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Irbid is a city in northern Jordan, some 88 km north of the capital Amman. The main industrial and administrative centre in the north of the kingdom, Irbid is home to the Yarmouk University, the Jordan University of Science and Technology and a good range of services, making it a staging point for exploration further afield to Gadara (Umm Qais), Pella and other nearby sites within the region.
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Points of Interest in Irbid
There is not much to see in the town of Irbid itself, but from there you can go on and visit several ancient sites around the city. Umm Qais, almost 20 minutes from Irbid, is a Roman era settlement. In Ajlun (also 20 minutes away), you can see an early Islamic castle on the top of a hill. Jarash boasts a large Roman site, with pillars and a forum. Pella is among the smaller sites. To get to these sites, either take service buses or taxis. Taxi fare shouldn't exceed 10 JD. Also, check out the following museums:
- the Museum of Jordanian Heritage, Yarmouk University campus - considered by many the finest archeological museum in the country, designed in partnership with the German government. Somewhat difficult to find, however: Driving from Amman, turn left at the roundabout by the stadium, then right after 500 m (around the stadium), and you will see an entrance about 500 m on the left, with a museum sign. Check in with the officers at the gate and they will direct you to the museum, which is part of the University's Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.
- Irbid Archaeological Museum, Department of Antiquities building, Al-Ma'amun Street, open daily, 8 am - 2 pm, except Fridays.
- the Natural History Museum, open daily (except Tuesdays) 10 am - 5 pm winter time, and 10 am - 3 pm summer time. Exhibits Jordanian fauna and flora. Worth a visit.
Popular events in Irbid in the near future
Archaeological evidence reveals that Irbid has been settled since the Bronze Age. During the Roman period, Irbid was known as Arabella. The city's ancient past now lies hidden beneath modern roads and buildings.
There is not much to see in downtown Irbid. The town's landmark thoroughfare is University Street, with restaurants, shops, and boutiques. The street is also known for its myriad of internet cafes, for which reason Irbid boasts an appropriate entry in the Guiness Book of World Records. One hour of internet use costs 75 piasters or 1 JD, at most. Most cafes and coffee shops serve shisha (hookah), for 1.50 JD. There are many schools and colleges in the Irbid area, including Al-Yarmouk University and Jordan University of Science and Technology. Students are mainly of Arabic background; there are also many American and Malaysian students.
You will find all kinds of Arabic food to enjoy. Try Al-Manqal, on University street, which serves decent grills and the usual Middle Eastern fare. You can also try Arabella and Al-Saadi. All of these serve the usual Middle Eastern grills, rice, hummus, and tabbulah. They're relatively cheap, especially for western visitors. If you want to eat like the locals, buy felafel sandwiches or hummus from one of the numerous small delicatessen shops. There are also many shawarma restaurants. (Shawarma is shredded meat or chicken, wrapped in thin bread.) All of these are very cheap: Shawarma sandwich: 60 piasters; felafel sandwich: 20 piasters; hummus dish to go: 40 piasters. (100 piasters make one Jordanian Dinar.) Finally, for hamburgers and fries, you can go to McDonald's, close to University Street Roundabout and Yarmouk University. For fast food, there are also Quick Burger, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's and other places, all on University Street. If you're looking for something in particular to eat, ask the local residents where you can find a food establishment that serves it.
- Lukmeh Haniyyeh, Rateb Al Batayna Street, Across from Plateen Pharmacy (When entering Irbid on the road from Amman (Sharia’a Al Hus’n), drive until you reach the fourth traffic light (at McDonalds) and turn right. Continue straight and you will see the Irbid Chamber of Commerce on your right, and Lumeh Haniyyeh will be thirty meters beyond that on your left (across the street from Plateen Pharmacy).), ☎ 0799671611, 0775487959. Daily, 8:30am to 4:00pm. Lukmeh Haniyyeh (Delicious Bite) serves up Jordanian classics ranging from a set menu of starters and mua’janat (appetizer pastries) and halouiat (sweets) to a rotating menu of daily specials such as maftool and maqlooba. Even better, it serves a good cause. The kitchen was started by Microfund for Women in partnership with USAID. MFW took under-served women that previously made food products out of their homes, provided them with relevant trainings, and then gave them a kitchen. The food is available to carry out, order by phone or eat in, and all proceeds support the financial empowerment of local women. -Starters: JD 0.10-1.50.
As said before, there are pubs and bars in the downtown area of Irbid.And you can find numerous liquor stores in downtown Irbid too. These mainly Christian-run enterprises, open to everyone, and they sell both domestic and international alcohol and beer, at reasonable prices (although you should always ask about prices before buying).
There are many shops in Irbid, especially on University Street and the streets nearby, selling souvenirs, jewelry, and clothing. For international brands and souvenirs, go to Amman.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Irbid on Wikivoyage.