The Roman Theatre

The most imposing monument from Roman Philadelphia is the theatre,originally set beside a small river and the main road through the city,known as the Decumanus Maximus.Built to the hillside of Jebel Gofeh,it accommodated an audience 6000.

Amman changed hands from time to time between the Syrian Saleucids and the Egyptian Potlemies,and was rebuilt by Potlemy II Philadelphus(283-246BC)who renamed it Philadelphia after himself.The Nabataeans held it briefly,but Herod the Great drove them out around 30BC.It was under the Romans when Philadelphia really started to prosper,as one of the ten cities of the Decapolis,and was extensively rebuilt.It continued to flourish throughout the Byzantine period;also after the Arab conquest,for the ruins of a handsome eight century palace stand on top of the ancient citadel.

Decline set in after the Abbasids transferred their capital from Damascus to Baghdad,and by the fifteenth century the city was abandoned and in ruins.So it remained until 1878 when the Ottomans established a settlement of Circassians here.But it remained small,even after the Hejaz railway was completed in 1905,improving its commercial position.

It was only after Emir Abdullah made Amman his capital in 1921 that it once again grew in size and prosperity, expanding from one steep hill to another in a creeping development of harmonious pale gold stone and white-painted concrete.It is today the seat of government,as well as the commercial,legal and administrative centre of Jordan.
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