anisha shah / Destination / fine dining / Food / globetrotter / Jordan / journalist / review / Travel / travel writer / Uncategorized / world


"Amman" "Jordan" "Middle East" "Rainbow Street"

AMMAN was not was what I was expecting of the capital city of Jordan.

Given the sensitivities of the region, neighbouring Syria to mention just one, and the media portrayal, I was expecting it to be similar to life in Kuwait City…reserved, traditional and covered up. So you can imagine my shock when I stepped out in the evening to the very popular and lively ‘Al Rainbow Street‘ to see a complete spectrum of clothing, from girls dressed up (down, rather) in more revealing clothing than a normal night out in London to those in veils. Chain-smoking away, singing out loud, dancing to music and generally enjoying a girls’ night out with their friends, there was no sign of female withdrawal in the city. This, of course, is a new generation of females; confident, intelligent and really rather stunnning. I instantly felt uneasy at having packed my more conservative wardrobe for this trip. But next day’s trip to Jerash and the Citadel soon alleviated that.

Jordan seems a very peaceful country. The Jordanians respect other cultures and seem to value tourists and the benefits they bring.  Men, however, will be men. And although many tourists do walk around in shorts, I opted for skinny jeans, and still managed to pull several disapproving looks from the locals! I don’t mind now, being quite used to it. The problem seems to be that I have tanned skin. It causes chaos all over the world but particularly the Middle East, South America, Carribean, Asia and India, where they tend to almost claim me as one of their own. I’m only flattered.

"Citadel" "Amman" "Jordan" "Amphitheatre" "Roman ruins" "Middle East"

Rainbow Street is cool and eclectic. A long amble along it takes in distinct ambience & flavours of Italy, Greece, France and the Middle East with cafe culture; specialty dessert cafe’s, Falafel & Shawarma stands, restaurants, open-air roof terraces, shisha bars, fresh juice stands and live music.

"Al Quds" "Falafel" "Shawarma" "food" "coffee" "Amman" "Jordan" "Rainbow Street"

Locals gather on the small squares as, mostly men, play music, cards and hang out. Here, it’s worth shopping around before picking a spot for dinner as you’ll find everything from commercial & touristic, unique & quirky to beautiful & sophisticated. I started at ‘Rotana’ which seemed more of a live music venue with nightclub, buzzing with young Jordanian clubbers. After a bite there I move onto find somewhere special for Sheesha, guided only by my imagination and pre-conceptions of Amman.

"Sufra" "food" "sheesha" "roof terrace" "nargileh" "mezze" "open-air" "night" "restaurant" "Jordanian" "best restaurant Jordan"

Tucked away in a corner on Rainbow Street, Sufra restaurant & sheesha open-air roof terrace, Amman, Jordan

Sufra restaurant & sheesha terrace, Rainbow Street, Amman, Jordan

More than halfway along Rainbow Street, just as it appears to dwindle, I stumble across ‘Sufra’ peeking out from a row of palm trees, on a street corner.

"Sufra" "Amman" "Food" "restaurant" "drink" "sheesha" "roof terrace" "nargileh" "hookah" "hubbly bubbly"

Upstairs at Sufra restaurant, Amman, Jordan. Food, drink, sheesha, nightlife

Led all the way upstairs, I enter a gorgeous roof terrace for drinks and sheesha; a relaxed sophisticated atmosphere, groups of locals socialising, against a backdrop of stunning views right across the city.

"roof terrace" "sheesha" "nargileh" "hookah" "hubbly bubbly" "restaurant" "Rainbow Street" "Amman" "nightlife" "Jordan" "mezze"

Spectacular city views from roof terrace for Sheesha at Sufra restaurant, Amman, Jordan

I’ve since read their food is great too, so worth checking out.

"Al Husseini" "mosque" "downtown amman" "jordan" "middle east" "friday prayer" "islam" "protests"

Al Husseini Mosque, Downtown Amman, Jordan

Friday, is a holiday in many Muslim countries, where it’s the first day of the weekend. Friday being prayer day, also tends to be a day of protests and airing dissatisfaction throughout the Middle East. Here, no major demonstrations. Just one, asking for Government reforms. Friday in Jordan’s capital city Amman is Market day.

