Jordan, a kingdom in the northwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is bounded by Syria in the north, Saudi Arabia on the south, Iraq and Saudi Arabia on the east, and the Occupied West Bank and Israel in the west.
The Nabateans, An arab people, were among the first to settle in Jordan, with their base in Petra. The southern city was situated on one of the main trade routes between eastern and western Asia. Caravans carrying gums, spices, and silks brought by sea to the Gulf of Aqaba went through Petra on their way to the lands of the eastern mediterranean.
The Nabatean Kingdom lasted until 106 A.D., when it was conquered by the Romans. After the division of the Roman Empire in the late 4th century A.D., all of what is now Jordan came under the rule of the Byzantine, or eastern Roman, empire. In the 7th century A.D., the Byzantines were expelled by invading Muslim armies. In later centuries, the region was overran by tribes from central Asia, including Seljuk Turks, Mongols, and Tatars. In 1516, it was made part of the Ottoman Empire and incorporated into the Turkish province of Syria.
During the Ottoman rule, Jordan was the subject of discrimination. An inevitable uprising took place as the consequence of Turkification, oppression, economic malaise, administrative corruption and the inability of the Ottoman Empire to provide a modicum of security or stability for the Arab countries as a whole.
The late King Hussein's great-grandfather, Al-Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca and King of the Arabs (later he also became known as King of the Hijaz), led the liberation of Arab lands from their domination by the Ottoman Turks in the Great Arab Revolt of 1916.
Countries of the Arab East were united into one Arab state embracing Iraq, the Hijaz, Greater Syria, Jordan and Palestine. On this basis, Prince Faisal,I announced the establishment of the first government in Damascus on October 5, 1918. But on October 22, Britain issued a statement dividing Greater Syria into three regions. This was not only pursuant to the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, but also to enable Britain to fulfill its promise to the Zionist Movement to establish a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine. The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration called for the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine.
In march 1920, the division of the Arab territory was rejected and the Arab's people's representatives meeting in Damascus declared the unity and independence of Syria proclaiming Sharif Hussein's son Faisal,I as King. King Faisal I later also assumed the throne in Iraq.
But Britain and France agreed at the San Remo conference on April 25, 1920 to impose a French mandate on Syria and Lebanon, and a British mandate on Iraq, Palestine and Jordan.
Several battles took place following the mandates' imposition, the last of which was at Maysalun on July 27, 1920.
After freeing the lands of Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and the Hijaz, Sharif Hussein's son Abdullah assumed the throne of Transjordan. The Emirate of Transjordan was founded on April 11, 1921, and became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan upon formal independence from Britain on May 25, 1946.
The name Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is derived from Hashem, which was the name of the great- grandfather of the Prophet Mohammad. The Royal Family of Jordan is called Hashemite, which means descended from Hashem.
King Abdullah successfully defended Arab East Jerusalem and the "West Bank" during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War when the Israeli state was created on three quarters of Palestine. The Jordanian Arab Legion, fighting alongside other Arab armies succeeded in holding on to those Palestinian territories, which later became known as the West Bank of the Kingdom.
On July 20, 1951, King Abdullah, I was assassinated by a lone gunman while attending Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem with his grandson Hussein, who was saved from a bullet by a medal his grandfather had recently awarded him.
After King Abdullah's martyrdom, King Talal, his eldest son, ruled for a brief period. Due to king Talal's illness, his eldest son, Hussein, was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on August 11, 1952. He assumed his constitutional powers on May 2, 1953, after reaching the age of eighteen according to the Muslim calendar.
His Majesty King Hussein's reign continued until February 7, 1999,when he lost his long battle with cancer at the age of 63, marking the end of an era in Jordan's history. The late king Hussein will be remembered for many achievements, most of all as a "king of peace" due to his vigorous efforts in bringing about peace in the Middle East.
Shortly before his demise, King Hussein appointed his eldest son, Prince Abdullah as crown prince who was sworn in as regent and proclaimed king of Jordan.
Jordanians look with optimism and pride to a future under the reign of King Abdullah, current bearer of the Hashemite torch.
Located in the heart of the Middle East, strategically situated at the junction of Europe, Asia and Africa, Jordan has an amazingly historic, cultural and archaeological patrimony, and many natural wonders that are known worldwide.
Due to its diverse geological nature, visitors can climb the proud mountains of Ajloun, hike at the Rose City of Petra, ride Arabian horses in Wadi Rum, sunbathe in the lowest point on earth - the Dead Sea and dive in the crystalline Red Sea waters of Aqaba.
The major source of attraction lies in the hospitality of Jordan’s people. Visitors to Jordan are constantly greeted with a warm smile and a genuine welcome.
