Jordan The Country

Jordan the country is quite a fascinating place in the world, although it is not given much attention by many because of its precarious location given the current state of world affairs. Even though it is overlooked, it has much to offer in terms of history, as well as some of the most prominent archaeological sites in the world. Jordon the Country - Camels

Located in Western Asia, this Arab country is situated on the East Bank of the Jordan River. It is bordered by Syria to the north, Palestine and Israel to the west, Iraq in the northeast, and Saudi Arabia to the south. In the southwest is the Red Sea, and along its western borders is the Dead Sea. The country holds a strategic position at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

A Bit of History

People have been around this area since the Paleolithic period (the Old Stone Age). Moab, Edom, and Ammon are kingdoms which gained some stability by the end of the Bronze Age. The area was later ruled by the Nabataean Kingdom, the Roman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.

During World War One (I), around 1916, there was a revolt (Great Arab Revolt) against the Ottomans. This resulted in the area being partitioned off by France and Britain. In 1921 the area was established as the Emirate of Transjordan and became a British protectorate.

It gained its independence in 1946, and at that time was called officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Then in 1949, it was renamed Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This was right after the Arab-Israel War in 1948 when it captured the West Bank (it lost it to Israel in 1967 and renounced its claim to the territory in 1988).

A Few Facts to Consider

  • The ancient city of Petra, also known as the “Red Rose City” (because of the color of its rocks), is one of the most well-known and popular archaeological sites in the world. It was built by the Nabateans two thousand (2000) years ago.
  • The capital and largest city is Amman which is its center of culture, politics, and economy
  • The population is approximately in the nine (9) to ten (10) million range
  • The official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Most citizens speak at least one of the non-standard dialects as well. English is widely spoken throughout the country.
  • Jordan is the founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as well as of the Arab League
  • It is a sovereign state set up as a constitutional monarchy
  • The current king is Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein who holds very wide legislative and executive powers
  • Omar Razzaz is the Prime Minister
  • It is one of two (2) Arab states to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1994
  • The country is highly developed and has a above middle income economy with a highly skilled workforce
  • Because of its highly developed health sector medical tourism is a major contributor to its economy
  • The Grand Temple built by the Romans dedicated to Hercules in Amman no longer exists except for the Giant Hand, the Hand of Hercules, which was probably part of a bigger statue, which would make it one of the biggest statues in history [estimated to be approximately four-three (43) feet (13 meters) tall.]
  • The geography is a combination of arid plateaus, major cities, small towns, rivers, shoreline on the Red Sea and Dead Sea, and highland areas with arable land and evergreen forests
  • The Dead Sea is the lowest point below sea level on earth being -1378 feet (-420 meters). It is also the saltiest body of water anywhere as well.
  • The highest point in Jordan is six thousand and eighty-three (6,083) feet (1,854 meters) above sea level in Jabal Umm at Dami
  • This country has a diverse ecosystem with assorted habitats due to the variety of environments and landscapes throughout the country
  • The Society for the Conservation of Nature was established in 1966
  • There are a number of nature reserves such as the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, the Azraq Wetland Reserve, the Mujib Nature Reserve, and the Dana Biosphere Reserve
  • The climate varies quite a bit. Inland from the coast has greater variation in temperatures with less rainfall. The country has a mixture of Mediterranean climate and arid desert. Even in the arid areas there is low humidity and the evenings are cool. Winters are chilly and summers are hot and dry.
  • There are over two thousand (2000) species of plants with many mammals and reptiles as well (honey badger, glass snake, wild boar, fallow deer, caracal, long-eared hedgehog, Arabian wolf, and golden jackal). Bird species include pharaoh eagle owl, barbary falcon, hooded crow, Palestine sun bird, Eurasian jay, and the Sinai rose finch.
  • The currency of Jordan is the Jordanian dinar (1 JOD to 1.41 USD)
  • Jordan has the thirty-fifth (35th) best infrastructure in the world
  • There are three (3) commercial airports: Queen Alia International Airport (hub for Royal Jordanian Airlines), King Hussain International Airport, and the Amman Civil Airport
  • Its industries are highly developed with construction, manufacturing, power and mining playing a significant role
  • The largest museum is the Jordan Museum
  • The Jerash Music Festival showcases many of the popular Arab singers. Alternative Arab rock bands have hit the scene as well.
  • Jordan has participated in the Olympic Games with football (soccer), basketball, and Taekwondo being their favorite sports
  • They are the eighth (8th) largest producer of olives in the world
  • The literacy rate here is the highest in the Middle East and one of the highest in the world at 98.1%

