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For other meanings, see Amman (disambiguation)
Amman city landmarks, From right to left and above to below: Amman's skyline as seen from Sport city, Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel, Umayyad Palace, Ottoman Hejaz Railway station, Roman theater, Abdoun Bridge, King Abdullah I Mosque and Raghadan Flagpole.
Amman city landmarks, From right to left and above to below: Amman's skyline as seen from Sport city, Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel, Umayyad Palace, Ottoman Hejaz Railway station, Roman theater, Abdoun Bridge, King Abdullah I Mosque and Raghadan Flagpole.
Flag of Amman
Official seal of Amman
  • 'The White City'
  • 'The White Pigeon'
خريطة مدينة عمان.png
Amman is located in Jordan
Coordinates: 31°56′59″N 35°55′58″E / 31.94972°N 35.93278°E / 31.94972; 35.93278Coordinates: 31°56′59″N 35°55′58″E / 31.94972°N 35.93278°E / 31.94972; 35.93278
Country  Jordan
Governorate Capital Governorate
Founded 7000 BC
Municipality 1909
 • Mayor Aqel Biltaji
 • Total 1,680 km2 (650 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,100 m (3,600 ft)
Lowest elevation 700 m (2,300 ft)
Population (2014)[3]
 • Total 4,000,000
 • Density 3,142.9/km2 (8,140/sq mi)
Time zone +2 Eastern European Standard Time
 • Summer (DST) +3 Arabia Standard Time (UTC)
Postal code 11110-17198
Area code(s) +962(6)

Amman (English pronunciation: /ɑːˈmɑːn/; Arabic: عمّان‎), is the capital and most populous city of Jordan, with an estimated population of 4,000,000 [5] and a land area of 648.7 square miles (1,680 km2). It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is considered to be the most westernized and liberal Arab city. It is a major tourist destination in the region and the capital is especially popular among Persian Gulf tourists and European tourists.[6] .[7]

The city is located in central-north Jordan and is governed by Greater Amman Municipality, headed by its mayor Aqel Biltaji. It has a total of 27 districts. East Amman is predominantly filled with historical sites that host frequent cultural activities, while the West Amman area is more modern, stylish, and holds the economic center of the city. Residents of Amman are referred to as Ammanis or by the singular: Ammani.

The recent economic growth experienced in Amman is unmatched by any other Arab city except those located in the Persian Gulf area. Amman is also the administrative seat of the homonymous governorate. Amman is also ranked a Beta− global city on the World city index, the same category as Abu Dhabi, Kuwait City and Manama.[8]

Amman was named one of the MENA's best cities according to economic, labour, environmental, and socio-cultural factors. Amman is among the most popular locations for multinational corporations to set up their regional offices, alongside Doha and only behind Dubai. Furthermore, it is expected that in the next 10 years these three cities will capture the largest share of multinational corporation activity in the region.[9] Amman was or is the base city for huge multinational corporations such as; Arab Bank, Aramex and Hikma Pharmaceuticals. It is the home for the Amman Stock Exchange, numerous hotels of which many belong to top end international brand names and mega projects like the Abdali Urban Regeneration Project and the Jordan Gate Towers.


Amman has its name from the 13th century BC when the Ammonites named it Rabbath Ammon with the term Rabbat meaning the Capital or the Kings quarters. The word Rabbath was later dropped, and the capital became known as Ammon. With the influences of more visiting civilizations, the name eventually changed to Amman.[10] In the Hebrew Bible, it is referred to as Rabbat ʿAmmon (Tiberian Hebrew Rabbaṯ ʿAmmôn). However the Macedonian ruler of Egypt, renamed it Philadelphia (Ancient Greek Φιλαδέλφεια) for brotherly love, by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who reigned from 283 to 246 BC and occupied and rebuilt the city. He was supposedly given the nickname of Philadelphus, so it was named Philadelphia after him.[11][12]


Neolithic period[edit]

See also: 'Ain Ghazal
One of the oldest statues ever made by human civilization

One of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the Near East was discovered in the outskirts of Amman. Called 'Ain Ghazal, which dates as far back as 7250 BC spanning over an area of 15 hectares. It started as a typical aceramic, Neolithic village of modest size. It was set on terraced ground in a valley-side, and was built with rectangular mud-brick houses that accommodated a square main room and a smaller anteroom. Walls were plastered with mud on the outside, and with lime plaster inside that was renewed every few years.

