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Amman

capital jordan byzantine city

Amman (pop. 1,573,000), largest city, capital, and commercial and industrial center of the kingdom of Jordan. Industries include food and tobacco processing, textiles, cement, and leatherware. It is a busy transport junction, with good rail and road connections to major Middle Eastern cities and an international airport. Arab refugees from Israel and Israeli-held territories of Jordan have greatly enlarged its population in recent years. Amman was the scene of heavy fighting between government troops and guerilla forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1970.

The modern city is built on the site of the Rabbath Ammon, the capital of the ancient Ammonites. Named Philadelphia in the third century B.C., it prospered under Greek, Roman, and Byzantine rule. During the Middle Ages, after coming under Muslim control, it gradually declined to the status of a caravan village. Part of the Ottoman Empire until World War I, Amman became the capital of Transjordan, established as a British mandate in 1920. Amman remained the capital and royal residence when Jordan became independent in 1946. Its extensive Greco-Roman ruins include baths, a fortress, a temple dedicated to Hercules, a huge theater, and a Byzantine basilica.

Othmar Hermann Ammann [next] [back] Amish

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