Things to Do in this Country Jordan the Country - Amman

Tourism contributes greatly to the economy of Jordan. Most tourists are from other Arab countries as well as from Europe. Of course, turmoil in this part of the world has adversely affected the tourist trade at times, such as during the Arab Spring (2010 to 2016). Things started to return to normal in 2017.

With approximately one hundred thousand (100,000) tourist and archaeological sites, many in the cities of Jerash, and Petra, there is a lot to see and take in. Being part of the Holy Land, there are many biblical attractions as well.

Add to this the many modern conveniences and activities with many recreation and entertainment areas in Amman and other cities. You have a good selection of things to do includiing hiking trails, seaside recreation, and several international resorts. 

Unlike other Arab countries, alcohol is widely available in supermarkets, liquor stores, and tourist restaurants. There is plenty of nightlife in cities such as Amman which has numerous nightclubs, discos, and bars.

Now check out this video which gives you a very good overall view of what this country is all about. Then we will get into a few more specifics of things to do.

* Cuisine — because of the large olive production int the country, it comes as no surprise that olive oil is a mainstay in the majority of their dishes. For an appetizer, hummus leads the way. The combination of chick peas combined with garlic, lemon, and tahini is quite appealing. Another appetizer that is very popular here is ful medames, which is basically a stew with fava beans and served with cumin, vegetable oil, and often other spices and herbs. A selection of small dishes served as an appetizer is called a meze, and contains a variety of items such as tabbouleh, olives, labaneh, pickles, koubba maqliya, and baba ghanoush. The food goes well with arak, an alcoholic drink. This drink is similar to the Greek drink ouzo. Others prefer beer, Jordanian wine, or pastis (an anise flavored aperitif from France). These same appetizer dishes served without alcohol are called muqabbilat or starters. The national dish of Jordan is mansaf. It brings in the spirit of the Bedouin culture and hospitality. It’s basically rice with boiled meat in a yogurt with herbs and pine nuts. Traditionally it is eaten with your hands. It is prepared for special occasions such as religious holidays, weddings, and funerals. Toward the end of most meals fruit is served, as well as a dessert such as halva, qatayef (made for Ramadan), knafeh, baklava, or hareeseh. Tea and coffee is a ritual here, and they flavor it with na’na or meramiyyeh. Now let’s not forget about falafels. This is a tasty and inexpensive meal, and just perfect for vegetarians. When in Amman stop by Hashem, which is a restaurant known for the stuffed version of this culinary treat.

* Mount Nebo — this is where you can walk in the footsteps of Moses. It is said that Moses first observed the Promised Land from here. It’s quite a mystical experience especially if you let your imagination soar.

* Petra — this is the main attraction of most folks who come here because of its many historic and archaeological sites. It is a UNESCO World site, and spending a few days here will give you the time to take it all in. This ancient city will provide many memories and rare treats. To save a few bucks get a “Jordan Pass” so that you don’t have to pay the pricey entrance fee. Also, Wadi Musa is a town close by where you can get less expensive accommodations. Check out the Petra Gate Hostel as it has all the necessities for a fair price.

