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15th Sep 2012 11:16am | By Jade Bremner
Many visitors to Jordan make a beeline for Petra, the nation’s incredible ancient Bedouin labyrinth, and make the horrendous mistake of missing out the nation’s captivating capital Amman.
09:00 It’s a city that’s friendly, filled to the brim with culture and pushes boundaries through its edgy art scene.
Start your first day exploring its throbbing downtown area (King Faisal Street) where street vendors and market salesmen jostle for space, and shout “welcome to Jordan” as you pass.
It’s littered with stalls selling clothes and knick knacks.
10:00 Hungry? Grab a doughy manakeesh (flat bread sprinkled with herbs) from a street food stall. It will set you back about 20p and keep you going until lunch.
11:00 Walk towards the Grand Husseini Mosque, built in 640AD. Though non-Muslims are not allowed to enter, its proud Ottoman pointed turrets and pink-and-white stone facade are well worth a picture.
12:00 Crane your neck up and you’ll see columns on a hill, almost piercing the sky’s blue roof.
This ancient structure is what’s left of the Temple of Hercules. It’s been standing here for more than 1000 years and sits on The Hill of the Citadel (Jebel al-Qala’a, entrance approx £1.70). Climb up the hillside to get a better look.
13:00 This injection of culture may have left you craving sustenance, so venture down the hill by foot to Cairo Restaurant (Al-Malek Talal Street, +962 06 462 4527).
Mixed groups should go straight to the family room (for men and women) where they’ll serve you hearty portions of mutton stew and shish tawooq (skewered chicken).
The adventurous can also taste some boiled goat’s head – really, it’s delicious. Meals here only cost around £2.
15:00 Time for a really eye-popping sight, so amble over to the Roman Theatre (Downtown, +962 06 465 1742 entrance approx £1). It was carved right into the hill in about 169-177 AD and can seat up to 6000. Climb the tall steps to the top for spectacular view across the city.
17:00 Finish your day by resting those aching legs at the Al Pasha Turkish Bath (1st Circle). Take a communal dip with the locals in the hot water pools or work up a sweat in the sauna.