and ready to help, and at touristic areas you will often find Tourist Police who can assist you with anything. The phone number for Tourist Police in Amman is 5301465 (for non emergencies).
Numbers You Might Need


Emergency Numbers:

Tourist Police 06 5301465/66/67/68/69, dial 0 or 7070 for operator.
Tourist Complaints 117777 (from a landline)
Traffic Police 190
Rescue Police 191
Capital Police 192
Highway Patrol 194
Public Security 196
Civil Defense 199
Telephone Directory 1212
Telephone Problems 1214
International Information 1322
Queen Alia International Airport 06 4452000
Highway Police 06 5343401
Municipality 06 5359970
Royal Jordanian 06 5100000


 


Weather in Amman

We have great weather! All four seasons! The best time to visit is Spring and Autumn. Summer time is quite hot during the day but bearable at night, and during spring and autumn nights are often chilly, so make sure you bring a sweater or two. The deserts are bitterly cold in the winter, so if you intend to go camping be well prepared for the desert frost! Check the activities you would like to do and decide accordingly. This of course can make lodging and flight expenses a little higher but it’s worth it. You can book your flight through our National Carrier, Royal Jordanian www.rj.com


Exchange Rates in Amman

Official currency is Jordanian Dinar (JOD). 1 JOD is divided into 1,000 fils, 1000 fills = 100 paisters (paisters are called "groush"). Exchange rate per JOD is around USD 1.4 and EUR 0.95. Inversely, 1 USD is 0.71 JOD (fixed). You can easily find exchange offices around Amman, at the airport or at your hotel! Just make sure you check the rate and ensure they do not charge you a hefty commission charge. You can check the most current exchange rates at http://www.xe.com/?c=JOD&r=7
 

Hotels in Amman

Hotels are in abundance; they come in all shapes, sizes and stars! A lot of them have online booking facilities and you might want to explore your options while in the city.

Here is a random selection of a range of hotels:
 

Five Star Hotels

Amman Marriott Hotel 06 5607607
Four Seasons Hotel Amman 06 5505555
Grand Hyatt Amman 06 4651234
Kempinski Hotel – Amman 06 5200200
Landmark Amman Hotel 06 5607100


Four Star Hotels

Al-Qasr Metropole Hotel 06 5689671
Amman West Hotel 06 4657615
Days Inn Hotel 06 5519011
Geneva Hotel - Amman 06 5858100
Ramada Hotel and Suites 06 5607114


Three Stars Hotels in Jordan

Ambassador 06 5605161
Belle Vue Hotel 06 4616144
Red Rose Hotel Suites 06 5517280
Shepard Hotel 06 4639197
Larsa Hotel 06 5850955


Boutique Hotels

Canyon Boutique Hotels 06 5669110
Comfort Hotel Suites 06 5856184
Burda 41 06 4600550

 

Museums in Amman

Jordan is a country overflowing with history, so it comes as no surprise to tourists when they discover the large amounts of museums at their disposal, here is a list of museums in Amman!
 


The Amman Archaeological Museum – Citadel Hill. 
Opening hours are from 08:00- 18:00, on Friday 09:00 – 16:00, no closing days.
Phone number: 06 4638795

Jordan Folklore Museum – Roman Theater in Amman (Western section).
Opening hours are from 08:00- 18:00, on Friday 09:00 – 16:00, no closing days.
Phone number: 06 4651742

The Jordanian Museum of Popular Traditions – Roman Theater in Amman (Eastern section).
Opening hours are from 08:00- 18:00, on Friday 09:00 – 16:00, no closing days.
Phone number: 06 4651760

The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts - Jabal Al Weibdeh in Amman.
Opening hours are 09:00 – 17:00, closed on Tuesday & Friday.
Phone number: 06 4630128

The Royal Automobile Museum - King Hussein Park.
Opening hours are 10:00 – 19:00, Friday 11:00 – 19:00, closed on Tuesday. 
Website: www.royalautomuseum.jo
Phone number: 06 5411392

The Children's Museum – King Hussein Park.
Opening hours are 09:00 – 18:00, Friday 10:00 – 19:00, closed on Tuesday.
Website: http://www.cmj.jo/
Phone number: 06 5411479

The Martyr’s Memorial - Sports City.
Opening hours are 9:00 – 16:00, Saturday – Thursday.
Phone number: 06 5664240

**Please note that business hours change during Ramadan.


Public Holidays in Amman

Friday and Saturday is the official weekend in Jordan. Most businesses are closed on Fridays. Most retail stores are open seven days a week, after mid-day prayer on Friday. During the 2 major Muslim feasts (after Ramadan and the Hajj) most private companies, government offices and banks close for 4 - 5 days.

