Jordan, located in the Middle East, has a rich history influenced by various civilizations. During the Iron Age, the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites established kingdoms in present-day Jordan. These kingdoms interacted with ancient Israel and were mentioned in biblical texts. In the 1st century CE, the Roman Empire expanded its influence into the region. The Romans recognized the strategic importance of Jordan and established several cities and forts. They developed the Decapolis, a league of ten cities, including Jerash, Philadelphia (modern-day Amman), and Gerasa, which became flourishing Roman centers with impressive monuments and theaters. Jordan was later ruled by both the Byzantines and the Ottomans. T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, played a significant role in Jordan’s history during World War I. He supported the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire and helped capture Aqaba. Jordan gained independence in 1946, facing challenges such as conflicts with neighboring countries. Today, Jordan remains a relatively stable country, known for its historical sites and commitment to regional peace.
The flag of Jordan was adopted officially in 1928, but it is based on a design from 1916 used as the flag of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman empire during the first world war. Pan-Arab colors adorn the flag, as well as a seven-pointed star, symbolizing the seven hills of Amman.
Jordan sits at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Jordan borders Palestine by way of the Jordan river on its western border, as well as Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the North. From fertile valleys to the Mars-like desert of the Wadi Rum, Jordan is a land of contrasts.
World Land Mass Ranking: 112th
Highest Mountain: Jabal Umm ad Dami, 1,854 m (6,083 ft)
Longest River: Jordan, 251 km (151 mi)
Jordan Population: 11,180,568 (as of 2023)
Capital City: Amman
Capital City Population: 4,061,150 (as of 2021)
While temperatures toward the more Mediterranean western border can be mild and pleasant, the Jordanian climate varies greatly in its eastern half—from hot and dry to colder and wet. Days are hot and nights are cool—the rich contrast of the desert.
Jordanian cuisine is a vibrant and flavorful reflection of the country’s rich history and cultural heritage. Known for its delicious blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences, Jordanian dishes are a delightful combination of aromatic spices, fresh herbs, and locally sourced ingredients. Staple ingredients like lamb, chicken, rice, and vegetables are used in various traditional dishes, such as mansaf, a national favorite consisting of tender lamb cooked in a tangy yogurt sauce served over a bed of fragrant rice. Other popular dishes include falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh, which showcase the region’s love for fresh herbs, chickpeas, and olive oil. With its diverse flavors and hearty portions, Jordanian cuisine offers a truly satisfying culinary experience.
Jordanian sports encompass a wide range of activities that cater to both traditional and modern interests. Football (soccer) is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Jordan, with a fervent fan base and a national team that competes at the international level. Basketball is also highly followed and has gained significant popularity in recent years. Traditional sports like horse racing, camel racing, and falconry showcase Jordan’s Bedouin heritage and are cherished cultural pastimes. Additionally, martial arts such as taekwondo and karate have gained prominence, with Jordanian athletes achieving success in international competitions. The country also hosts various sporting events, including the annual Dead Sea Marathon and the Jerash Festival of Traditional Sports and Martial Arts, providing platforms for athletes and enthusiasts to showcase their skills and celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship.
Jordanian culture is a captivating blend of ancient traditions and contemporary influences, shaped by its location at the crossroads of the Middle East. Hospitality is a cornerstone of Jordanian culture, and visitors are warmly welcomed with open arms. The country’s rich history is reflected in its archaeological sites, such as the iconic Temple of Hercules in Amman, which stands as a testament to the ancient Roman influences in the region. Traditional music and dance, such as dabke, are celebrated during festive occasions, while Bedouin culture brings forth the hospitality and nomadic traditions of the desert-dwelling tribes. Jordanians take pride in their strong sense of community, close-knit family bonds, and the importance placed on social gatherings. Overall, Jordanian culture radiates warmth, resilience, and a deep appreciation for heritage, making it a fascinating and inviting destination for visitors.
10 facts about Jordan
1. Amman is one of the oldest cities on the planet.
2. Mansaf is Jordan’s national dish.
3. Many famous movies were filmed in Jordan.
4. Jordan is one of the least forested countries.
5. The lowest point on Earth is in Jordan.
6. The city of Petra was settled over 10,000 years ago.
7. Only 15% of Petra has been explored
8. Jordan is home to the long-eared hedgehog.
9. There are over 100,000 archaeological sites in Jordan.
10. Jordan contains almost no natural oil deposits.