Modernity and history: The neighborhoods of Abdoun and downtown Amman

Photo of the Amman Citadel, a historical site located in the heart of downtown; it contains the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace. (Photo: Aisha Ahmed/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Apart from Amman’s well-known Jabal Amman and Jabal Luweibdeh, downtown and Abdoun each attract a number of visitors and locals every day looking to stroll the city’s old souks, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at a café, or look for new and exciting things to do in the capital.اضافة اعلان

Each area has its own unique feel and generally different price point. For example, the cost of eating downtown is generally cheaper than eating in Abdoun. So, Jordan News wanted to explore what each area has to offer and what price points you can expect in these two popular neighborhoods.

Amman’s old downtown

Downtown Amman, one of the city’s oldest areas, has many charming and old cafés, souks, and sites one can spend the entire day getting lost in. The area is also tucked between Amman’s popular neighborhoods of Jabal Amman and Jabal Luweibdeh.

The Al-Kalha Stairs are one of the most popular stairs in the old downtown area and actually connect it to Jabal Luweibdeh. The stairs feature a few charming shops and a café with artwork decorating the walls.

Photos of downtown Amman. (Photo: Handout from Maram Zaidan)

Another place you can visit downtown at zero cost is the Grand Husseini Mosque, but it does require tourists be dressed appropriately. The mosque is one of the oldest in city.

The Amman Citadel is another historical site located in the heart of downtown. It hosts the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace. Entry costs JD3 for tourists and JD0.25 for Jordanians. Downtown’s other historical attractions include the Jordanian Museum of Popular Traditions and the Roman Theater, which cost JD2 for foreigners and JD0.25 for Jordanians, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

If you are looking for a bite to eat after all of that walking around, Hashem restaurant downtown and Habibah Sweets are downtown staples. Meals at both typically run around JD3.

Perhaps the main draw of downtown are its bevy of shops, most of which are extremely cheap.

Abeer Abdulkreem, a Jordanian who lives abroad, told Jordan News, “Each year when I come to visit Jordan, I visit downtown Amman as you can’t separate Amman from its origins which you see and discover while walking around.”

She added: “I love walking downtown’s streets while drinking juice from one of its modest shops and visiting the shops that sell traditional clothing.”

Modern Amman

Abdoun, is a more modern area of Amman, and it is usually considered pricier, but there are things to do in the area without spending too much money.
The area offers an evening tour of the city, called the Sightseeing Tour of Amman, which is a good way to experience city at night. The cost of the tour is around JD15.

Furthermore, eating in Abdoun will also cost you more than eating downtown. Blue Fig is well known in the area and serves local food and cuisine from around the world, such as manakeesh, pasta, and burgers. Prices range from 3JD for manakeesh to around 10JD burgers and JD7 for pasta.

Abdoun is known for its modern appeal, which translates to its restaurants and cafés. 

Photo of Wadi Abdoun . (Photo: Wikipedia)

Rowan Ahmed told Jordan News that she loves Abdoun’s restaurants and coffee shops. Ahmed added: “The places in Abdoun are suitable to hang out with your friends and family so what I love the most about visiting the area is its coffee shops and restaurants, where you can have a good time with your friends.”

Huda Khamis, an Abdoun regular, said that “the costs of the activities in downtown are so cheap compared with the costs in Abdoun. But I think this is normal, as the two places have their own identity.” 

She added that picking between Abdoun and downtown Amman comes down to what she wants to do. “If I want to take some photos and see the old face of Amman I will definitely go downtown, and if I want to hang out with friends or meet with someone over a cup of coffee, I will visit Abdoun,” she said.

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