Old and new collide gracefully in the Jordanian capital of Amman. This city feels young and modern, bringing to life the richness of history alongside ultra-modern society and culture.

Once just spread over seven hills, Amman now sprawls across 20 with white homes dotting the rolling land. It became the capital of the country in 1921. Almost half of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area, and for good reason.

The one thing that remains consistent throughout Jordan is its friendly people. In Amman, you could be suddenly invited to a wedding celebration that lasts well into the night. Socialize at a shisha café, rub shoulders with fashionistas at the glistening malls, and walk through the souks to look for sparkling jewelry and pretty gowns.

Wander through the columns of the Temple of Hercules and take in the view of the city. Explore the Roman temples and Umayyad castle, or watch a concert at the restored Roman Theater, which was once the center of Philadelphia, Amman’s old title. The Jordan Museum houses relics spanning the country’s history, including ancient statues and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. Traditional garb can be seen at the Jordan Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Tradition.

Amman is the country’s culinary capital too. Take in the scents of spices that add deep flavors to the mouth-watering local cuisine. Creamy hummus and fattoush salad are always on the menu in one of the city’s bustling restaurants. Indulge your sweet tooth at the Souk Al-Sukar where piles of syrupy baklawa beg to be devoured. Galleries and bookshops draw in a creative crowd.

Just a short ride away, the town of Salt was once considered the capital of the Kingdom and has retained its old charm with winding streets and Ottoman architecture. Further south, the Byzantine St. George’s Church in Madaba has a sixth-century mosaic map of the region as it appeared when the church was erected. Islamic mosques and Orthodox churches coexist here and are a testament to the tolerant residents who have preserved their culture while welcoming the future.