Downtown Amman, Jordan, has always been known for its staircases. According to legend the city was built on seven hills, although the present-day reality is that there are many more than seven!
In this hilly place, the daily life of residents and visitors very often revolves around finding pedestrian staircases to shortcut between the vertically stacked neighborhoods of central old Amman. It can take more than an hour to go from Rainbow Street to the Grand Husseini Mosque by car; but on foot, via the network of staircases, you can make the same journey in just a few minutes.
For many years there has been a tradition of decorating the city with bright graffiti (some of it even commissioned), and this includes many very colorfully painted staircases. A more recent phenomenon, however, is the umbrella-covered staircases: also colorful, shaded, and almost oasis-like amid the heat and bustle of old Amman.
No one seems to remember which was the first, but now there are several umbrellas adorning the stairways throughout the old city. Some are seasonal, others are up all the time. There is one in the gold souks off of King Faysal Street. The most well-known is the staircase that leads up from Prince Muhammed Street up to the Zajal restaurant.