Amman (ämänˈ), city (1997 est. pop. 1,415,000), capital of Jordan, N central Jordan, on the Jabbok (Wadi Zerka) River. Jordan's largest city and industrial and commercial heart, it is also a transportation hub, especially for pilgrims en route to Mecca. Amman, which is built on a series of hills and valleys, is noted for its locally quarried colored marble. Industries include the manufacture of textiles, leather and leather goods, cement, marble, tiles, flour, and tobacco products. Nearly half of Jordan's industry is based in Amman. On a site occupied since prehistoric times, Amman is the biblical Rabbah, or Rabbath-Ammon, capital of the Ammonites. It was conquered by King David in the 11th cent. B.C. but regained independence under Solomon. The city was taken by Assyria in the 8th cent. B.C. and by Antiochus III c.218 B.C. Ptolemy II Philadelphus named it Philadelphia, by which it was known throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods. It belonged to the Decapolis, a commercial league of free cities organized in the 1st cent. B.C. It was also a leading city of Rome's Arabian provinces. After the Arab conquest of 635, the city, which then became known as Amman, experienced a steady decline; it was only a small village when Emir Abdullah (later King Abdullah I) made it the capital of newly created Transjordan in 1921. Growth was particularly rapid after World War II, when Amman absorbed Arab refugees from Palestine. The city's growth was further boosted by Lebanese refugees and capital in the 1970s, and by remittances from Jordanian and Palestinian workers in the Persian Gulf in the 1970s and 80s. The city is the site of the Univ. of Jordan (est. 1962) and a Muslim college. Historical monuments include a Roman amphitheater (1st cent. B.C.), remains of a temple that was probably built by Hercules, and some tombs and a section of wall that date to the 9th or 8th cent. B.C.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
the capital of Jordan and center of Amman liwa’ (district). Located on the Wadi Zerca’ (Jabbok River), in the northwestern part of the country. Population, 330,400 (1967). Junction of highways; railroad station. International airport. Industries include cement, oil refining, tobacco, food production (including fruit and vegetable canning, a dairy, and a bakery), and textiles. It has a university and two museums (an archaeological museum and a museum of Islam).
The city was known as Rabbath Ammon in antiquity and as Philadelphia in the Greco-Roman period. From the seventh to the ninth centuries it was part of the Arab caliphate; after the disintegration of the caliphate in the tenth century it became part of various states of Egypt and Syria. From 1516 until the end of World War I, Amman was part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Emirate of Trans-jordan was set up by British mandate in 1921, Amman became its capital. It has been the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom (Jordan) since 1946. Amman is a major center of the anti-imperialist democratic movement in Jordan. There were demonstrations and other actions in 1928, 1955, and 1957.
The sights of Amman include Roman ruins—among them a theater, an odeum, and the Hercules Temple—a fortress from Arab times, the Basman and Ragdan palaces (end of the 19th century), and the al-Hussein Mosque (1924). Modern Amman has three- and four-story buildings.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.