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
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 Palestinian 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)
Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 war and barely managed to defeat Palestinian rebels who threatened to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. King HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank. In 1989, he reinstituted parliamentary elections and initiated a gradual political liberalization; political parties were legalized in 1992. In 1994, he signed a peace treaty with Israel.
King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. In 2003, Jordan staunchly supported the Coalition ouster of Saddam in Iraq and following the outbreak of insurgent violence in Iraq, absorbed thousands of displaced Iraqis. Municipal elections were held in July 2007 under a system in which 20% of seats in all municipal councils were reserved by quota for women. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2007 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. In November 2009,
King ABDALLAH exercised his constitutional authority to dissolve parliament and called for new elections. Separately, he dismissed the government and appointed a new prime minister and cabinet in December 2009. The King charged the new government with conducting elections before the end of 2010 as well as instituting economic and political reforms.
4.9 Million Estimate.
Jordan is a county of the younger generation.
At least 70% of the Jordanians are under 30 years old.
Jordanians in general are very open and friendly. You will notice their sincerity from the very first moment you arrive. They are honest, warm, and hospitable.
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 which, 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.
The Jordanian flag symbolizes the Kingdom's roots in the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, as it is adapted from the revolt banner. The black, white and green bands represent the Arab Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid dynasties respectively, while the crimson triangle joining the bands represents the Hashemite dynasty. The seven-pointed Islamic star set in the center of the crimson triangle represents the seven verses of Surat Al-Fatiha, the first sura in the Holy Qura'n.
Due to its location, Jordan has a mild climate all year around. Mostly arid desert; the rainy season in the west is from November to April.
Mostly desert plateau in the east and high land area in the west. A great rift valley separates the east and west banks of the river Jordan.
Jordan covers an area of 89.4- square kms.
96% of the people are Muslims and 4% are Christians.
Both Muslims and Christians live together in the same sites enjoying true religious freedom in an atmosphere of love and peace. In the same places you find a mosque you may also find a church.
'Amman' is the capital city, known in the past as the city of brotherly love (Philadelphia). Amman is the meeting place between ancient and modern history and it was considered as one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Administration & Legal System
Jordan has 12 administrative divisions, which are known as 'governorates'.
It gained independence on 25 May 1946.
The Constitution was formed on 8 Jan 1952.
The Legal system is based upon Islamic law and French codes.
The currency is the 'JD' - JORDANIAN DINAR.
The basic unit is the 'fils'.
One JD: 1000 fils.
1JD =US$ 1.4 or US$=0.71 JD.
1JD =Euro1.0 or Euro = 1JD.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Travelers Cheques are all widely used and accepted almost everywhere in Jordan.
Jordan communicates with the rest of the world by means of a highly advanced satellite system, which enables the country to be up-to-date with current international affairs and news, and to be aware of the many changes taking place all over the world.
Facsimile (Fax), Internet, optical fiber, and mobile phones are widely used in Jordan.
Radio broadcast stations: AM 6, FM 7, SW 1.
There are 8 TV Broadcast stations. In addition there are approximately 42 repeaters and 1 satellite link.
Because of the peace we enjoy in Jordan and our peaceful relationship with all our neighboring countries, Jordan is one of the safest countries in the region. The reality of Islam is that it treats all people equally, as well as engendering forgiveness, freedom, and human rights.
The mother-tongue of the Jordanians is Arabic. English is the second language due to it being a compulsory subject at school.
34.31 births /1000 of population.
Life expectancy: at birth 73.06 [male: 71.15 years, female: 75.08 years.].
Population growth rate: 3.05%.
Infant mortality rate: 32.7 death/1000.
Total fertility rate: 4.64 children born/woman.
Ethnic groups: Arab: 98%, Circassia's: 1%, Armenians: 1%.
Education is compulsory from the age of 6 up to 15.
Apart from English, another requirement at school is computer education.
As most of the people are very young, (70% are under 30 years), some 67% of them are still students.
Of all the people of the Middle East, none has a reputation as the Bedu, or Bedouin. Largely a nomadic people they cling to ancient ways living by fabled codes of hospitality and kinship. There is a sense of honour and pride in the Bedouin's hospitality. Although village life has in recent years changed more radically than that of the nomad, it remains in essence the same. The older women of the village, and sometimes the younger ones too, still make and wear the traditional dress... a long black Thobe, with hems, yokes and sleeves decorated with tiny embroidered stitches that form intricate and colourful patterns. Even in the cities traditional values have not been lost. From an early age Jordanians are taught to be generous, warm, open and friendly, and at the core of Jordanian society remain the ideals of tribal unity and respect for the family. The legendary Arab hospitality is no myth and has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
The word "Bedu" comes from the Arabic word "Badawi", meaning "A dweller of the desert". The Bedouin endure the desert and have learnt to survive its unforgiving climate. They treat it with due reverence, knowing that the wilderness has no respect for fools. Today most of Jordan's Bedouin reside in the vast wasteland that extends eastwards from the great Desert Highway. The traditional Bedouin way of life has come about by adopting measures that ensure survival. There are a few societies whose existence is as harmonious as that of the Bedouin. They walk a tight line between life and death, balancing with tenacity and skill. They understand their flocks of goats and camels. Forging a synoptic relationship with them so that each depends on the other for survival. The herds rely on their masters for protection, the masters depend on their herds for milk, meat and skins. The constant wandering is no aimless venture; it is a carefully planned expedition for new pastures.
