The Amman Citadel is an historical site at the center of downtown Amman, Jordan. Known in Arabic as Jabal al-Qal'a, the L-shaped hill is one of the seven jabals (mountains) that originally made up Amman. Evidence of occupation since the pottery Neolithic period has been found.
It was inhabited by different people and cultures until the time of the Umayyads, after which came a period of decline and for much of the time until 1878 the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins only sporadically used by Bedouins and seasonal farmers. Despite this gap, the Citadel of Amman is considered to be among the World's oldest continuously inhabited places.
The Citadel is considered an important site because it has had a long history of occupation by many great civilizations. Most of the buildings still visible at the site are from the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods. The major buildings at the site are the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad Palace.
Though the fortification walls enclose the heart of the site, the ancient periods of occupation covered large areas. Historic structures, tombs, arches, walls and stairs have no modern borders, and therefore there is considerable archaeological potential at this site, as well as in surrounding lands, and throughout Amman.
Temple of Hercules
It is thought to be the most significant Roman structure in the Amman Citadel. According to an inscription, the temple was built when Geminius Marcianus was governor of the Province of Arabia (AD 162-166), in the same period as the Roman Theatre.
The temple is about 30 by 24 m (98 by 79 ft) wide and additional with an outer sanctum of 121 by 72 m (397 by 236 ft). The portico has six columns of 10 m (33 ft) tall. Archaeologists believe that since there are no remains of additional columns the temple was probably not finished, and the marble used to build the Byzantine Church nearby.
The site also contains fragments of a colossal partly stone statue, identified as Hercules and estimated to have been over 12 m (39 ft) tall. It was probably destroyed in an earthquake. All that remains are three fingers and an elbow.
The Umayyad Palace is a large palatial complex from the Umayyad period, located on the Citadel Hill of Amman, Jordan. Built during the first half of the 8th century, it is now largely ruined, with a restored domed entrance chamber, known as the "kiosk" or "monumental gateway".
Part of the palace was built over pre-existing Roman structures, and an entire colonnaded Roman street was incorporated into it. Built around 730, when Amman was a provincial capital, the complex probably combined the residential quarters of the governor of Amman with administrative offices.
It was still in use during the Islamic Abbasid (750–969) and Fatimid (969–1179) periods, although much of the brand-new palace was never rebuilt following a devastating earthquake in 749.