* The Roman Ruins at Jerash — this city is located in the northern part of the country and has some of the best preserved Roman ruins. You can get there easily on a minibus from Amman. It is a huge area and it is thought that ninety (90%) percent of the city is still unexcavated. Spend a few hours checking out the temples, hippodrome, streets, gates, theater, and the forum.

* What About Wadi Rum — this area of the desert is inhabited by the Bedouin people who offer camps to visitors so they can experience the rare beauty of this area. Spending a night in this area of the desert will be quite an experience not to be missed. You are provided three (3) meals and an all day jeep safari.

* The Dana Reserve — this is a biosphere reserve with desert mountains and deep valleys. It is a great place to hike and explore the countryside. There are ecolodges scattered about for your accommodations and rest.

* Floating in the Dead Sea — you have to do this to appreciate it. Being weightless in the middle of this body of water between Israel and Jordan is an other-worldly experience for sure. It is best to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

* The Madaba Mosaics — exploring the town of Madaba is a wonderful experience all by itself, but wander on over to St. George’s Church and take in these magnificent mosaics. These mosaics were accidentally discovered in 1884 while this

Byzantine church was being restored. While the workers were digging through the ruins they came upon a mosaic cartograph depicting the oldest known map of Palestine. It is displayed on the church floor. Jordan the Country - Roman Theater

* What about Amman — the capital city offers a variety of things to do such as the Souk market, which is next to Rainbow Street and has plenty of food, antiques, traditional products, handicrafts, and art. There are plentiful museums as well as other cultural establishments such as the Roman Theater and the Citadel. It also has a great nightlife with plenty of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The city has a relaxed atmosphere; in spite of its location in the Middle East, it is safe, peaceful, and slow moving. A fun thing to do is get some exercise by walking up the various hills in the city. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of the entire area. The Jordan Tower is an inexpensive hostel in Amman. There are also plenty of higher priced options.

* The King’s Highway — now it’s time for a road trip taking in some awesome views of this country. It’s quite a curvy road so you will need to rent a vehicle or join a group tour, since public transport does not head out this way. On a tour you get a driver so you can just sit back and take in all the gorgeous scenery. Along the way you will see the Crusader Castles of Shobak and Karak. The tour also takes you through Petra, so you can take in some archaeological sites as well.

* Aqaba — one of the main ports in the Middle East, it is the only entryway to the sea. It is surrounded by purple shaded mountains and offers a wide variety of activities such as snorkeling (experience underwater life and red sea corals), scuba diving, and other water sports.

So Why Visit Jordan?

Known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East” because of its peaceful and stable political climate, this country is greatly underrated by many as a travel destination due to its geographical location. Being a politically neutral country, it is able to experience a peaceful atmosphere.

The government of Jordan is very sensitive to these issues, and puts a lot of emphasis on creating a good, stable environment for tourism. When arriving you will soon discover that it is rather challenging in deciding from all the things to do.

Islam is practiced in a milder form here, and it is a very good environment to challenge any beliefs you may have about it, and actually learn to let go of any stereotypes or prejudices. The people are warm and friendly, and actively embrace conversation.

After spending a bit of time getting acquainted with what Jordan has to offer, I think you may agree that this can be quite an interesting, entertaining, and fun place to visit.

Happy travels,


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20 thoughts on “Jordan The Country”

  1. Great article on Jordan, and it is definitely a country that is on my visit list. Can I know what kind of activities I can do at Pedra for young children? Can you suggest an itinerary for a 7 day trip? We have 3 adults and 2 children aged 10 and 12.

  2. You just made Jordan one of the my bucket list destinations. I have always been fascinated by the history of Israel and areas related to it. I had an opportunity to explore Israel while in college, but finances kept me from making the trip. Now, years later, I still dream of that area of the world and want to visit and explore the land and culture.

    One of my favorite music groups, Petra, took their name, in part, from the site of the red rose city…. Red seems to be a theme from many of their songs. But, I digress!