It was discovered in 1974 by developers who were building a road through the area. Excavation began in 1982 however by this time, around 600 meters (1,970 ft) of road ran through the site. Despite the damage urban expansion brought, what remained of 'Ain Ghazal provided a wealth of information and continued to do so until 1989. One of the more notable archaeological finds during these first excavations came to light in 1983. While examining a cross section of earth in a path carved out by a bulldozer, archaeologists came across the edge of a large pit 2.5 meters (8 ft) under the surface containing plaster statues.[13]

'Ain Ghazal is renowned for a set of anthropomorphic statues found buried in pits in the vicinity of some special buildings that may have had ritual functions. These statues are half-size human figures modeled in white plaster around a core of bundled twigs. The figures have painted clothes, hair, and in some cases, ornamental tattoos or body paint. The eyes are created using cowrie shells with a bitumen pupil.[14] In all, 32 of those plaster figures were found in two caches,[14] 15 of them full figures, 15 busts, and 2 fragmentary heads. Three of the busts were two-headed,[14] the significance of the two headed statues is not clear.

Rabbath Ammon[edit]

See also: Ammon
An Ammonite watch tower at Rujm Al-Malfouf in Amman

In the 13th century BC Amman was called Rabbath Ammon by the Ammonites. Ammon was the source of numerous natural resources, including sandstone and limestone. It had a productive agricultural sector and occupied a vital place along the king's highway, the ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia. As with the Edomites and Moabites, trade along this route gave the Ammonites considerable revenue.[15] Ammonites worshiped an ancient god called Moloch. Excavations by archaeologists uncovered a temple near Amman Civil Airport which included an altar containing many human bone fragments. It was concluded that the altar functioned as a pyre since the bones showed evidence of burning.[16] Today, several Ammonite ruins across Amman exist such as; Qasr al Abd, Rujm Al-Malfouf and some parts of the Amman Citadel. The ruins of Rujm Al-Malfouf consist of a stone tower set up to maintain surveillance on the enemy movements to ensure protection of their capital and several store rooms east of it.[17][18] The city was later conquered by the Assyrians, followed by the Persians.

Hellenistic period[edit]

Conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia by Alexander the Great, firmly consolidated the influence of Hellenistic culture.[19] The Greeks founded new cities in Jordan, such as Umm Qays, Jerash and Amman which was then renamed from Ammon to Philadelphia for brotherly love in Greek, by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Macedonian ruler of Egypt who reigned from 283 to 246 BC who occupied and rebuilt the city. He was supposedly given the nickname of Philadelphus, so it was named Philadelphia after him.[11][12]

Qasr al Abd was built in 200 BC

The village of `Iraq al Amir in the valley of Wadi as-Ser, south-west of Amman, is home to one of the most original monuments in Jordan, and perhaps in the Hellenistic period: Qasr al Abd meaning (castle of the servant). Other nearby ruins includes a village from the same period, an isolated house, a fountain perched on the cliff, which are barely visible today. And a few written sources suggest that the site was the centre of a vast estate belonging to a powerful family, the Tobiads, which extended from Philadelphia to the lower slopes of Wadi al‑Sir, a green valley with a lot of rainfall and rich in agricultural production.

Qasr al Abd is widely believed to have been built by a Tobiad notable, Hyrcanus of Jerusalem, head of the powerful Tobiad family then began the construction of that large prestigious building. But around 170-168 BC, upon returning from a military campaign in Egypt, Antiochus IV, conquered Jerusalem, plundered the Temple where the treasure of Hyrcanus was kept, and seemed to want to fight Hyrcanus. Upon hearing this, Hyrcanus committed suicide leaving his palace uncompleted. We hear no more of the Tobiad family after that date.[20] Afterwards the city became under the Nabatean rule for a short period of time until 106 AD.[21]

Roman rule[edit]