The clan is the centre of Bedouin Society. Each family has its own tent, a collection of which (known as Hayy) constitutes a gown of clan.
A number of these clans make up a tribe (Qabilah). People living in the same clan are considered to be of the same blood. Leadership of the clan is the responsibility of the "Sheikh", an elder to whom matters of strife or decision are brought for adjudication. In the Bedouin society, all men are seen equal, with elders commanding extra respect gained through experience. The values of Bedouin society are vested in an ancient code of honor. This calls for total loyalty for the tribe, and to one's position of work, in upholding the survival of the group. There is a sense of honor and pride in Bedouin hospitality.
A powerful symbol of the Bedouin people is the distinctive square head-cloth (Kaffiyeh), with its head-ropes (A'gal) to hold it in place. The wealthier Bedouin, would and still do wear A'gals woven with gold thread.
Defined as those persons aged 15 and over who are able to read and write.
Total population: 86.6% (male 93.4%, female 79.4%).
The highest point: um al Daami Mountain 1946 m above sea level, (wadi rum).
The lowest point: Dead Sea 412 m below sea level. It is considered as the lowest point on earth.
Food and beverages
The pride of the Jordanian cuisine is 'Al-Mansaf', which is meat cooked in yogurt, arranged on a plate in a great mound, and decorated with pine nuts and parsley. Besides this, there are many other traditional meals, spiced with natural spices collected from the wilderness.
The ever-constant drink is Bedouin coffee and tea. Coffee is served as a welcome drink on all occasions, and it always has a very bitter taste, highly concentrated with cardamom (hail).
Jordanian tea is very sweet. It comprises a lot of sugar, black tea, and water boiled together, spiced sometimes with mint or sage for refreshment.
Customs and traditions
Tribal society as it is in Jordan, dictates most of the behaviors of people, which means that every individual is looked after within a framework of customs and traditions, to ensure that no one would dare to behave badly. Ultimately, everyone looks out for each other to provide an ideal society.
All people help each other, offering reciprocal treatment, participating in visiting each other or being present at wedding parties and funerals.
Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit. Since assuming the throne in 1999, King Abdullah has implemented significant economic reforms, such as opening the trade regime, privatizing state-owned companies, and eliminating most fuel subsidies, which in the past few years have spurred economic growth by attracting foreign investment and creating some jobs. The global economic slowdown, however, has depressed Jordan's GDP growth while foreign assistance to the government in 2009 plummeted, hampering the government's efforts to reign in the large budget deficit. Export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, mining, and the transport of re-exports have been hit the hardest. Amman is considering sweeping tax cuts to attract foreign investment and stimulate domestic growth, and the government has guaranteed bank deposits through 2010. Jordan's financial sector has been relatively isolated from the international financial crisis because of its limited exposure to overseas capital markets. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls.
Circasians are a non-Arab Islamic people, who originate from the Caucasusin Russia, fled during the 19th Century following persecution to live in other Islamic lands. Many Circasians now live in Jordan, their groups are spread through Amman, Jerash, Wadi-ElSeer, Sweileh, Zarqa, Azraq and other parts of the north. Circasians brought with them traditions from the Caucasus; weaving, basket - making and carpentry. Many of the older Circasians in Jordan worry about the preservation of traditional beliefs and customs that they brought from the Caucasus. Teaching through proverbs and stories sought to give new generations grounding in behavior.
The cost of one entry visa for all nationalities is JD 20 (around $31) for all nationalities and for multiple entries it is JD 30 (around $44).
Groups of five persons or more arriving through a designated Jordanian tour operator are exempted from all visa charges.
Certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained prior to travel. Please select from the drop-down list below to see which nationalities require visa clearance. The below list is meant solely as a useful tool and that data within it is subject to change without prior notice. It is recommended that you check with the Jordanian diplomatic mission in your country prior to travel to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork for travel.
Arrivals at Aqaba, either through the port, the airport or at the crossing from Israel or Saudi Arabia , are granted a free visa to Jordan . There is no obligation associated with this visa, provided that they leave the country within 1 month of arrival, and that they do not need to 'renew' their visa .
Those holding an ASEZ visa, and wishing to stay longer than 1 month must extend it at the ASEZA office in Aqaba and not with their local police station as holders of a normal visa would do Visitors arriving to Jordan at any entry point other than Aqaba, are entitled to a free visa (i.e. arrival tax is exempt). However, they must report this to the authorities and must register with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) visa office in Aqaba within 48 hours of their arrival in Jordan . Those failing to register are liable to payment of the visa when they leave the Kingdom.