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Amman only became Jordan’s capital in 1921, and its expansion to a sprawling city of two million people has been rapid. Consequently, it has a very modern character and a skyline of buildings largely dated to the 1960’s, but with increasing numbers of ultra-modern skyscrapers. However, all this modernity disguises a long and interesting history that can be traced through tantalising remains across the city. Originally built across seven hills that still dominate the heart of the city, Amman passed through both Greek and Roman control, becoming part of the Decapolis trading federation that dominated the region around the first century AD. It survived the transition to Christianity and then the Islamic conquests, but was almost completely abandoned thereafter thanks to earthquakes and the vagaries of local geopolitics. Today it provides an excellent base for exploring the north of the country, and it’s likely that your time in Jordan will involve a few days staying in Amman.

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