Temple of Hercules, Roman Corinthian columns at Citadel Hill.
Roman Amphitheater in Amman
After Philadelphia was conquered during the Roman conquest of Jordan, Syria and Palestine in 63 BC. It inaugurated a period of Roman control which would last four centuries. In northern Jordan, the Greek cities of Philadelphia (Amman), Gerasa (Jarash), Gadara (Umm Qays), Pella and Arbila (Irbid) joined with other cities in Palestine and southern Syria to form the Decapolis League, a fabled confederation linked by bonds of economic and cultural interest.[11][21] In 106 AD, the Roman Emperor Trajan built a new road from Eilat to Damascus which ran through Philadelphia. This created an economic boom for the city. Later, during the Byzantine Period, the city was home to bishop and several churches in the early 7th Century AD.[22]  Constantine converted to the growing religion of Christianity in 333 AD. However, in Jordan, the Christian community had developed much earlier: Pella had been a center of refuge for Christians fleeing persecution in Rome during the first century AD.         [21]

Although the Roman rule of Jordan left several ruins across the country, few exist in Amman like the Temple of Hercules and the magnificent Roman amphitheater. The theater was built during the reign of Antonius Pius 138-161 AD. The large and steeply raked structure could seat about 6,000 people: built into the hillside, it was oriented north to keep the sun off the spectators. To the northeast stands the small theater called Odeon, which is still being restored. Built at about the same time as the Roman theater, this intimate 500-seat theater is used now as it was in Roman times, for musical concerts. Archaeologists think that the building was originally covered with a wooden or temporary tent roof to shield performers and audiences from the elements. Heading southwest from the theater complex, Philadelphia’s chief fountain, or Nymphaeum. Much of the fountain, which was completed in 191 AD, is hidden from public view by private houses and shops. The Nymphaeum is believed to have contained a 600 square meter pool, three meters deep, which was continuously refilled with fresh water. Jordan’s Department of Antiquities is currently excavating the Nymphaeum, and ultimately hopes to restore the site to its original structure.[23]

Ummayad rule[edit]

Umayyad Palace on top of the Amman Citadel

The Muslims conquered the area after the fall of the Roman Empire. They founded a limited number of military garrisons. Jordan was given its present name 'el-Urdun' along with the name of its capital 'Amman'. A large part of the population already spoke Arabic, a fact which facilitated integration into the new empire, as well as numerous conversions to Islam. Under the Umayyad caliphs from 661 AD the country was systematically developed by means of the desert castles. There are several of these which are remarkably well preserved in Jordan. Amman already functioned as, where a magnificent palace was built on the Amman Citadel hill which was possibly used as an administrative building or the residence of an Umayyad official. A powerful earthquake rocked the city in 747 AD, destroying many buildings and perhaps contributing to the defeat of the Umayyads by the Abbasids three years later.[21]

Ottoman rule[edit]

Ottoman Hejaz railway bridge

Amman was then destroyed by several earthquakes and natural disasters and remained a small village and a pile of ruins. Amman 's popularity declined especially during the Ottoman rule where Al-Salt became the political capital. It was only after the departure of the Ottoman rule that Amman began flourishing again with the help of the many crafty Circassians that came during their exodus in 1878.[24][25] Ottoman records from 1906 shows 5,000 Circassian living in Amman and virtually no inhabitants who spoke Arabic. The tide changed when the Ottoman Sultan decided to build the Hejaz railway, linking Damascus and Medina, facilitating both the annual hajj pilgrimage and permanent trade, putting Amman, a major station, back on the commercial map.[26][27]

Under the British Mandate[edit]

Glubb Pasha in Amman in 1940

Under the British Mandate, the population of Amman started to rise. In 1921, king Abdullah I chose Amman instead of Al-Salt as the seat of government for his newly created state, the Emirate of Transjordan, and later as the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This attracted immigrants fom several places. Most from inside the country came from Al-Salt, a city nearby and at that time the largest urban settlement east of the Jordan River. The early settlers who came from Palestine were overwhelmingly from Nablus, of which many had lived in Al-Salt before, and they were joined by a some from Damascus. Amman later also attracted people from the southern part of the country (especially Kerak and Madaba) and also from Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa in Palestine. The city's population was 10,000 in the 1930s.[28]

After Jordanian independence[edit]

Jamal Abdul Nasser Circle in 2013
Amman's skyline in 2013

Jordan gained its independence in 1946 with its designated capital Amman. Amman received many refugees during wartime events in nearby countries, beginning in 1948 with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A second wave arrived after the Six-Day War in 1967. A third wave of Palestinian and Jordanian refugees arrived in Amman from Kuwait after the Gulf War of 1991. The first wave of Iraqi refugees settled in the city after the first Gulf War, with a second wave also arriving after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. And most recently a wave of Syrian refugees during the Syrian Civil War. All of these had immigrated to Amman to enjoy its security and prosperity.

