Amman Citadel

Towering above the capital city of Jordan is the Amman Citadel. This historic site comprises a 1700-meter wall that dates back to the Bronze Age, the iconic Temple of Hercules, and the Umayyad Palace. With so many significant landmarks located in one site, the Amman Citadel is arguably one of the best places to visit in Amman. Read on to discover more about this fascinating destination.

Where is the Amman Citadel?

The Amman Citadel is located on top of Jebel Al Qala’a, a hill in the city of Amman – in and of itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hill is located 850 meters above sea level and overlooks the old city. It is considered one of Jordan’s most treasured destinations situated in the downtown area.

Amman Citadel

History of the Amman Citadel

The city of Amman was originally known as ‘Rabbath Ammon’ which translates as the royal ancient city of the Ammonites. The Ammonites were those who lived in the kingdom during the Iron Age. The area of the citadel dates back as far as the Bronze Age. It was during this period that it was fortified (around 1800 BCE). Since then, the site has undergone many rebuilds and additional constructions during the Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad eras. As a result of a large number of constructions on this site, very little remains from the original Bronze Age Citadel. You can tour the site with us on several of our Amman tours, like this Jerash & Amman City Tour.

Amman Citadel – Things to See

Temple of Hercules

The Temple of Hercules is the most famous site amidst the Amman Citadel. The temple was built by the Romans and today only a few parts of the structure remain. Visitors flock to the citadel to see the glorious hand that is believed to be the hand of a large Roman statue of Hercules. This hand is all that remains of the statue and is a symbol of the Roman hero’s strength. Other remains of the temple include two complete pillars along with the ruins of four other pillars. The two complete pillars are 30 feet high, and the neighboring inscription dates it to around 160 CE.

The Umayyad Palace

Umayyad desert castles

The buildings that formed part of the Umayyad Palace are the best-preserved structure at the Amman Citadel. It is believed to have been built between the 7th and 8th centuries. The palace originally covered a large complex of buildings, but most of it was destroyed by an earthquake. The domed audience hall is still in good condition and its grand design was used to impress visitors to the palace. Within the Umayyad complex is a courtyard containing the ruins of residential buildings and the Cistern which was used to transport water to the palace. See all this and more with our Umayyad Desert Castles tour.

Byzantine Church

Within the citadel are the ruins of a 6th-century Byzantine church. All that remains of the church today are pillars, the floor plan, and some mosaics. Though not much has been preserved, it’s still an important find for archeologists, historians, and Christian tourists. See all the holy Christian sites of Jordan on your next visit, like Bethany Beyond the Jordan with this enlightening tour.

Jordan Archeological Museum

The Jordan Archeological Museum is also located at the Amman Citadel and has a collection of artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age. The museum is also home to the Ain Ghazal Statues which go as far back as 600-800 BCE. These statues are some of the oldest known structures in Jordan and are made from lime plaster and reed.

How to Visit the Amman Citadel


Entrance to the Amman Citadel will cost a small fee unless you have a Jordan Pass or join an organized tour. It is open from the morning til early evening all week, but business hours might vary depending on the season. Be sure to check the hours of operation in advance. Visitors should be aware that it’s a considerable hike up the many steps leading to the citadel. Alternatively, tourists can opt to take a taxi ride to the site.

Explore Amman with Tourist Jordan

The Amman Citadel should be at the top of every Amman itinerary. It is a significant archeological site located in the downtown area of the capital city, making it easily accessible. Be sure to read up on Jordan’s customs & culture as well as dress codes to prepare yourself for your adventurous trip.

Combine the Amman Citadel and other excursions with our many tour packages and browse our extensive list of hotels to make your stay all the more enjoyable.

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