Jordan is one of the leading tourist destinations in Asia. Its beautiful scenery is combined with ancient culture, developed under the influence of different folks. There is something magical in the desert landscapes of Jordan, something that attracts millions of tourists each year. Beautiful beaches and unique cultural heritage will make your holiday in Jordan a full of feelings adventure.
Geographical location, boundaries and size. Jordan is located in Southwest Asia. It lies between 29.11 and 33.22°N and between 35.31 and 39.18°E. Jordan occupies an area of 92,300 sq.km., and borders Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Much of the country’s western border follows the Jordan River. Jordan borders the Gulf of Aqaba, which is part of the Red Sea, to the southwest and the Dead Sea to the west.
Relief. Jordan has a varied topography. Most of the country is occupied by flat plateaus with a height of no more than 1000 meters.
In the western part of the country in a north-south direction stretches a not very high mountain, whose highest peak Ram rises about 1754 meters above sea level.
In Jordan is the deepest depression on the planet. The depression’s bottom is occupied by the Dead Sea. Its shores are located 424 meters below sea level! The coastline of the Red Sea is slightly indented.
Climate. For the most part, Jordan falls in the tropical climate zone. The weather is warm, dry and cloudless throughout the year with a pronounced desert character.
For example, around the Dead Sea and the city of Aqaba on the Red Sea coast daytime temperatures range from 21°C in January to 40°C in July and August.
During the winter months from November to March the nights are cold with temperatures between 8 and 15°C. During the rest of the year, night temperatures are between 17 and 25°C.
The northern parts of Jordan have a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Summer is very hot, long and dry with daytime temperatures around 35°C. Winter is short, mild and rainy with temperatures to about 12°C.
Economics. Jordanian dinar is the official currency of Jordan. The country has average living standards and can be compared to some states in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The GDP (gross domestic product) per capita for 2010 is about 5400 dollars.
Jordan’s economy relies heavily on revenues from tourism, agriculture and export of minerals and phosphates from the Dead Sea. The tourism industry is well developed on the basis of natural and world famous man-made landmarks.
According to data from 2010th, the country was visited from about 8 million tourists. Livestock breeding is leading sector in agriculture. The most popular livestock are sheep, goats, poultry and camels. Arable lands occupy just a small area of the northwest of the country.
In Jordan are grown mainly citrus, bananas, olives, tomatoes, melons, cereals (barley and wheat) and others. Mediterranean climate in the northwestern parts of Jordan favors also the development of vineyards and wine making.
Population. Jordan’s population is around 6.5 million people. About 1.4 million of them live in the capital Amman. However, the population of the urban agglomeration is estimated to be approximately 2.1 million people.
Official language in Jordan is Arabic, but since the tourism industry requires contacts mainly with foreign tourists, most people speak also English. Over 92% of the Jordan’s people are Sunni Muslims, and about 6% are Orthodox Christians.
Nature. Jordan is considered one of the most beautiful countries in Southwest Asia. The charm of local landscape is remarkably similar to the American Southwest. The majority of Jordan is occupied by deserts.
Sometimes amidst empty and devoid of vegetation landscapes suddenly appear beautiful oases. The presence of water stimulates the development of small, but dense palm groves. The most beautiful views offer the mountainous areas of western and southern Jordan.
Here you will find exciting canyons and gorges, offering dense shade even during the hot and scorching summer days. The rocks are bathed in unique pink, red and orange hues.
Wadi Ram is one of the biggest attractions in the country. The place is really very beautiful and definitely worth seeing.
Located in the southern parts of Jordan, this is a picturesque area, covered with reddish sand and diversified with old and eroded red cliffs. In 1998 the site was declared a nature reserve.
This requires a higher degree of organization if you are planning to visit Wadi Ram. Because of its unique spirit, Wadi Ram many times has turned into a film set.
Petra is the most famous landmark, created by human hand, in Jordan. This mystical city, carved out of pink rocks, is located in the southwestern parts of the country.
