We finished our Jordan tour in Amman, leaving our car at the airport before we reached the traffic confusion of Amman. (This is our bottom-line rule of renting cars – always pick-up and drop-off at the airport). Amman, the capital, is where over 50% of Jordan’s 4.4 million population live. It’s a different world from rural Jordan; a modern city that reminded both of us of Bangkok (20 years ago), with tall luxurious five-star hotels, vibrant street markets and rows upon rows of shop-houses selling food and supplies, clothing, furniture and, of course, cell phones. Everyone has a cell-phone, and from what I heard (the constant whistle tones), everyone has a Samsung! And everyone uses their cell-phone in the car too. Texting, talking, driving.
Amman is a city with an amazing history. One of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world, its history dates back over 9000 years. We saw the oldest things we’ve ever seen – in fact, the oldest statues ever found (or so I believe). An interesting fact: about 2300 years ago, it was named Philadelphia. Ruled by the Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, Nabateans (of Petra), and later the Romans. It fell into ruin, and was little more than a large village for much of this millennia, until the Ottomans decided it should be on the route of a railway between Medina and Dammascus, on the pilgrimage trail. Once again it grew, and shortly after WWI, when modern Jordan was established, Amman became the capital. It is at once a young country, and an impossibly ancient one.