Amman: an unexpectedly colourful city.

Travelling turns me into a sponge, soaking up everything I can. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. I love exploring new places, learning about new cultures, meeting new people and eating new foods. Above all, I love trying new experiences.

Though there are always new things to see or do on a trip, wherever I go in the world there is one thing remains constant: the need to photograph anything that catches my eye. I roam the streets of a new place, trusty Samsung Galaxy S6 in hand, papping everything I see that looks beautiful (and some things that aren’t so beautiful). I often stray from the paths, climb down holes and caves, trek across fields; I like the feeling of going where others haven’t.

From amazing architecture to serene sunsets, and fancy food to colourful cities, I’ve taken some pretty cool pics on my travels. But would I find anything in Jordan worth capturing?

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Like my recent breaks to Cyprus and Mexico, my trip to Jordan was pretty spontaneous. The only reason I wanted to go to Jordan was to tick the Lost City of Petra off my bucket list (somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since first watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

Obviously, I also wanted to visit another country for my “30 countries before 30” challenge, but other than Petra I hadn’t really researched much about Jordan. And because I’d only booked my flights two days before flying, I had no list of “must-dos”. I reserved a room in a hotel in Amman and decided to just wing it.

Would I find beauty in Amman?

As my plane flew over the grey-beige looking capital before bumping onto the runway, I gazed out the window and thought to myself “there won’t be much worth seeing in Amman, just get to Petra ASAP“. This was a a thought that repeated itself as I journeyed by bus and then taxi from the airport to my (absolutely disgusting) hotel.

So after hardly any sleep, being hassled by a creepy guy at the airport and then not being able to shower my sweaty body at aforementioned hotel, it’s safe to say I wasn’t particularly excited about exploring Jordan’s capital.

But, I’m so glad I did – as what started off as quite a wearisome trip turned out to be one of the best…

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The first morning I left the hotel – backpack on and guide book in hand – I headed for the Citadel. En route I came across these brightly painted stairs, which took me by complete surprise.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a massive fan of street art, so am always looking out for murals and pieces wherever I go. As I’d only seen unadorned bare grey-beige concrete in Amman before finding these stairs, I hadn’t even thought about finding street art in Jordan’s capital. So I was amazed when I found a different type of “street art”, literal street art, art on the streets…

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That night, after exploring the Citadel, I read my guide book in a bit more detail. Rainbow Street was apparently the place to go in Amman, with it’s bustling souks, cafes and bars, plus street entertainment galore. A quick look on Google told me this would be a cool place for some travel photography, and a couple of friends back home had also recommended it, so I thought I’d head there on my next jaunt around the city.

I wanted to find more pretty rainbow stairs… And if it’s called “Rainbow Street”, it must be colourful right?

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Wrong.

Google Maps suggested Rainbow Street was just a 10-minute walk from where I was now staying (I’d checked out of the disgusting hotel – but more on that in another post), so I set off at 11am in search of rainbows.

After climbing up some really steep streets and ascending what felt like a billion stairs,  I eventually found Rainbow Street. But with it being a) the middle of the day and b) the middle of Ramadan, Rainbow Street was a ghost town. I walked the entire mile long road and back, and found nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I messaged my driver, Ahmad, to ask if he knew where there was something fun and colourful on Rainbow Street, but he couldn’t think of anything. So a bit preturbed, I started to make my way back to the hotel (as I had arranged to have a traditional Turkish bath with the girlfriend of the manager of the hotel).

But then, completely by accident, I found this…

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A beautiful passage of stairs leading down the hill to the busy street below. Again, more literal street art, which I stood admiring for a while. I’m sure the locals must have thought I was crazy (if they didn’t already, walking around in the middle of the blazing heat without a hat on).

Once down onto street level though, I realised I needed to go down another level to get to the main street that would take me back to the hotel…

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It wasn’t until I got half way down this set of stairs that I looked back and saw all the brightly coloured steps. Amazing. This was it, I was finally finding rainbows.

And then once out onto the main street, I began to walk in the direction towards the hotel. Until something across the street, fluttering in the breeze caught my eye…

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Crossing the busy road, dodging cars in both directions, horns honking, I ran to the foot of this set of stone steps, staring up in wonder.

I had found it, I had found the real “Rainbow Street”.

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This beautiful installation of umbrellas and potted plants was a colour hunters’ paradise. I spent about 30 minutes climbing the stairs and snapping away, every direction I turned I saw something else that made my eyes light up.

Then when I reached the street level above, I found a few more colourful murals:

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Realising that I was going to be late for my Hammam bath, I raced down the colourful yet well shaded stairs, and half skipped-half jogged back to the hotel.

I couldn’t wait to show all my photos to Ahmad. Thrusting my phone into his face and bouncing around excitedly, he could tell that I’d had a great day exploring his city, despite the actual Rainbow Street being such a disappointment.

What I’d found was so much better though…

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On my last day before taking me to Jerash to explore the Roman ruins, now knowing how much I liked the colourful steps, Ahmad promised to show me one more set of stairs he knew of (they were on the edge of the city, so only accessible by car).