Jordan is located in the heart of the Middle East, Northwest of Saudi Arabia, South of Syria, Southwest of Iraq, and East of Israel and the Palestenian National Authority. Jordan has access to the Red Sea via the port city of Aqaba, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Geographic co-ordinates: 29 - 34 00 N, 35 - 39 E
total: 89,213 sq. km (34, 445 sq. miles)
land: 88,884 sq. km (34, 318 sq. miles)
water: 329 sq. km (127 sq. miles)
6,482,081 (July 2013 est.)
Amman (1.9 million / 38% of total population)
Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken.
Currency and Exchange Rates
Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar, or JD. It is subdivided into 1000 fils, or 100 qirsh or piastres. It appears in paper notes of 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, and 0.5 JD denominations. Coins come in denominations of 1 JD, 0.5 JD, 0.25 JD, and 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils. The daily exchange rate is published in local newspapers.
United States Dollar
(As from June 28, 2001)
You can change foreign cash or travelers’ checks at any bank in Jordan. Only traveler's checks will be charged a commission. Also, there are authorized money-changers in Amman, Aqaba and Irbid, and you will usually get a slightly better rate of exchange at money-changers than at banks. Hotels of three stars or above will also change money but at a less favorable rate. Foreigners are permitted to open accounts at Jordanian banks in either Jordanian Dinar or in foreign currencies. Currency exchange operates under the guidelines and regulations of the Central Bank of Jordan. The Central Bank also sets the minimum and maximum interest rates for financial institutions to follow.
Climate and Geography
Jordan can be divided into three physiographic regions, each with a distinct climate.
1. The highlands comprise mountainous and hilly regions that run through Jordan from north to south. The highlands are by no means uniform. Their altitude varies from 600 to 1600 meters (1969-5249 feet) above sea level. Generally wet and cool, also varies from one area to another. The average temperature in Amman ranges from 8.1 degrees Celsius (46.6 Fahrenheit) in January to 25.1 degrees (77.2 Fahrenheit) in July.
2. The Jordan Rift Valley which also runs along the entire length of Jordan. The Rift Valley plunges to over 400 meters below sea level at the Dead Sea, becoming the lowest spot on earth, and reaches a maximum width of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). The Rift Valley ends in the south at Aqaba, a tropical resort surrounded by mountains. Aqaba also enjoys a warm, sunny climate throughout the year and is a tourist destination sporting some of the world's most spectacular underwater life.
3. The desert region in the east Jordan is an extension of the Arabian Desert, and forms nearly two-thirds of the country. There is an extreme variation in the climate of the desert between day and night, and between summer and winter. Summer temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), while winter nights can be bitterly cold, dry and windy.
Government offices:8.00 am to 15.00 pm (Sunday to Thursday)
Ramadan :9.30 am to 14.00 pm (Sunday to Thursday)
Commercial Offices:8.00 am to 13.00 pm & 15.30 pm to 19.30 pm all year round.
Ramadan :9.00 am to 15.00 pm (Usually)
Banks :8.30 am to 15.00 pm (Sunday to Thursday)
January 1 - New Year
January 30 - King Abdullah's Birthday
Shawal 1st for 3 Days Eid Al Fitr
The AL Hijeh 1st for 4 Days Eid Al Adha
Muharram 1st Hijra New Year
May 1 - Labor Day
May 25 - Independence Day
12 Rabi' 1 Prophet's Birthday
November 14 - King Hussein Remembrance Day
November 16 - El Issra' Wall-Mi'raj
December 25 - Christmas
Time is GMT + 2 (in winter, +3 in summer), or 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. Summer time is observed from April through September.
Entry and Visa Requirements
Any non-Arab visitor to Jordan, whether for business or tourism, needs an entry visa. The required fee for a visa in addition to the granted stay duration depends on the visitor’s nationality.
Although entrance visas are obtainable for the airport for visitors arriving by airplane, those arriving by land must get a visa prior to arrival. These are obtainable from any Jordanian diplomatic mission abroad, where they generally take a day to be received. Visas cannot be obtained at Jordan's land border crossings.
Visas obtained in Jordanian consulates are valid for 3-4 months from the date,of issue, and can be issued for multiple entries. Tourist visas allow a stay of up to one month initially. However, this period can easily be extended for up to another two months. After that date you must exit and re-enter the country, or undergo immigration procedures. If your visa has not been renewed properly by the time you leave Jordan you will have to pay a fine at the border. If you plan to stay for more than two weeks in Jordan, you will need to register at the nearest police station.
