Amman’s favourite green space is King Hussein Park, a large tract of hilly land on the western outskirts of the city. Many people come out here – especially on a Friday – to stroll, picnic or play games. There’s a monument to King Hussein at the highest point of the park, and you’ll also spot the minarets of the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque, inaugurated in 2006. The park is also home to two fine museums.
Following King Hussein’s death in 1999, King Abdullah II established the Royal Automobile Museum in his father’s memory. This fine building, designed by star Jordanian architect Jafar Touqan, blends in with its natural surroundings by being partly sunk into the earth and clad in untreated stone. The airy, spacious exhibition areas are filled with vehicles with a royal connection, ranging from a 1916 Cadillac through some elegant Rolls-Royces (and even a 1952 Triumph Thunderbird motorbike) to a Porsche 911 turbo. Images, dioramas and noticeboards give background information to the various vehicles so beloved of King Hussein and his predecessors. It’s a unique, fascinating way into twentieth-century Jordanian history, superbly presented. Petrol-heads will be enthralled.
Alongside the Royal Automobile Museum is the wonderful Children’s Museum, another superbly designed building – by Jordanian architects Faris & Faris – that is packed with toys, games, hands-on exhibits, art equipment and all kinds of fun for kids, from toddlers to teens.