    Being a follower of Christ, I would like to see the many historically/Biblically relevant places, as well as the architecture that remains from a time gone by. I would like to walk where Jesus walked.

    I also look forward to the variety of foods, as well as the people. What would a trip like this be like without the people!?!

    Floating in the Dead Sea sounds gross, but also something I will not be able to pass up!

    While Switzerland itself is not a destination for me, the “Switzerland of the Middle East” surely will be!

    • Thanks Karin for your thoughts. I appreciate your share. I am glad I was able to bring this info to your awareness. All the Best

  3. Jordan is one country that I would love to visit, and your thorough and engaging description of it makes it sound really enticing (I liked the description of Jordan as the ‘Switzerland of the Middle East). I would love to visit Petra (my parents went some years ago), and the Dana reserve also sounds worth visiting. As an almost-vegetarian, the foods you mentioned such as falafel, hummus and ful medames appeal, and I must admit that it would also be nice to be able to order an alcoholic drink. Thanks for a really interesting article. 

    • Thanks Teri for your thoughts and insights. Jordan is a most intriguing location in the world. All the Best.

  4. I have always wanted to visit Petra and the Dead Sea but you have given such a thorough overview of Jordan that I now have a couple of other sites in my bucket list. I also had no idea that medical tourism was big there.  I wonder if there is any kind of all inclusive travel companies that would show a person the main archaeological sites and the Dead Sea and how long such a thing would take. 

    • Thanks for your thoughts. There are travel companies which can set up tours for you. Just Google it. All the Best.

  5. I apparently have a whole lifetime of misconceptions about Jordon.  Your article with all there is to see and do make me know that there is much to enjoy in this “Switzerland in the Desert.”  The government is aware of the need for a quiet and safe environment for the country makes the tourist feel at home and peaceful.  Being able to travel in the areas where so many of the biblical travels took place would help us to understand the world as it was during Jesus lifetime, as well as before and after.

    The food descriptions were certainly interesting, with olive oil being an important ingredient in the meal.  I didn’t know that growing olives was such an important part of the economy, as the oil from olives as well.  Unlike many countries in the region, you can buy alcohol in the country.  A favorite is Arak, that locals drink as we do beer.  The many archaeological locations hold much history and many are open to the public.  The country is one of the oldest and has so much history tied to it that you have made me aware of. 

    Your shared information has sure made this an interesting destination for me. Thanks, Sami

  6. As a Christian, I’ve been truly awed by mentions of names such as Mt. Nebo, Petra, the Dead Sea, Jordan River and other the historical landmarks that played witness to significant events.

    On the modern side, it’s a pleasant surprise that the Jordanian Dinar is 1.4 times stronger than the US Dollar and the country has an impressive global ranking in terms of infrastructure including three airports. The efforts by the Jordanian Government to ensure that a good and stable environment exists for tourism is equally commended.

    Overall, you paint a very beautiful picture of Jordan as a tourist destination with countless itinerary options and accommodation facilities for all tourists irrespective of their travel budget. This article on Jordan the Country has been truly fascinating Joseph.

    We are Blessed.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts. Much appreciated. Jordan is definitely the “jewel of the Middle East” as a place to visit.

  7. This place is well known and has a rich history especially where our Lord and saviour walked. I have thought on many occasions to visit the holy land and to trend the paths that Jesus walked besides taking in all of those sights of this rich place. I believe that to go to a place like this would give lasting memories. Thanks so much for giving a great breakdown of Jordan and its culture.

  8. Hey nice article you have there, Jordan when compared to many of its neighbors in the Middle East, Jordan is an exceptionally safe country to visit. In short, while people may have some trepidation about the region, Jordan is one of the safest places to visit in the region coupled with alot of touring facilities.

  9. I loved your article. My grandad used to speak of Jordan a lot as he went in the dead see. I always remember the phot he showed me of him reading a paper whilst floating. Thank you for a great post. When the pandemic has passed this will be on my list to visit.


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