Since 1985 the ancient town is a World Heritage Site under the auspices of UNESCO. It’s hard to say exactly, but it is assumed that the place was inhabited not later than the 13th century BC. Today Petra is one of the symbols of the Middle East and testifies to the cultural wealth of this region.
The Dead Sea is one of the places that you should not miss while in Jordan, since this phenomenon can not be found elsewhere in the world. Salinity of the Dead Sea’s water is extremely high – about 33.7 per thousand.
Therefore, it would be almost impossible for a man to sink. In practice, you could read a newspaper on the water surface as if you were lying in bed.
Aqaba is a small town on the Red Sea coast. It is an important tourist destination because of its beautiful beaches and excellent diving opportunities.
This site attracts visitors with its beautiful coral reefs located close to the shore. The waters in the area of Aqaba are clean and transparent, and offer high visibility, excellent for lovers of underwater photography.
The Desert castles are another valuable tourist attraction. Located amidst the desert sands of northern Jordan, the Desert castles are not far from the beautiful Jordanian capital Amman.
They date from about the 8th century BC, and the most preserved is Kasar Amra. It once served as a public bathroom, but only for the affluent section of society.
Ajloun Reserve is one of the few forested areas in Jordan. It is covered with Mediterranean vegetation.
The majority of species are evergreen and resistant to drought and high temperatures, but there are trees that lose their leaves during the colder winter months. Ajloun Reserve is located in a mountainous area in the northwest of Jordan.
Cuisine. Like any other country in the Middle East, Jordan can boast with amazing culinary diversity and wealth. It was formed over thousands of years, and combines a wide variety of tastes and flavors.
Although Jordan is an Arab country, local cuisine is very strongly influenced by Southern-European traditions in food preparation.
The combination of Mediterranean freshness and strong Arab flavors has made Jordan one of the countries with the most delicious cuisine in the world.
Usually the day of local residents, like most Southern nations, begins with a snack, which mostly consists of delicious bread, muffins, cakes and many others. They are served with milk, cheese, dried fruits and, of course, the most popular Jordanian drink – coffee.
Lunch is the most abundant meal of the day. It usually starts with “meze” – light food, which aims to open the appetite.
It may consist of a light salad, olives, vegetable puree, cheese or even meat. Usually at noon the entire culinary heritage of this Arab country unfolds in its full splendour.
After the “meze” is coming the main meal. On the table often present tomatoes, peppers, olives, cucumbers, eggplants, potatoes, parsley, onion, garlic and whatnot. Vegetables are always seasoned with plenty of olive oil and a variety of herbs and spices.
The most consumed kinds of meat are lamb, chicken, goat and to some extent fish. Since Jordan is predominantly Islamic country, pork is not popular.
“Mansaf” is one of the dishes that most often present on the table in Jordan. This is cooked meat with dried fermented yogurt.
The dish is renowned for its good taste. Fresh fruits, dates and a huge variety of sweets are often served for dessert. Locals are known as true virtuosos in the preparation of sweets, cakes, baklava and other desserts. Nuts are often added in large quantities in different sweets.
Unlike the Mediterranean countries where dinner is the most abundant and long-lasting meal of the day, here in Jordan this is the lightest meal and most people usually have dinner early. It most often consists of vegetables, salads and vegetable purees.
When to visit Jordan? Jordan is known as a spring and autumn destination. The summers here are too hot and winters are mild, but for warmer-weather lovers, it could be quite cool.
The best time to visit southern Jordan, which offers some of the biggest attractions in the country (including the Red Sea coast) are the months March, April, October and November.
During these months, daytime temperatures are between 25 and 33°C. The most suitable months to visit the capital, which is located in the north of Jordan, are April and October.
What clothes to wear? No matter in what part of the year you visit the South of Jordan, summer clothes are recommended. However, during the months between November and March is well to add to your luggage and a coat or a thin jacket, because the nights are cold.
In northern Jordan has a cool winter and temperatures resemble those of the Mediterranean. During the period from December to March winter clothing are especially needed.
If you visit Amman in November or April, light spring clothing is most suitable. From May to October the weather is very hot.