In 1970, Amman was the site of major clashes between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian army which ended with Jordanian army victory in 1971 when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was expelled into Lebanon. On 9 November 2005, coordinated explosions rocked three hotel lobbies in Amman, resulting in the death of 60 people and the injury of 115 others. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the act, which was carried out by the now deceased Al-Qaeda militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The sheer brutality of the attacks, which targeted, among other things, a wedding party being held at one of the hotels, caused widespread revulsion across the widest range of Jordanians. Large protests and vigils followed in the wake of the attacks. Afterwards Jordan's security and intelligence devices has improved dramatically, there is a security checkpoint at every hotel. Along with mutual agreements for counter terrorism efforts with Saudi Arabia, West Bank, United States and Egypt. There hasn't been any major terrorist attack in Jordan since then.[29]

During the last 10 years the city has encountered an economical, cultural and urban boom. The number of new buildings within the city has increased dramatically with new districts of the city being founded at a very rapid pace, straining the very scarce water supplies of Jordan as a whole, and exposing Amman to the hazards of rapid expansion in the absence of careful municipal planning.

Today Amman is known as a modern liberal westernized Arab city with major mega projects; Abdali Urban Regeneration Project and Jordan Gate Towers.It has many top end hotel franchises; Four Seasons Hotel Amman, Sheraton Hotel Amman, Fairmont Amman, St. Regis Hotel Amman, Le Royal Hotel and many others. The city is equipped with modern infrastructure of bridges like Abdoun Bridge and tunnels.


Spring in an affluent neighbourhood in the capital.
An Orthodox church seen with snow in Amman.

Amman is situated in a hilly area of north-western Jordan. The city was originally built on seven hills, but it now spans over an area of nineteen hills (each known as a Jabal, Tal, Mount or Mountain). The main areas of Amman gain their names from the hills and mountains on whose slopes they lie. The city's elevation changes from mountain to mountain. They range from 700 to 1,100 m (2,300–3,600 feet). The mountainous terrain of Amman enforces difficulty when connecting main roads together, causing the need for expensive infrastructure like tunnels and bridges. Amman faces Al-Salt city, Al-Zarqa city northwest and northeast respectively also Madaba to the west and Al-Karak, Ma'an to the southwest and southeast respectively. One of the only remaining springs in Amman now supplies Zarqa River with water.


Amman's position on the mountains near the Mediterranean climate zone places it under the semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk). The city has hot and usually dry summers, whereas the winters are relatively wet and range from mild to cool.[30] Spring is brief and quite warm, where highs clock around 28 °C (82 °F). It usually lasts a little less than a month, from April to May, leading up to a hot stiff summer where temperatures range between 30 °C (86 °F) and 40 °C (104 °F). Summer lows are around 20 °C (68 °F).

Amman has hot summers starting from mid June to early October. Summer's high temperatures averages from 30 °C (86 °F) to 38 °C (100 °F) depending on the elevation, usually with low to moderate humidity. Summers are completely dry with cloudless skies during the noon period.

Winter usually starts in late November or early December and continues from early to mid March. Temperatures are usually near or below 17 °C (63 °F), with snow occasionally falling every other year.

Rain averages about 300mm a year and periodic droughts are common, where most rain fall between October and April. Summer months (May–September) are usually dry.

Winters are usually foggy with at least 120 days of heavy fog per year.[31] Due to the difference in elevation, snow may accumulate in the northern and western parts of Amman (an average altitude of 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level) while at the same time it could be raining at the city center (elevation of 776 m (2,546 ft)). (900 to 1,100 metres (3,000 to 3,600 ft)).

It should be noted that Amman has extreme examples of microclimate, and almost every district exhibits its own weather.[32] It is known among locals that some boroughs such as the northern suburb of Abu Nsér are among the coldest in the city, and can be experiencing frost while other warmer districts such as Marka can be providing much warmer temperatures to its inhabitants at the same time.

Amman's weather is comparable to the that of Damascus.