I also asked if he could show me how to get to the flowery mural that was painted on the back of the hotel, which I’d spied from my bedroom window…

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Although it was only a quick stop to snap a picture, these steps were probably my favourite.

I think the final picture just shows how these boldly painted stairs are like a pretty little jewel in Amman’s crown. Who ever knew that Jordan’s capital city, with it’s cold, grey-beige concrete exterior, would have such a warm, colourful heart?

77 thoughts on “Amman: an unexpectedly colourful city.

  1. Such gorgeous photographs, I love the street art, so much to see! I saw umbrellas hanging like that in Spain once, such a beautiful sight to see. You’ve captured the place so well in your photos.

    1. Thanks Helen – I loved taking photos of the installation, I think it photographed really well. So now I want to find more similar ones (…may try looking in Spain!) x

  2. This is an amazing article. I am discovering your blog and I loved it. My uncle told me that Jordan is a beautiful country to visit and your pictures agreed with that.

  3. Wow those multi-coloured stairs look so pretty, I’m so glad that you found enough to do in the city, definitely somewhere I’d love to go x

  4. Wonderful captures. I must say you’re very adventurous and brave to head to Jordan so spontaneously, but I’m so happy you’ve had such a great time :))

  5. I would love to visit Amman and I love all the colourful steps! Such a beautiful, colourful and creative place, the culture, everything, looks amazing!

    Laura x

  6. That street is absolutely stunning, I never had Jordan pegged as a place of street art and colour but I am glad I read your post. How amazing that you got to tick another place off your bucket list. Do let me know next time when you are in London, let’s catch up xx

    1. I know! I never thought I’d find such a beautiful street in the otherwise pretty plain, concrete jungle of a city. I’ll be in London from 4 July, as that’s when I start my new job! Yay! But yes, we should definitely meet for a cocktail and a catch-up x

  7. These photos are amazing! Everything is so vibrant and beautiful. It is refreshing to look at and remember all of the beauty and goodness in this world! Thank you.

  8. That is so pretty!! I love all of those umbrella and the plants hanging on the walls.

  9. WOW – I really enjoyed seeing your photographs here. I could only imagine in my dreams to visit a place like this. Lucky you!

  10. This is a place I will be adding to my travel bucket list! I love the pictures that you added! Makes it a place I want to visit!

    1. Oh really Laura? Whereabouts do they live, do you know? Amman is a strange city, because it looks pretty bare and beige and dull, but between that, if you look a little deeper, you can find a real beauty 🙂 x

  11. Colors everywhere!!! And I am huge fan of street art! It is actually ingredible how beautfil o corner can be by painting for example the stairs! great post

  12. I love the colour everywhere. The stairs are beautiful and those umberella’s too. What a lovely collection of photos and I would have been excited like you. I always get excited when I get good photos for my blog. 🙂

  13. I want to be your next travel buddy now… “Rainbow St must mean it is colourful, right? Wrong!” That had me chuckling out loud. That is funny. But you are right. There are some very beautiful colours in this city. Pack me with you next time!

  14. I actually got excited for you as I was reading this!! Love the photos, gorgeous post. Amman has always had me curious and I’ve often wondered about what it would be like to go there.

    1. Ahhh thanks so much 😘 I was really surprised by what I managed to find while visiting – just goes to show there’s beauty everywhere if you look hard enough!

  15. Wow I can’t believe you found such a colourful place in Amman, it’s such a boring brown city mostly. The ‘Rainbow street’ is definitely a misleading name haha. But the accidental discovery you made with those colourful places are an absolute joy for the eyes. I’m sure you would’ve been so excited! It looks lovely x

  16. WOW!!! Rainbow Street sounds like the most amazing place to visit, and certainly to photograph! I love those umbrellas, how pretty they all are in the sunlight!

    1. Rainbow Street wasn’t actually that colourful – it was just like any other street – but then I stumbled across this little passageway with the colourful umbrellas overhead, and it was like “errrrr hello, why is this not Rainbow Street?!” Ha x

    1. I was completely the same Kira – I didn’t expect much of Amman, and the only reason I wanted to go to Jordan was to visit Petra. But I was so surprised by the beauty I found in the capital city x

  17. For a moment I was so disappointed that there was nothing at the Rainbow Street and then the photographs came. I am so glad that you found your own Rainbow Street. And those colourful stairs and umbrellas! They look absolutely brilliant. Any particular reason why they are put like that, or are they just for decorations?

  18. The city is really colorful. They look so instagrammable. I didn’t know the capital city of Jordan has such beautiful corners in it. I loved the steps and the umbrellas.

  19. Love that you were finally able to find the Rainbow! The colorful flower pots and umbrellas are stunning. I recently traveled to Charleston, South Carolina and fell in love with Rainbow Row! So, I understand the obsession!

  20. oh wow, I love all of the splashes of bright colors! this city looks like such a fun place to visit!

  21. Traveling turns me into a sponge as well. I love taking in new cultures and learning and growing from them. This looks like an amazing vacation! So many beautiful colors!

  22. Wow, I feel like I have visited Amman after reading your article and seeing all these colourful pictures. I was surprised to see all these colours. Great post! Thank you for sharing!

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