After a very long hiatus, this Unseasoned Traveler is sending all of you enthusiastic greetings and reporting on my latest junket, the Middle East. My traveling companion and I have been in Jordan, Egypt, and Israel experiencing the ways the people of the world are more alike than they are different. I learned the word, “Yalla,” from our tour guide/new buddy, Rania.
The word is Arabic, and quite simply means, “Let’s get going.” It seems that every culture has a phrase to convey urgent movement. Rania used the word energetically. You could tell by the tone of her voice exactly what she meant, and sometimes, she even used, “Yalla,” twice. “Yalla, Yalla.” I love the sound of the word and so, without further ado, “YALLA.”
Jordan is an amazing country and the home of a number of little known, but important ancient sites. First stop, Amman, Jordan’s capitol city. In ancient times, the city of Amman was known as Philadelphia. Yes, the same name as the US City of Brotherly Love. Throughout its history, Amman has boasted a number of hills, and the Citadel is located atop the tallest of them.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that this hilltop has been used as a settlement and fortress for almost 7000 years, predating its Greek and Roman occupation. The Citadel is an open-air museum with some significant artifacts, especially from the Greek and Roman period like this temple named after the demigod, Hercules.
In addition to the onsite artifacts, the high elevation of the Citadel allows a dramatic, panoramic view of the old city below.
From the Citadel, you can even see the Greco-Roman theatre located in the middle of Amman below.
The hike from the Citadel to the east side of Amman is a challenging descent, but worth it to see the amphitheatre up close
and to experience the crush of human traffic while doing a little shopping.