Note: The temperatures listed below are taken from the weather station at the centre of the city which is at an elevation of 767 m (2,516 ft) above sea level. At higher elevations, the temperatures will be lower during winter and higher during summer. For example, in areas such as Al-Jubaiha, Sweileh, Khalda, Abu Nser which are at/higher than 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level have average temperatures of 7 to 9 °C (45 to 48 °F) in the day and 1 to 3 °C (34 to 37 °F) at night in January. In August, the average high temperatures in these areas are 25 to 28 °C (77 to 82 °F) in the day and 14 to 16 °C (57 to 61 °F) at night.

Climate data for Amman
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23.6
Average high °C (°F) 12.3
Average low °C (°F) 3.6
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 63.4
Average precipitation days 11.0 10.9 8.0 4.0 1.6 0.1 0 0 0.1 2.3 5.3 8.4 51.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 179.8 182.0 226.3 266.6 328.6 369.0 387.5 365.8 312.0 275.9 225.0 179.8 3,298.3
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization[33]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory(sun, 1961–1990)[34]
A panoramic view of Amman's skyline in 2003, showing several landmarks including the Al-Iskan Bank Building, Raghadan Flagpole, Le Royal Hotel, Zara Towers and the King Abdullah I Mosque.


The city is administered as the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and covers 27 districts which include:[35]

1 Abdali 4 Qweismeh, Al Juwayyidah, Abu Alanda and Raqim 7 Al Muwaqqar 10 Bader Al Jadida 13 Al Jubayha 16 Marka 19 Ohod 22 Shafa Badran 25 Tlaa’ Al Ali
2 Abu Nser 5 Yarmuk 8 Al Muqabalayn 11 Basman 14 Khraybet Al Souq 17 Medina 20 Ras Al Eyn 23 Sweileh 26 Wadi Al Sir
3 Umm-Uthaina 6 Jizah 9 Bader 12 Husban 15 Marj Al Hamam 18 Naur 21 Sahab 24 Tariq 27 Zahran


Amman has an estimated population of 4,000,000 [5] and a land area of 648.7 square miles (1,680 km2), yielding a population density of about 3000 people per square kilometer.[4] According to Jordan Department of Statistics the percentage of unemployment is 12.9% and literacy percentage of 92.6%.[36]


Amman has a deeply rooted christian community making about 6% of population while the other 94% are Sunni Muslim. Christians are well integrated in the Jordanian society and have a high level of freedom, though they are not free to evangelize Muslims.[37] They form a significant part of the kingdom's political and economic elite. Christians enjoy high economic and social opportunities in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan compared to the position of some, but not all, of their co-religionists in the rest of the Middle East. Christians are allotted 9 out of a total of 110 seats in the Jordanian parliament,[38] and also hold important ministerial portfolios, ambassadorial appointments, and positions of high military rank. Jordanian Christians are allowed by the public and private sectors to leave their work to attend mass on Sundays. All Christian religious ceremonies are publicly celebrated in Jordan. Christians have established good relations with the royal family and the various Jordanian government officials, and they have their own ecclesiastical courts for matters of personal status.

During the 2004 Amman Message conference, edicts from various clergy-members afforded the following schools of thought as garnering collective recognition; Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i, Ja'fari, Zahiri, Zaydi, Ibadi, tassawuf-related Sufism, and genuine Salafi/Muwahhidism.


With the exception of a functioning railway system, Amman has a railway station as part of the Hejaz Railway. Amman has a developed public and private transportation system. There are two international airports in Amman.


New Queen Alia International Airport

The main airport serving Amman is Queen Alia International Airport situated about 30 km (18.64 mi) south of Amman and is much larger than Amman Civil Airport which is a one-terminal airport that serves primarily domestic and nearby international routes and the army. Queen Alia International Airport is the major international airport in Jordan and the hub for Royal Jordanian, the flag carrier. Its expansion was recently done and modified, including the decommissioning of the old terminals and the commissioning of new terminals costing $700M, to handle over 16 million passengers annually.[39] It is now considered a state-of-the-art airport and was rewarded 'the best airport by region: Middle East' and 'the best improvement by region:Middle East' by 2014 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Survey, the world’s leading airport passenger satisfaction benchmark program.[40]


Abdoun Bridge considered one of Amman's landmarks

Amman has an extensive road system, however due to the mountainous terrain it is impossible to connect some main roads together which results in the use of expensive infrastructure like the use of bridges and tunnels. The Abdoun Bridge spans Wadi Abdoun and connects the 4th Circle to Abdoun Circle. It is considered one of Amman's many landmarks. It is the first curved suspended bridge to be built in the country. There are eight famous circles, or roundabouts, that span and connect west Amman. However, the city lacks an operable railway or metro system which causes severe congestion, especially in old Amman. To add to the congestion, all the Kingdom's highways pass through Amman, further increasing traffic in the capital.