Health Requirements and Recommendations
Inoculations are not required unless you are travelling from an infected location. If you come from a country where diseases such as cholera and yellow fever are prevalent, you will have to show a certificate of inoculation at your point of entry into Jordan. Although not required, it is preferable to have preventative shots against polio, tetanus and typhoid.
Jordan is one of the cleanest and safest countries, but it is,nonetheless advisable to take some precautions until your digestive system adjusts. Hotels rated four-star and up have their own filtering systems, and their tap water is safe to drink. In other places, bottled water is recommended. All fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly, and salads and cold meats,which have been sitting out for a long time should be avoided, especially during summer months. All Jordanian dairy products are pasteurised and safe.
Medical services are well developed throughout Jordan, with a medical centre or clinic in every town and village. There are hospitals in Amman, Aqaba, Ma'an, Karak, Madaba, Zarqa, Irbid and Ramtha. In the larger towns and cities,many of the doctors have been trained overseas and speak English. Antibiotics and other drugs normally sold on prescription in the West are often available over-the-counter in Jordan. You should carry prescriptions of any medicaments you may need, making sure you have the generic name as your specific brand may not be available. If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair and a copy of the prescription as well.
Taxis are cheap and often the most convenient from of transport in Jordan even over such substantial distances as the run between Amman and Aqaba, though on this particular route there is an excellent Pullman coach service.
A license valid in the holder's country of origin is usually acceptable if it has been held for at least one year.
Expanding very rapidly .The main ones include phosphates, iron, cigarettes and cement.
It involves half of the population. Three-quarters of the agricultural produce comes from the fertile Jordan Valley. Main items on the agricultural list include wheat, vegetables, citrus fruits, grapes and olives.
220 V 50 Hz AC
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch, His Majesty King Abdullah II, is the Head of State, the Chief Executive and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces.The king exercises his executive authority through the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet. The cabinet is responsible before the elected House of Deputies who,along with the house of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government. Since 1989, all elements of the Jordanian political spectrum have embarked together on a road to greater democracy, liberalization and consensus building. These reforms, which were guided by the late King Hussein, have placed Jordan on an irreversible road to democratization. The result has been greater empowerment and involvement of everyday citizens in Jordan's civic life, contributing to increased stability and institutionalization,which will benefit the country far into the future.
Since His Majesty King Abdullah II,assumed the throne in 1999, Jordan has embarked on some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. The Jordanian government has worked closely with the IMF, practiced careful monetary policy, and made significant progress with privatization. The government also has liberalized the trade regime sufficiently in order to guarantee Jordan's membership in the Word Trade Organization (2000), an association agreement with the European Union (2000), and a Free Trade Agreement with the United States (2000). Jordan has also signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United States.
Travelers can reach Jordan by air, sea or land. Jordan has three airports, a good network of international and national roads, and a port in Aqaba. Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport and Marka Airport, and Aqaba Airport are used for scheduled commercial travel. Queen Alia International Airport is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Amman. Completed in 1983, it can handle up to three million passengers per year. The national carrier, Royal Jordanian, links Amman with major cities in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, North Africa and North America. International airlines also link Jordan with their respective countries.
Driving to Jordan is facilitated by a good network of roads linking Jordan and neighboring countries. Daily buses, taxis and "service" cabs link Jordan with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Service cabs – pronounced "servees" – are taxis that follow a set of route and stop on demand to pick up and drop off passengers. Bus services also link Amman with Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad, Istanbul, and the crossing points into Israel and the territories under the Palestine National Authority (PNA). A passenger train service operates weekly between Jordan and Syria. A twice daily passenger and car ferry service links Jordan’s port of Aqaba with the Red Sea port of Nuweibe’ in Egypt.
Jordan is a small country that can be crossed by car in approximately four hours. A visitor with an international driver‘s license may rent a car in Jordan. Residents, are required to obtain a Jordanian license. Major international car rental companies and a number of local companies operate in Jordan. Car rental prices are controlled by the government. Taxis are available in the major cities, and can be called by telephone or simply waved down in the street. All taxis operate by meter, and can be hired for the day.
An economical method of travel is the service taxi. Fares are set by the government, and tend to be higher than bus fares but lower than taxi fares. Service cabs operate within cities and also connect major cities and towns.
Government and private buses operate within and between major cities. Private bus companies run luxury air-conditioned buses that offer day trips to the major tourist sites. Limousine service is also available for short distance as well as day trips.
The national air carrier, Royal Jordanian, operates reasonably priced flights between Amman and Aqaba six times a week.
purchasing power parity - $22.8 billion (2002 est.)
Real GDP growth
3.5% (2002 est.)
Phosphates, potash, fertilizers, chemicals & pharmaceuticals.
Crude oil, wheat, sugar, meat, machinery, transport equipment & spare parts.
