7) Exploring Ancient History – The Citadel
It is hard to imagine just how historic and ancient Jordan is, until you visit a place like the Citadel. Situated right in the heart of Amman, the Citadel is absolutely worth spending time in, because it has a lot to offer in terms of not only photographic opportunities, but also some great insight into ancient history. The Citadel has seen it all – it went through three different eras of history, starting from Rabbath-Ammon, dating back to 5500 BC, the pottery Neolithic period! Its next era was during the time of Greeks in 312 BC when they renamed the city to “Philadelphia” and it held its name until it was taken over by the Umayyad dynasty in 661 AD, after which it was renamed to Amman. You can read all about it yourself at the entrance of the Citadel:
So the Citadel has seen it all – it is hard to imagine that the area was continuously inhabited by humans for over 7 thousand years!
As you walk along the trail, you will see a beautiful view of the city, along with a view of a well-preserved coliseum. But the most beautiful sight opens up when you see the remains of the Temple of Hercules – the prime attraction. Before you get to the temple, you can get some nice views of the temple from other areas, such as this one along the trail:
And looking back you can get some nice shots of the columns lined up as well:
As you keep on going, you will then quickly reach the remains of the temple itself:
Some very beautiful perspectives here that you can capture. Here, I shot the temple with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 lens at f/5.6, which gave me a nice overall view, putting the main double columns to the right of the frame.
The temple is definitely worth exploring, particularly up close. If you come on a weekday, there won’t be many people there, so you can take some really nice shots with the sun in the frame, similar to what I have done here:
As you proceed further to the right, you will find other ruins and columns such as this one:
And some cool-looking arches as well:
From there, you reach the old mosque and once you go through it, you will find even more ruins with some views of the alleys:
And buildings which once stood there in their full glory:
There are no restrictions on camera or tripod use, so you can explore the area all you want. Unfortunately, I only visited the Citadel at noon (I was there with my family) and did not have a chance to stay for sunset shots. If you have a chance, go there late noon and stay for sunset – the temple looks really beautiful at the golden hour! The Citadel is closed after sunset and you cannot get in before sunrise, so sunset is the only chance for capturing the temple in good light.
Another great opportunity at the Citadel is to capture the inhabited area on the next hill. Since the Citadel is on top of the hill, you get some really nice views like this one:
This is another great opportunity for a sunset shot!