Bus Rapid Transit[edit]

Amman BRT under construction

Currently under construction are dedicated lanes for bus services which will operate as part of the new urban rapid transit network (bus rapid transit). The system includes high-quality stations and stops; express buses that can carry more than 120 passengers and will run on a three-minute frequency during peak hours along Amman’s busiest corridors; terminals and park-n-ride facilities, and an integrated fare collection system allowing passengers to pay the fare at stations before embarking on the bus.[41] The BRT is planned to run along three major corridors. The first corridor connects Sweileh with Mahatta via Sport City with major service to the University of Jordan. The second corridor connects Sport City with downtown at Ras El-Ain. The third corridor connects Customs Square with Mahatta.[42]

There are also plans to construct a three-line metro system in Amman. The first phase consists of two lines, the red and green lines, connecting east, central and west Amman with an interchange station (linking the two lines) at Amman Plaza with connections to the northern and southern suburbs. The second phase consists of the yellow line, connecting north and south Amman with an interchange to the red and green lines at the Abdali and City Hall stations.

Bus and Taxi[edit]

The city has frequent bus connections to other cities in Jordan, as well as to major cities in neighboring countries; the latter are also served by service taxis. Internal transport is served by a number of bus routes and taxis. Service taxis, which most often operate on fixed routes, are readily available and inexpensive. The two main bus and taxi stations are Abdali (near the King Abdullah Mosque, the Parliament and Palace of Justice) and the newly built Raghadan Central Bus Station near the Roman Amphitheatre in the city centre. Popular Jordanian bus company services include; JETT and Al-Mahatta. Taxis are the most common way to get around in Amman due its high availability and inexpensiveness.


Amman skyline
Rendered picture of the Al Abdali New Downtown which is currently under construction
Souk JARA is one of the most famous outdoor markets managed by the Jabal Amman Residents Association (JARA)

Amman is positioning itself as a hub for business, and new projects are continually transforming the city's skyline. Following the 2003 Iraq War, a significant portion of business dealings with Iraq flow through Amman in some way. Its airport, Queen Alia International Airport, is the hub of the national carrier, Royal Jordanian, which is a major airline in the region.[43] The airline is headquartered in central Amman.[44]

Amman, and Jordan as a whole for that matter, is the Middle East's hub for medical tourism as the kingdom receives the most medical tourists in the region and the 5th highest in the world. Amman receives 250,000 foreign patients a year and receives over $1 billion annually.[45]

Rubicon Group Holding and Maktoob, two major regional information technology companies, are based in Amman.

Foreign Investment and Business: In a report by Dunia Frontier Consultants, Amman along with Doha and Dubai are the favored hubs for multinational corporations operating in the Middle East and North Africa region.[9] In FDI magazine, Amman was chosen as the Middle Eastern city with the most potential to be a leader in foreign direct investment in the region, beating Dubai.[46] One of the Middle East's largest banks, Arab Bank, is headquartered in Amman. Also based in Amman is Aramex, the Middle East's largest logistics and transportation company.[46][47] It is also one of the world's largest logistics and transportation companies in the world alongside DHL, FedEx, and UPS. Furthermore, several of the world's largest investment banks have offices in Amman including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, and Citibank.[48]

Tourism: Amman is the 8th most visited city by tourists and business travelers in the Middle East and Africa as well as the 9th highest recipient of international visitor spending. 1.8 million tourists visited the Jordanian capital in 2011 and spent over $1.3 billion in the city.[49] If the entire kingdom is taken into account, there were 8 million tourists in 2010 and $4.4 billion in visitor expenditure, including medical tourists.[50]

The Greater Amman Municipality's heavy investment in its infrastructure, such as the expansion of Queen Alia International Airport, the construction of a state of the art public transportation system, a national railway, and expansion of road works, will ease the arrival of millions of new visitors and tonnes of cargo through this soon to be regional hub.

