Sijal lies in the heart of the historic Jabal Amman neighborhood, minutes away from Rainbow Street, its main artery. Jabal Amman (literally “Amman Hill”) is one of the seven hills on which Amman was originally built. Abdul Rahman Munif was raised in the house next door to Sijal. One of the great authors of the 20th century, Munif was born to an Iraqi mother and a Saudi father in 1933. The tales of our neighborhood and its original residents are preserved in his memoir Story of a City: A Childhood in Amman. Numerous other cultural icons lived nearby, including the renowned Jordanian novelist Ghalib Halasa and the prominent Palestinian historian Aref al-Aref.
Today, our neighborhood remains the site of many of Amman’s iconic institutions, and it is widely recognized as the city’s paramount cultural district. Amman’s leading theaters - the Rainbow Art House and the Al-Balad Theater - are located here. The Royal Film Commission, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, the Royal Documentation Center, and the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation and Public Library are all in close proximity. The presence of these large institutions is complemented by the recent flourishing of art galleries, including Nabad, Sararash, Jacaranda Images, Salam Kanaan, and Wadi Finan. A wide range of cultural activities are also hosted in the local 7iber Village. Our neighborhood is further home to the oldest schools in the country, including the Al-Ahliyyah Girls School, the Bishop’s School for Boys, and the Islamic Educational College, the first non-missionary private institution of its kind in Amman. More recently, the new campus of the German Jordanian University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment was established in the area.
Besides its cultural and educational significance, Rainbow Street hosts the most diverse collection of culinary establishments in the Jordanian capital. Its pedestrian-friendly character has resulted in the rise of a lively café culture. The renowned Books@Café is located directly opposite Sijal House, featuring a bookshop and a relaxed lounge atmosphere. Smaller third wave coffee houses are within close walking range, and so are numerous traditional qahwas offering coffee, tea and argheeleh. A plethora of upscale and mid-range restaurants and bistros operate nearby, serving Arab, Continental, American, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Armenian, and Chinese cuisines. For lovers of simpler comfort options, some of the best street food in the Middle East can be found in the vicinity: the legendary Al-Quds Falafel Shop, Shawarma Reem, and Abu Jbara Houmous are all within a 20-minute walk from Sijal House.
Last but not least, our neighborhood is an entertainment and shopping hub. Bustling with bars, lounges and nightclubs, it has a vibrant nightlife. It boasts Amman’s most famous Turkish Bath (Al-Pasha), and it hosts the weekly Souk Jara, a flea market of antiques and crafts held every Friday during the summer months. The souks, bazars, and Roman ruins of Amman’s downtown center (Al-Balad) are only a short walk downhill.