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Rainbow Street: Amman’s hip centre

AFP | 2/6/2012 09:58 PM

 

Rainbow Street in Amman’s heart is abuzz again after posh 1920s-era homes were turned into restaurants, galleries and libraries, drawing hipsters, bohemians, intellectuals and hordes of tourists, AFP reported.

After decades of oblivion, the street in the historic area of Jabal Amman has undergone a facelift, rejuvenating the once sleepy neighbourhood.

Tucked away along a kilometre-long (less than a mile) cobblestone street flanked by the former homes of Jordan’s old aristocratic families, Rainbow Street is now one of Amman’s trendiest nightspots.

It sits atop one of Amman’s seven hills and boasts majestic views from the shisha bars and cafes of terraced houses overlooking the Old City below and the ancient Citadel on Jabal al-Qala’a across.Renovation work was completed two years ago by city planners keen on bolstering tourism and Rainbow Street has since found its way into tourist guide books and travel websites.

With more and more new eateries and art galleries opening up, it has attracted the likes of Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who once treated themselves and their children to ice cream from a local shop.

Even King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania once took time off to dine at the trendy Sufra restaurant,
“Rainbow Street has become an attractive destination, particularly for tourists, thanks mainly to its historic buildings,” said Haitham Goussous, whose family owns and runs Sufra among other restaurants. which boasts “home-made” Jordanian cuisine served in traditional pottery ware.

“Some people come for the food, while others come to enjoy the overall atmosphere or for shopping.”

Like most buildings in the area, Sufra was once a family home made of white stones, with large windows framed in wood, and patterned tiles that give the effect of a rug that has been unfurled on the floor.

Two years ago the Goussous family renovated the house built by an Armenian family in 1930, but kept the

old architecture as a tribute to the past.

“We established this restaurant to attract those who are in a way nostalgic for heritage and like Jordanian atmosphere,” said Goussous, who returned home to help with the business after eight years in Canada and Ireland.

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