New developments[edit]

New projects and proposals in and around the city include:

  • The Abdali Downtown project: this new development in the heart of Amman is among the largest projects under construction in the kingdom, and is a mixed-use development consisting of retail, outdoor shopping and restaurants, residential and office buildings. The master plan includes a large public green park, along with an outdoor pedestrian strip. The $5 billion project will contain some of Jordan's tallest buildings and most prominent real estate. Jordan's largest skyscraper Capital Tower, Rotana Hotel-Amman, W Hotel-Amman, Business Heights, and the Abdali Central Market Place, Jordan's soon to be largest mall and shopping center, are located in this mammoth redevelopment.[51] The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011 or early 2012. The entire project should be completed by 2015.
  • The construction of the Jordan Gate Towers near the 6th Circle, which has been left uncompleted is being funded by Bahraini and Kuwaiti entrepreneurs. The two identical skyscrapers will house office buildings and a five star hotel.
  • The St. Regis Amman in the Abdoun District is worth $300 million and is planned to open in the first quarter of 2014.[52][53] The project includes a hotel with 270 rooms, 80 luxury apartments and 25 shops.[53]
  • Al Andalucia, being constructed near Amman. This project will include over 600 villas, and consists of many facilities such as spas, fitness and health centres, swimming pools, and a recreation area.

East Amman is the historic city centre. Eastern Amman is more traditional and older than the newer West. Small shops and single-family houses are dominant in East Amman's landscape. East Amman is the hub for the capital's historic sites and cultural activities.

West Amman is the current economic city centre, and is the modern, stylish extension of Amman. Malls, shopping centres, expensive hotels, bars and international restaurants are part of West Amman's development.


In 2010, there were as many as 14 universities in Amman. University of Jordan is the largest university in Amman,[54] Applied Science University was ranked as the largest private university.

See Also: List of universities in Jordan


During its long history, Amman has been inhabited by several civilizations. The first culture on record is during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, around 7250 BC, when archaeological discoveries in 'Ain Ghazal, located in eastern Amman, showed evidence of not only a settled life but also the growth of artistic work, which suggests that a well-developed culture inhabited the area at that time.[55] A megalithic menhir has also been found in Amman at Wadi Saqra.[56]

The archaeological site at the Amman Citadel, also called Jabal al-Qal'a in Arabic, shows evidence of continuous occupation from the Middle Bronze Age to occupation by the Mamluks[disambiguation needed]. It is a major tourist attraction in Amman.[57]


A historic building in Jabel Lweibdeh
A Moabite sarcophagus in Jordan Archaeological Museum


The New York Times praised the cuisine of Amman. "You’ll find the bright vegetables from Lebanon, crunchy falafels from Syria, juicy kebabs from Egypt and, most recently, spicy meat dishes from Jordan’s neighbor, Iraq. It’s known as the food of the Levant — an ancient word for the area bounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian peninsula. But the food here isn’t just the sum of its calories. In this politically, religiously and ethnically fraught corner of the world, it is a symbol of bloodlines and identity."[58]

More recently, there has been growing interest in Organic and 'Natural' food (i.e. hormones and chemical free food). This is due to the growing global and local concerns regarding the use of hormones, chemicals, and GMO seeds in industrial agriculture. One way of accessing Organic and Natural Food is through membership schemes offered by Jabbok Farms.[59] Other ways include seasonal farmers markets and retail sales through high-end supermarkets and health stores.


Amman-based football (soccer)clubs Al-Wehdat and Al-Faisaly have won the national football league championship several times.

The 2007 Asian Championships in Athletics and 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships were held in the city.

Amman hosts the Jordan Rally, which form part of the FIA World Rally Championship, becoming the biggest sporting event ever held in Jordan. Amman also hosts the Sama Tournament which is a part of the Trillium Championship.

Amman is home to a growing skateboarding community. In 2014, German non-profit organization Make Life Skate Life completed construction of the 7Hills Skatepark, a 650 sq. meter concrete skatepark located at Samir Rifai park in downtown Amman.[60]


There are many radio stations in Jordan, mostly based in Amman. The majority of English speaking stations are targeted to suit the younger listeners playing hit music. There are many Arabic speaking stations that cover the Religious, Factual, Arabic music and other general local topics:

Most Jordanian newspapers and news stations are situated in Amman. Most Jordanian daily newspapers are published in Amman such as Alghad,[61] Ad-Dustour,[62] and the The Jordan Times.[61] In 2010, Alghad newspaper was ranked as 10th most popular newspaper in the Arab World by Forbes Middle-East magazine.[63] Al-Arab Al-Yawm is the only daily pan-Arab newspaper in Jordan.

