Jarash      Petra      ASIA

Urn Tomb, Petra, Jordan
Urn Tomb in Petra, © Can Stock Photo / RVC5Pogod

Jordan is an anomoly in the Middle East.  It's lack of any oil reserves makes ii an extremely impoverished nation.  It experiences very little civil unreset and instead is a popular destinations for those fleeing its war torn neighbors.  The population has tripled in recent years due to the influx of refugees.  In 2015 tourism was down about 90% due to political unrest in the Middle East, even though Jordan is a very safe destination.  If you want to know what Arabia was like before the discovery of oil, head to Jordan.    

Jordan is officially known since 1946 as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and is named after the River Jordan.  It is bordered by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Arabian Desert blankets the eastern half of Jordan and is nearly uninhabitable.  Jordan has access to the Red Sea via the city of Aqaba at the Gulf of Aqaba.  The population of the country is around 6 million and its capital is Amman.  Today the red and white checkered keffiyeh headgear worn by men is symbolic of Jordan, although its origins are in Saudi Arabia.  In the past, Jordan has been controlled by a number of civilizations including the Pharaohs of Egypt, Babylonia, the Nabataean Kingdom of Petra, the Hittites, the Greeks, the Persians and the Romans.  Jordan is now a constitutional monarchy.  King Hussein was the well respected leader of Jordan until his death from cancer in 1999.  He strove for peace in the Middle East throughout his reign and maintained the respect of Arab countries.  His legacy is carried on by his American born wife, Queen Noor, and his eldest son Abdullah, who succeeded him.


A travel visa is required for most nationalities visiting Jordan. Visas for Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, USA and Canada can be obtained for a fee upon arrival at Amman International Airport or most border crossings, except the border with Israel.  In order to promote tourism, the government waves the visa fee if you book a guided tour of the country.  During our 2015 visit, our tour company met us at the plane and went through customs and immigration with us.  Tourist visas are valid for one entry, so a second visa is required for a side trip to Palestine.  Visas obtained upon entry are valid for a month, while visas obtained in advance are valid for two months.  Refer to an embassy or VisaHQ if a visa is required in advance.  For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.  A yellow fever certificate may be required if entering from specific high risk countries.


The currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar.


Jordan's climate is semi-arid with summer temperatures in the 30 C (80 F) range. Temperatures in the winter are around 10 C (50 F).  Snowfall is possible in winter in Amman.  Jordan's two big tourist attractions are the Dead Sea and Petra, which is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. 

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