Public Holidays for 2012

- New Years Day: January 1st
- Prophet Mohammad’s Birthday: February 5th
- Good Friday: April 6th
- Easter Monday: April 9th
- Labour Day: May 1st
- Independence Day: May 25th
- Army Day: June 10th
- Prophet’s Ascension: June 17th
- Eid al-Fitr: August 19th
- Eid al- Adha: October 26th
- Islamic New Year: November 15th
- Christmas Day: December 25th

During Ramadan: the holy month of fasting, alcohol is only sold at larger hotels. Eating/smoking/drinking in public is discouraged during daylight hours. Most stores and businesses are open from 10:00am - 3:00pm , retail stores open after breaking fast in the evening.


 

Amman Business Hours

Banks: 8:30am - 3:00pm
Government Offices: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Business Offices: 8:30am - 1:00pm & 3:30pm - 6:30pm
Shopping Centers: 10:00am - 10:00pm
Post Office: Sat - Thur. 8:00am - 5:00pm (most hotels offer postal services as well)


Getting Around Amman


Taxis (yellow/Al Mumayaz), Service (White, shared taxis that have specific routes), buses and rental cars are available. If you’re in a taxi make sure the driver sticks to the meter. The meter starts at JD 0.25 for yellow taxis and ranges between JD0.58 - JD1 depending on car for Al Mumayaz taxis. Service cars are for JD0.25. Night-rates apply. For pickup service call Al Mumayaz at 06 5799999

Taxi from the airport to Amman city center should not cost more than about 17 – 20 JD, make sure it’s a marked beige color taxi that says Airport Taxi, and of course agree with the driver on the rate prior to getting in the taxi. Rates are written on slip inside car.

There is a train in Jordan, the Hejaz Railway and it runs twice a week between Amman and Damascus. The train departs Amman every Thursday and Monday at 8:00am (although its quite a long ride, its a great cultural experience on a track that was built by Ottomans in the early 20th century) Due to the current political situation in Syria, this train has now been halted until further notice.

Amman has a unique structure of roundabouts that can help you get just about anywhere. Check the info graph here. You can also find comprehensive maps available.


Communication in Amman

There are three mobile phone operators (Zain, Umniyah and Orange). You can but a top-up sim card from each, for more information, call the operator land lines at:

Orange 06 5857777
Umniah 06 5005000
Zain 06 5803000


Eat, drink and be merry!

Eat plenty because we have fantastic food! Plenty of options for drinks from the most amazing lemon-mint smoothies to alcoholic beverages. However, when it comes to mineral water, we have one advice “Do not drink tap water”. If you’re eating street food, check that the place looks clean enough. Restaurants are mostly heavily monitored; still it’s advisable that you eat well-cooked food especially on hot weather days.

Most restaurants have a 10% service charge added automatically to your bill, you may leave an additional tip if you find the service to be good, but remember to check if that service charge is added to your bill or not.


Random facts that you can throw around to your friends


Jordan has over 6 million nationals; official religion is Islam, Arabic is the Jordanian’s first language. Going out nights (when Amman is “happening”) are Monday & Thursday. Internet access and wifi hotspots are available in many coffee places. Electricity is 220V. We are hospitable; although rumor has it we don’t smile much (blatant lie!). We do not ride camels to work, or live in tents for that matter really. Traditional dish is called Mansaf, and you will be asked repeatedly if you have tried it. There are over 2.8 million people in Amman, and almost every one of us is willing to help you find your way around our amazing city!


Ramadan

For an entire month, most Jordanian people observe the holy month of Ramadan. During the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims are required to fast from sundown to sunset. During the holy month, most cafes and restaurants are closed before sundown. BeAmman always provides and updates a list of available venues that operate as usual during Ramadan. Office hours of banks and companies change to accommodate to the fasting employees. We recommend you call to check ahead of time for availabilities and, of course, BeAmman is always available to help out with any questions you might have! Inquires at BeAmman.com are always welcome.
Come with an open mind, an open heart, and a stomach ready for all the food!

If after you have read the above there is a question we haven’t answered, please visit our "Ask BeAmman Forum" and post your question. We will answer you promptly!


BeAmman Team