Main sights[edit]

Umayyad Palace on the summit of Citadel Hill

Much of Amman's tourism is focused in the older downtown area, which is centred around the old souk (a colourful traditional market) and the King Hussein Mosque. The main touristic sites in the city are:

King Hussein Mosque
  • The city centre area (known locally as al-Balad) has been completely dwarfed by the sprawling urban area that surrounds it. Despite the changes, much remains of its old character. Jabal Amman is a known touristic attraction in old Amman, the capital's greatest souks, fine museums, ancient constructions, monuments, and cultural sites are found in Jabal Amman.
  • The Citadel hill of Amman, known as Jabal al-Qal'a, is home to the Temple of Hercules which is said to have been constructed under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who reigned from 161 to 180 AD, is similar to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. It has been inhabited for centuries, important as a military and religious site. It dates back to Roman and Byzantine times, and later work was carried out in the early Islamic era. Remains unearthed at the northern and eastern ends of the Citadel, possibly date back to the Bronze Age.
  • The Roman forum and the Roman theatre — the largest theatre in Jordan — with room for 6,000 spectators. Thought to have been built between 138 and 161 AD by the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, it is constructed into the side of the mountain and is still used for sports displays and cultural events.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum is home to ancient findings from the whole country.

The newest of mosques is the enormous King Abdullah I Mosque, built between 1982 and 1989. It is capped by a magnificent blue mosaic dome beneath which 3,000 Muslims may offer prayer. The most unusual mosque in Amman is the Abu Darweesh Mosque atop Jabal Ashrafieh (the highest point in the city). It is covered with black and white checkered pattern and is unique to Jordan. It is visible from quite some distance. In contrast, the interior is totally free of the black and white scheme. Instead, there are light coloured walls and Persian carpets. This religious building was erected by one of Amman's Circassian minority.

Wakalat Street

Tourism and lifestyle[edit]

Amman is considered one of the most westernized and liberal cities in the Arab World. Amman has become one of the most popular destinations for Western expats and college students who seek to live, study, or work in the Middle East or the Arab World in general.[64][65] The city's culinary scene has expanded from its shwarma stands and falafel joints to embrace many popular American restaurants and fast-food outlets like McDonald's and T.G.I. Friday's,[66] Asian fusion restaurants, French bistros such as La Maison Verte and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expats and Persian Gulf tourists. Alcohol is widely available in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and even supermarkets.[67]

There are numerous nightclubs and bars across the city especially in West Amman. As of 2011, there were 77 registered nightclubs in Jordan (excluding bars and pubs), overwhelmingly located in the capital city.[68] Abdoun Circle (not one of the eight) is a major center of the city’s night life where the chicest clubs maintain a strict “couples only” policy, meaning no unescorted men. Sweifieh is considered to be the unofficial red-light district of Amman as it holds most of the city's nightclubs, bars, strip-clubs, massage parlors, and other adult entertainment venues. Jabal Amman and Jabal al-Weibdeh are home to many pubs and bars as well making the area popular among bar hoppers.[67]

One of Amman's new up-scale suburbs
Tela' al Ali, Amman

Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges have sprouted across Amman, changing the city's old image as the conservative capital of the kingdom. Jordan's young population is helping shape this new burgeoning nightlife scene.[69]

As well as the wide range of drinking and dancing venues on the social circuit of the city's affluent crowd, Amman has much cultural entertainment to indulge in like the annual Amman Summer Festival and Souk Jara.[70]

Valued at more than US $5 Billion, the Abdali project is planned to create a new visible center for Amman and act as the major business district. The project includes Jordan's new high street and mall, luxury hotels and apartments as well as start-of-the-art offices. The entire project is expected to be finished by 2015.[71]

City Mall, one of Amman's mega malls

Large malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including the Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, Amman Mall, City Mall, Plaza Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Istikal Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Shopping Center, Avenue Mall, and Mukhtar Mall. Further, Abdali Mall in Al Abdali is under construction. The Wakalat Street ("Agencies Street") is Amman's first pedestrian-only street and carries a lot of label name clothes. The Sweifieh area in general is considered to be the main shopping district of Amman.

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Amman is twinned with:[72]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]