A Dérive in Amman

I’ve been to Amman around 10 times already. Yet, I’ve never had any interesting encounters over there. I only saw malls, cafes, and traffic.

Last visit was different though, I asked my friend who lives there to take me to down-town Amman, and I suggested that we start a Dérive. We agreed on two simple rules.

First: Follow the dark. Since lights will get us to places that are pretty normal and expected.

Second: Stay out of trouble. For down-town Amman may not be safe at night, especially when you are a stranger walking in alleys and narrow streets. – This turned out to be false though. People were very friendly on most cases-

This is a map of the Dérive  we took, it mainly consists of art work that we found along the way. It is interesting how art is found in such isolated places. It was all found by mere coincidence in a two hours ruled-walk.


A classic start, the Roman Theater in Amman.

Roman Theater, Amman
car park building with gibberish on it

Our first encounter was this car-park. It has writings on it that might be a poem translated from a foreign language probably using google translate-

For it says:

Let us imagine

Rivers burning in the distance

we hear the silence and suddenly

music comes towards us

to kill us

so that dancing becomes more intense

under the white sun.

Yep. As weird as that.

Coded graffiti
This is our second encounter. It was found in an alleyway, and we could not figure out the meaning of it. I love how graffiti artists pick the most random locations ever.


This was the best encounter. I was walking in a narrow street with old buildings from both sides, where I suddenly saw this gallery to my right. It was still fresh and new, my friend -the local guy- said that he never saw such thing in Amman before, not in this part at least. This was a gallery called the middle ear by: Yousef Kawar. We talked to the artist and toured the place, trying each painting in the room.



This was taken in a small restaurant called Ezwait -عزوتي- somewhere in downtwon Amman. I honestly do not know if I will ever find it again. The restaurant works on donations and charity. You pay an extra amount for your meal, and that extra goes to another person who can come and eat for free. You basically buy a ticket with each order you make. And you write something nice on that paper and pin it to the board. The next time someone comes with no Dinars on him/her, they take that note and exchange it for a meal. Outstanding.

More Graffiti in Amman


I asked my friend before taking this shot. Is it OK to take a picture of people’s buildings? I just want the Graffiti.. but I was too worried someone might rage at me for it.

There is a light that never turns off
A weird saying if you ask me. First, it is misspelled. Second, it makes no sense, what do they mean with there is a light that never turns off? If I ever go back I will look into it..

Downtown Amman at night.
This is the last picture I took, I ended my Dérive here at this point. We marked a known street from this point and headed back to my friend’s house.

 Amman is really beautiful when you explore it as an explorer. not as a naive tourist. 


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