Amman is located in a hilly area of north-western Jordan, The city was originally built on seven hills, but it now spans an area of over nineteen hills (each known as a jabal or "mountain"). Many of Amman's districts derive their names from the name of the mountain they are built on.
Throughout history, Amman has been inhabited by several civilizations. The first civilization on record is during the Neolithic period, around 8500 BC. In the 13th century BC Amman was called Rabat Amon by the Ammonites. It was later conquered by the Assyrians, followed by the Persians, and then the Greeks. Ptolemy II Philadelphia, the Hellenic ruler of Egypt, renamed it Philadelphia. The city became part of the Nabataean kingdom until 106 AD when Philadelphia came under Roman control and joined the Decapolis.
In 326 AD, Christianity became the religion of the empire and Philadelphia became the seat of a bishopric during the beginning of the Byzantine era. One of the churches of this period can be seen on the city's Citadel.
Philadelphia was renamed Amman during the Ghassanian era, It was then destroyed by several earthquakes and natural disasters and remained a small village and a pile of ruins until the Circassians settlement in 1887.
The tide changed when the Ottoman Sultan decided to build the Hejaz railway, linking Damascus and Medina, , putting Amman, a major station, back on the commercial map.
In 1921, king Abdullah I chose Amman as seat of government for his newly-created state, and later as the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Amman enjoys a Mediterranean climate and four seasons of excellent weather as compared to other places in the region. Summer temperatures range from 28 °C (82 °F) - 35 °C (95 °F), but with very low humidity and frequent breezes. Spring and fall temperatures are extremely pleasant and mild.
The city's largest airport, Queen Alia International Airport, situated about 30 minutes south of Amman, is the major international airport for Jordan and the hub for Royal Jordanian, the flag carrier.
By land, 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.
Amman is one of the most liberal cities in the Middle East. Its culture and arts scene is thriving.. The Jordanian media is also one of the most unrestricted in the region. Jordan has no laws forcing women or men to dress in a particular way. Women are not required to wear the veil. However, Appropriate attire is expected around places of worship of both the Islamic and Christian faiths. Amman is home to many diverse religious sects making up the two primary religions of Jordan, Islam and Christianity. Numerous mosques and churches dot the capital. The most famous mosque of Amman is the King Abduallah I Mosque which can house almost 3,000 people. Most of the people in Jordan are Muslims, 90% and 10% Christians.
Numerous cultural centers can be found throughout Amman, most notably the Al Hussein Cultural Center which contains over 30,000 books and plans to double that number, 30 computer sets, an electronic library and specialized libraries. Numerous IT and library centers can be found throughout the city.
There are numerous museums in Amman including the Royal Automobile Museum, the Jordan Archaeological Museum, Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition, the Jordan Folklore Museum, Souk jara, and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.
The Automobile Museum houses and exhibits the Late King’s collection of automobiles. The design of the building comes across as a mass merging into the surrounding environment and blends with it through the artificial planted hills which rise beyond the building’s walls.
Much of Amman's tourism is focused in the older downtown area, which is centered around the old souk (a colorful traditional market) and the King Hussein Mosque. The downtown area (known locally as the Balad) has been completely dwarfed by the sprawling urban areas that surround it. Despite the changes, much remains of its old character. For those seeking the atmosphere of the Old City, it is best to venture to the district east of Jabal Amman. There, in the bustle of daily life, you can explore the capital's greatest souks, fine museums, ancient constructions, monuments, and cultural sites.
The Citadel hill of Amman, known as Jabal el Qala, 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.. The Citadel also is home to the Temple of Hercules which is said to have been constructed under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who reigned from 161-180 AD, is similar to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.
Amman is also home to some of the grandest mosques in the Middle East, The newest of these 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 an extraordinary black and white checkered pattern and is unique to Jordan. It is striking and visible from quite some distance. In contrast, the interior is totally free of the black and white scheme. Instead, there are light colored walls and Persian carpets. This religious building was erected by one of Amman's Circassian immigrants.
Amman is also home to many jewelers and souvenir shops for citizens and tourists alike. the oldest part of the city, will repaint and renovate broken down building and build kiosks and street maps all over to the city to make touring Amman much easier for tourists. Amman is also a major destination for foreign students seeking study in Arabic. Amman's world-class hospitals are frequent destinations for those who seek medical treatment.
Shopping is continually becoming more popular in Jordanian culture and is very notable in the past five years, with huge mega malls across Amman popping up such as Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, Amman Mall, City Mall, Plaza Mall, and Al Baraka Mall. Amman's retail sector is booming as the city is becoming a hub for Western travelers in the Levant.
Wakalat Street is Amman's first pedestrian-only street. It is one Amman's most vibrant and popular shopping districts.