Amman is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and there are many Biblical references to the city, which was then known as Rabbath-Ammon. Later renamed Philadelphia (after the Ptolemaic ruler Philadelphus), the city also became part of the Decapolis League, an alliance of ten Roman-ruled cities including Jerash, Gadara (present-day Umm Qays), Pella, Arbila (Irbid) and others. During the Byzantine period, Philadelphia was the seat of a Christian bishop, and a number of impressive churches were built here.
The Citadel, which towers above the city from Jabal Al-Qala’a, is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon, and excavations here have uncovered Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic remains. The most impressive of which, known simply as Al-Qasr (“the Palace”), dates back to the Islamic Umayyad period. Nearby are the ruins of Umayyad palace grounds. Close by are the remains of a small Byzantine basilica while roughly 100m south of the church is what is thought to have been a temple of Hercules – also known as the Great Temple of Amman – which was built during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque, also known as Al-Husseini Mosque, is an Ottoman-style mosque rebuilt in 1924 on the site of an ancient mosque.
Amman’s famous gold souq is just a short distance away. The Mosque was inaugurated in 2006 and became the country’s national mosque. It is also the largest mosque in the country and was built to reflect the Umayyad architecture prevalent in many historic sites around Jordan.