Amman (English pronunciation: //; Arabic: عمّان ʿAmmān ) is the capital and most populous city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The recent economic growth experienced in Amman is unmatched by any other Arab city except those located in the Persian Gulf area.
In the 13th century BC Amman was called Rabbath Ammon or Rabat Amon by the Ammonites. In the Hebrew Bible, it is referred to as Rabbat ʿAmmon (Tiberian Hebrew Rabbaṯ ʿAmmôn). It was later conquered by the Assyrians, followed by the Persians, and then the Greek Macedonians. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Macedonian ruler of Egypt, renamed it Philadelphia (Ancient Greek Φιλαδέλφεια). The city became part of the Nabataean kingdom until 106 AD when Philadelphia came under Roman control and joined the Decapolis.
It was then destroyed by several earthquakes and natural disasters and remained a small village and a pile of ruins until the Circassian settlement in 1878. 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.
In 1921, Abdullah I chose Amman instead of As-Salt as seat of government for his newly created state, the Emirate of Transjordan, and later as the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. As there was no palatial building, he started his reign from the station, with his office in a train car. Amman remained a small city until 1948, when the population expanded considerably due to an influx of Palestinian refugees from what is now Israel.
In 1970, Amman was the site of major clashes between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian army. Everything around the Royal Palace
sustained heavy damage from shelling. The city's population continues to expand at a rapid pace (fueled by refugees escaping the wartime events in the West Bank and Iraq). The city received refugees from these countries on a number of occasions. The first wave of Palestinian refugees arrived from Palestine in 1948.
A second wave arrived after the Six-Day War in 1967. A third wave of Palestinian and Jordanian and Southeast Asians, working as domestic workers, 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. During the last 10 years the number of new buildings within the city has increased dramatically with new districts of the city being founded at a very rapid pace (particularly so in West Amman), 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.