Jordan / Cities and Towns /
Ancient: Rabbath Ammon; Philadelphia
Capital of Jordan with 1.4 million inhabitants (2005 estimate). The city lies on rolling hills at the eastern end of the Ajlun Mountains. Many of the city's 19 hills are higher than 800 metres. Theoretically, the seasonal river of Wadi Amman and tributaries run through Amman, but are since long absorbed by the city.
King Abdullah Mosque.
The old downtown of Amman.
Night market in downtown Amman.
The Roman Theatre.
Abu Darwish Mosque.
Amman is the commercial, industrial and administrative centre of Jordan. The city has a diverse industry, but phosphate extraction and petroleum refining are the most significant. Other important industries include food and tobacco processing, manufacture of textiles, paper, plastics and metal products.
Amman has an excellent infrastructure. All major highways of Jordan pass through the urban zone of Amman. Queen Alia International Airport lies 30 km south of the capital. A railway connects Amman to Damascus of Syria, but this is only of theoretical importance, with only one connection per week.
Amman has grown quickly after World War 2, both to serve the needs of a modern state and as a result of the many Palestinian refugees fleeing Palestine after the wars and establishment of the state of Israel.
In between the modern quarters are ancient structures, like an ancient citadel and a finely preserved 2nd century CE Roman theatre, which could seat 6,000 spectators (lowest photo). Of modern sights, the King Abdullah 1 Mosque from the 1980's (top photo) and the black and white checkered mosque of Abu Darwish are the most noteworthy.
Amman has a university established in 1962.
There are remains of settlement here going back to perhaps as early as 4000 BCE.
13th century BCE: The site is the effectively the capital of the kingdom of Ammon, the town being called Rabbath Ammon.
332: The region is conquered by Alexander the Great.
Around 270?: The town is rebuilt by the Egyptian king Ptolemy 2 Philadelphus, who renamed it after himself; Philadelphia.
218: Conquered by the Seleucids, beginning a period of turmoil.
164: The region passes to the Romans.
63: Becomes part of the Roman province of Syria. It becomes part of the league of ten cities, Decapolis.
324 CE: Philadelphia becomes the seat of a Roman Christian bishopric.
635: Conquered by the troops of the Arab general Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan, and included into the Muslim state of the Caliph. Centuries of decline start, caused by less need of a central town in this region.
Around 1300: Philadelphia appears to have become almost completely deserted.
1878: The Ottomans establishes a settlement on the site of ancient Philadelphia, but not larger than a village.
1921: Transjordan is established with Abdullah of Hijaz and Mecca as emir. He would soon make Amman his capital.
1946: Fast development of Amman starts after Jordan receives its independence this year.
1948: First Palestinian War brings a large influx of Palestinians to Jordan and Amman in particular.
1962: The university of Jordan is established.
1970: Civil war between PLO troops and Jordanians (which also included Palestinians) fought mainly in the streets of Amman. The government troops comes out as victors of the war.