Online Since 2004.

Speed of Light

When we first moved to Amman a little less than 4 years ago, Amman was still Amman; everything closed on Fridays, almost everyone around was Arab, and the most decent shopping you could do was with the few brands that had just started opening in Share3 il Markat (AKA “The Brand Street”).

A few months later, Mecca Mall opened, with its plethora of renowned stores, and the world of Ammani life changed. In the years that followed, so many new commercial projects were and are being undertaken that it is hard to keep up anymore. There are cranes in the horizon everywhere you look, new structures everywhere, construction sites getting marked daily.

Whenever I go to a part of town that I haven’t been to in a few weeks, I am always shocked by what I see. They closed off the turn to Jabal Amman from Shmesani, making it impossible to get to Jabal Amman lest one goes through the Fourth Circle. The other day I discovered that my beloved Rainbow Street has been closed off to be turned into a pedestrian road by October. Abdoun looks nothing like the Abdoun I spent my teenage years in. Buildings in the older parts of Amman like Shmesani and Weibdeh are getting knocked off left and right to make way for more modern commercial structures and parking space. Last week I found myself in Khalda and was absolutely shocked to see the towers peaking out of the mountains.

Yet, I haven’t left town for over a week in 4 years.

Here’s a picture of a “new” Ammanite view courtesy of Lina (she has a lot more pictures of construction taking place too):

And last but not least… they’re actually doing something about visual pollution in the form of signage. I was shocked to see Ahmad’s pictures of the Markat Street, because I was just there a few weeks ago, and it hadn’t changed one bit then.

Amman is changing, and it’s changing fast. Nothing is ever closed on Fridays anymore, the crowd at the malls is a cosmopolitan mix of people from all over the world, and you can get really decent shopping done at City Mall. Even more decent than that in Saudi Arabia.

Personally? I love it :) Of course, everything has a negative side to it as well, but for now, I’m enjoying the changes.

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8 Comments

  1. yaseen

    yesterday while I was driving home, I saw they blocked that street near commodore hotel(you know that + street where they used to put stuff to forbid cars from going straight and eventually built a small wall ;p) so I had to drive up to shemesani market to find a valid right turn I could take, on the left side there was like 4 new buildings going there! where have I been all this time o_O and what the hell are they building ;p one of them read “modern mall” or something

  2. Oh, yeah, I saw that building last week too. I hate it though.. Ya3ni, seriously, min kol 3a2elhom a mall there?! That’sjust crazy. There isn’t any space to pass in the car let alone park and make a mall.

  3. I’m really pumped about this. I’m anxious to see an cleaner, more organized Amman that is considerably friendlier to pedestrians and citizens. I’ll continue to be a big proponent, as long as they find a way to maintain a balance between the new construction and classic Arab culture.

  4. I live in el weebdeh I can see from here 3 new 5-levels buildings
    And forgot to mention Abdoun Bridge
    Its true it’s changing, we are changing

  5. I wake up to that same view everyday…and every time i see it out the window I get butterflies thinking of what is Amman going to look like in 5 years…
    Dave..I think Amman is becoming more pedestrian friendly. There were always efforts to make it this way -pedestrians tunnels and bridges- which were always avoided by Ammanies ( they like the rush of crossing a 70 km/h street). I think the upcoming problem in town in PARKING

  6. Rainbow street pedestrians only?!?!
    probably best news I heard in years
    hopefully they won’t knock down the older buildings…
    maybe move British Council somewhere else, god i hate that place! lol

  7. Ayyob

    Roba, im wondering where u lived before u moved to amman

  8. Ayyob, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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