Source: Ministry Of Tourism/Ministry Of Foreign Affairs/Jordan Embassy
|Location:||Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia|
|Geographic coordinates:||31 00 N, 36 00 E|
|Map references:||Middle East|
|Area:||total: 89,342 sq km
land: 88,802 sq km
water: 540 sq km
|Area - comparative:||Slightly smaller than Indiana|
|Land boundaries:||Total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km
|Maritime claims:||Territorial sea: 3 nm|
|Climate:||Mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)|
|Terrain:||Mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River|
|Elevation extremes:||Lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Umm ad Dami 1,854 m
|Natural resources:||Phosphates, potash, shale oil|
|Land use:||Arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)
|Irrigated land:||820 sq km (2003)|
|Natural hazards:||Droughts; periodic earthquakes|
|Environment - current issues:||Limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification|
|Environment - international agreements:||Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
|Geography - note:||Strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank|
|Population:||6,482,081 (July 2013 est.)|
|Age structure:||0-14 years: 34.9% (male 1,168,406/female 1,102,892)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 673,794/female 636,925)
25-54 years: 35.8% (male 1,177,521/female 1,155,117)
55-64 years: 4.2% (male 131,416/female 140,680)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 156,735/female 165,401) (2012 est.)
|Median age:||total: 22.4 years
male: 22 years
female: 22.7 years (2012 est.)
|Population growth rate:||-0.965% (2012 est.)|
|Birth rate:||26.52 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)|
|Death rate:||2.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)|
|Net migration rate:||-33.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)|
|Sex ratio:||at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
|Infant mortality rate:||total: 15.83 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)
|Life expectancy at birth:||total population: 80.18 years
male: 78.82 years
female: 81.61 years (2012 est.)
|Total fertility rate:||3.32 children born/woman (2013 est.)|
|HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:||Less than 0.1% (2001 est.)|
|HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:||600 (2003 est.)|
|HIV/AIDS - deaths:||less than 500 (2003 est.)|
|Ethnic groups:||Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%|
|Religions:||Sunni Muslim 92% (official), Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)|
|Languages:||Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes|
|Literacy:||definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
female: 89.2% (2010 est.)
|Country name:||conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
conventional short form: Jordan
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah
local short form: Al Urdun
|Government type:||Constitutional monarchy|
geographic coordinates: 31 57 N, 35 56 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Thursday in March; ends last Friday in September
|Administrative divisions:||12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba|
|Independence:||25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)|
|National holiday:||Independence Day, 25 May (1946)|
|Constitution:||1 January 1952; amended 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1984|
|Legal system:||Based on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction|
|Suffrage:||18 years of age; universal|
|Executive branch:||chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Crown Prince HUSSEIN (born 28 June 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II
head of government: Prime Minister Abdullah NSOUR (since 11 October 2012); Deputy Prime Minister Awad KHULAYFAT (since 11 October 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch; note - following the legislative election held on 23 January 2013, the members of the Cabinet are serving in an acting capacity until a new government is formed
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
|Legislative branch:||bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (60 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (150 seats; 123 members elected using the single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts, and 27 seats elected using a closed national list system based on proportional representation; all legislators serve four-year terms); note - the new electoral law enacted in July 2012 allocated an additional 10 seats (6 seats added to the number reserved for women, bringing the total to 15; 2 additional seats for Amman; and 1 seat each for the cities of Zarqa and Irbid; unchanged are 9 seats reserved for Christian candidates, 9 for Bedouin candidates, and 3 for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 23 January 2013 (next election NA); note - the King dissolved the previous Chamber of Deputies in November 2012, midway through the parliamentary term
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - 27 elected on closed national list to include: Islamic Centrist Party 3, Nation 2, National Union 2, Stronger Jordan 2, Ahl al-Himma 1, Al-Bayyan 1, Citizenship 1, Construction 1, Cooperation 1, Dawn 1, Dignity 1, Free Voice 1, Labor and Trade 1, National Accord Youth Block 1, National Action 1, National Current 1 (member resigned in February 2013), National Unity 1, Nobel Jerusalem 1, Salvation 1, The People 1, Unified Front 1, Voice of Nation 1; other 123; note - the IAF boycotted the election
|Judicial branch:||Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)|
|International organization participation:||ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CD, CICA, EBRD, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO|
|Flag description:||Three equal horizontal bands of black (top), representing the Abbassid Caliphate, white, representing the Ummayyad Caliphate, and green, representing the Fatimid Caliphate; a red isosceles triangle on the hoist side, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, and bearing a small white seven-pointed star symbolizing the seven verses of the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha) of the Holy Koran; the seven points on the star represent faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations; design is based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I|