"Al Balad" "Friday" "market" "downtown Amman" "Jordan" "shopping" "food" "call to prayer" "protests" "islam"

Downtown, Amman, Jordan. Jordanians browse clothes, homeware, fruit, vegetables

It’s all going on downtown in the colourful spectacle that are the ‘Al Balad’ markets. My guide isn’t comfortable letting me wander through saying that if anything should kick off, it would be here. But I get a good peek nonetheless. I see children as young as 5, not browsing the markets but pushing carts full of 2nd hand clothing, working.

"Al Balad" "Friday prayer" "market" "Dowtown Amman" "Jordan" "food" "shopping" "photography" "travel" "Middle East"

Friday ‘Al Balad’ markets, Jordanian children not shopping but working, pushing carts selling clothes & food, Amman, Jordan

People browse on the sides of the streets, rummaging through clothes such as jeans, pots and pans, homeware…everything is here. Deeper in, a separate section for fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a huge market sprawling the entire Downtown main road and narrow side streets and meandering alleyways beyond view.

"Al Balad" "Amman market" "Friday market" "Friday prayer" "Islam" "food" "shopping" "Middle East" "Jordan" "protests" "photography" "travel"

Entire downtown Amman area becomes Friday market ‘Al Balad’, by Al Husseini mosque. Jordan, Middle East

It’s a real treat for photography lovers.

"Amman" "Citadel" "Amman sights" "ruins" "heritage" "Middle East" "legacy" "photography" "travel" "history" "roman" "ummayad" "collonades" "viewpoint amman"

Amman Citadel, Jebel Al Qela’a, oldest inhabited places, ruins of Roman, Ummayad, Greco-Roman periods

First stop on the city tour is Amman Citadel or ‘Jebel Al Qela’a’, one of the worlds oldest continuously inhabited places.

"jebel al qelaa" "citadel" "amman" "jordan" "middle east" "hisotry" heritage site" "ruins" "sights amman" "travel" "photography"

Collonades at Citadel, Amman, Jebel Al Qela’a, Jordan, Middle East.

"citadel" "amman" "jordan" "middle east" "jebel al qelaa" "viewpoint" "heritage" "history" "pillars" "sights amman" "things to see jordan"

Citadel, Amman, Jordan, Jebel Al Qela’a. Roman & Ummayad ruins of heritage

From here, panoramic views stretch across the entire city.

"Amman" "Citadel" "Amman sights" "ruins" "heritage" "Middle East" "legacy" "photography" "travel" "history" "roman" "ummayad" "collonades" "viewpoint amman"

Jebel Al Qela’a, Amman Citadel, view from the back end of site, Roman, Ummayad & Greco-Roman ruins

It’s a sprawling site atop a hill, home to The Temple of Hercules which is larger than any ever built in Rome.

"Jebel Al Qela'a" "Citadel" "Amman" "Jordan" "things to see in amman" "sights in amman" "ruins" "history" "legacy" "pillars" "photography" "travel" "amman city"

Citadel, Amman, famous image associated with Jordan, the collonnades, preserved heritage site with panoramic views of the city

Home to thre most famous image associated with Amman, the pillars of the Citadel.

"amman" "citadel" "jordan" "jebel al qela'a" "collonnades" "history jordan" "photography" "middle east" "travel" "downtown" "viewpoint amman"

Amman Citadel, Jebel Al Qela’a, ruins dating back to Roman & Ummayad periods

Ruins date right back from an incredible 5500BC to 1917AD, including the Temple of Hercules, Roman precinct and Ummayad Palace Complex.

"Ummayad palace" "ummayad complex" "citadel" "amman" "jordan" "sights amman" "things to see jordan" "heritage" "travel" "photography middle east"

Ummayad Palace Complex, Citadel, Amman, Jordan.

"Ummayad" "Citadel" "Amman" "Jordan" "Middle East" "ruins" "Roman" "Amman sights" "downtown" "viewpoint" "architecture" "archaeology"

The striking interior of Ummayad Palace Complex, Amman Citadel, Jordan

Afterwards, it’s straight to Jerash, founded by Alexander the Great…next post


  1. Wow those pictures reminded me of Athens! Lovely and I understand the feeling of “… where they tend to almost claim me as one of their own…” – I get that all the time 😉

  2. Pingback: US Soldiers Sent to Jordan « saneromeo

  3. Hi Anisha Shah, loved your descriptive outlook on your recent travel to Amman Jordan, and I look forward, very much to my visit there in a couple of weeks. I will keep you posted if you wish on my travels through the region…Gilroy

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