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Amman Nymphaeum 360° virtual tour
Built in 191 AD, the Nymphaeum was the most majestic fountain in ancient Philadelphia, a two-storey-high complex adorned with statues and various stone carvings. It is believed to have contained a three meter deep pool with an area of 600 square meters, which was continuously refilled with fresh water. The ancient stream and a Roman bridge stood exactly at the spot where now a busy road runs.
1. Recent history
Archive pictures helped us a lot to understand recent history of this monument. According to the earliest photos from the 1900s, it is proven that the upper storey of the building was mostly intact at that time. As the rapidly growing city engulfed it by the 1940s and buildings were erected everywhere, also inside the Nymphaeum, its upper storey mostly vanished. It is likely that the wall dividing the backyard of the building is a 20th century addition, it could have been the fence of one of the houses built inside the Nymphaeum. Till 1947 there used to be an ancient stream spanned by a Roman bridge just in front of the building, exactly where now a busy road runs. Restoration works of the Nymphaeum were commenced in the mid 90s and were finished by 2011.
2. What to see
Exterior walls of the building were converted into an Arabic fortress – similarly to the theatre in Bosra, Syria or the temple complex of Baalbek in Lebanon.
Layout of the structure in Amman slightly differs from typical horizontally-aligned Nymphaeums as this one is composed of three blocks, connected to each other at an angle. The middle block was a bit longer than the two other adjoining blocks, out of which only one remained more-or-less intact. Fragments of the decoration like basement of the columns, broken capitals and niches of the statues are still visible. It is likely that there used to be two streams running beneath the middle block because there are two vaulted tunnels just below the central block of the building.
3. When to see
The Nymphaeum doesn't have specific opening times as it just stands between blocks of houses. If you're lucky, the door from the side-street is open and you can get inside.