C is for Citadel

03-Citadel1If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you may remember I mentioned the Citadel in a previous post. Citadel Hill (Arabic: جبل القلعة Jabal al-Qal’a) overlooks downtown Amman. From there it is possible to see the Roman Theatre, also in the downtown area. Jabal al-Qal’a has been occupied since the Bronze Age (1800 BCE) and the ruins there date back to Roman through the early Islamic Period.


Photo from stalinsmustache.wordpress.com

Now, here’s where we tie it to the Bible (2 Samuel 11). In the 10th century BCE, the Israelite King, David was lusting for Bathsheba after spying on her as she bathed. He had her brought to him, had sex with her, and made her pregnant. So, what could he do? He schemed to bring her husband, Uriah, home from the war, hoping he’d sleep with her and think the child was his. There was a fly in that ointment, though; an ancient kingdom rule forbade warriors in active service to be intimate with their wives.  So, David schemed to have Uriah the Hittite assigned to the front line of the battle against the Ammonites. He even had Uriah, himself, deliver the order that was essentially a death sentence. As expected, the poor soldier was killed there and David took his wife for himself. What a nice guy David was…

The ruins, shown on the map, include the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, a Mosque and palace entrance, and a giant cistern. There is also a small museum with some stunning artifacts on display. Among them are fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and statues unearthed in nearby Ain Ghazal representing the oldest known statues of human figures. Here are a few photos. A single fragment of a statue of Hercules has been found. It’s a portion of his hand. The size of the fragment indicates that the statue stood around 13 meters (42.6 feet) tall!


Great Reception Hall


Palace gate with reception hall beyond


View of Roman Theatre from Citadel


Temple of Hercules


One of the temple columns


Temple of Hercules


Temple of Hercules with statue fragment


The only surviving fragment of a 13 meter tall statue of Hercules


My favorite view of the temple


Byzantine Church




6 thoughts on “C is for Citadel

  1. A land of mystery and beauty ~ and that light! Lucky you Jim, and thank you so much for sharing my friend ;-P (as for David… erm…)

  2. Hey. You know this plance very well. Tell me more about the portion of Hercules hand. It is so bright white compared to the color of the aged stone of the columns. What made it so different?

  3. Hey Cathy, thanks for stopping and checking out the post! I’ll be here every day this month except Sundays. Hercules’ hand is whiter because it’s marble. The temple, churches, etc are primarily sandstone. Some of the columns appear (to me) to be cement. As you know, it was the Romans who first perfected Portland Cement. The secret was lost for many, many centuries before being rediscovered in modern times. I don’t remember seeing it at the Citadel, but in other sites I’ve visited the cement has eroded over the years to reveal small stones that were added to the mix.

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