Facts About Jordan
Establishing Modern Jordan
Over centuries and millennia, Jordan has witnessed the rise of several civilisations and states, including the state of Edom, the state of Moab, the Ammonite and the Nabatean states. Jordan was also conquered by empires, such as the Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires. During the era of the Islamic rule, Jordan became part of Rashidun Caliphate that was succeeded by the Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk states, then the Ottoman Empire until 1918.
Jordan was founded on the principles of the Great Arab Revolt which was declared by late Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sherif of Mecca (great great grandfather of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein).
In 1916, Sherif Hussein led Arab forces in the Revolt which sought the realisation of pan-Arab aspirations in establishing an independent and unified Arab state. The Revolt also purported to upholding the culture and traditions of the Arab people and the Islamic ideals, and protecting the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in the region.
Among the Great Arab Revolt’s achievements was the creation of Arab kingdoms in Hijaz, Syria, Iraq, as well as Transjordan which later became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
When late Emir Abdullah ibn Al Hussein proclaimed Transjordan in 1921, the foundations of modern Jordan were laid. Despite the meager resources and the geopolitical challenges facing the country, which was placed under the British Mandate by the League of Nations in the aftermath of World War II, Emir Abdullah and the Jordanian people managed to build the institutions of government that enabled the eventual independence of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 25 May 1946.
System of Government
Jordan is a hereditary Monarchy, its system of government is parliamentary, and His Majesty the King is the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Jordanian Armed Forces.
The Parliament of Jordan is composed of the Senate, whose members are appointed by His Majesty the King, and the House of Representatives, whose members are elected in general direct elections.
The judicial authority is exercised by courts of law which are divided into three categories: civil courts, religious courts, and special courts.
His Majesty appoints the “Council of Ministers” (the Cabinet) headed by the Prime Minister and composed of ministers. The Council of Ministers is responsible for administering all internal and external affairs of Jordan and is subject to parliamentary oversight.
Flag of Jordan
The flag of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has its roots in the flag of the Great Arab Revolt which is kept in the Martyr’s Memorial in Amman. Jordan’s flag that was adopted in 1922 is inspired by the Great Arab Revolt flag in shape and colours. Its black, white and green colours represent Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid history, the most important eras in Arab Islamic civilisation; while the red chevron represents the Hashemite Family. The heptagram at the centre of the chevron symbolises the seven verses of Surat Al Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Holy Quran.
Facts and Figures
Map of Jordan
Jordan’s Total Area: 89,342 sq. km
Land: 88,802 sq. km
Water: 540 sq. km
Population: 10,583,821 (2020 est.)
Geographic Coordinates: 31 00 N, 36 00 E
Jordan is located in southwest Asia, in the heart of the Middle East. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the northeast, Syria to the north, and Occupied Palestine and Israel to the west. Jordan has access to the Red Sea via the southern port city of Aqaba, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba. The port of Aqaba is the only maritime outlet for Jordan. It overlooks the Red Sea, with a 25 kilometre-long coastline.
The Dead Sea, which is the lowest point of earth lies in the Jordan Valley. It is also the mouth of the Jordan River.
Arabic is the official language, and English is widely spoken.
Weather & Climate
Jordan has four distinct seasons, with dry hot summers, wet cold winters and mild spring and fall seasons. Rainfall in Jordan is generally scarce, and occurs from November to April, with February being the wettest month. Annual average temperatures range from 12-25°C and summertime highs can reach the 40s in some regions. In the Jordan Valley, Aqaba and the southern part of the kingdom, temperatures are around 8-10°C higher on average than temperatures in Amman.
Summer extends from June to September. It is a hot and dry season with cool evenings. It is pleasant due to the low humidity that averages 30-40%. In the Jordan Valley, Aqaba and southern parts of Jordan, temperatures can reach the 40s. Many festivals are held in summer around the Kingdom.
Autumn is from September to November. It is warm during the day and cool in the evening. Autumn is a perfect season for outdoor adventures and exploration.
Winter is between December and March. It is a cold rainy season with sporadic snowfall in areas that are around 800 meters above sea level, like Amman. The Jordan Valley, which is more than 400 meters below sea level, is warm during winter, while Petra and Wadi Rum are very cold in the winter evenings.
Spring is from March to May. It is when the wildflowers blossom all over the country. Spring is a warm season with cool evenings. Like Autumn, Spring is very suitable for outdoor physical activities like hiking, camping, water sports and others.
Imports & Exports
Main Imports: Cars, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, gas, packaged medicaments, machinery, transport equipment, iron, wheat, rice, electronics.
Main Exports: Knit or crochet garments, inorganic chemicals, fertilizers, clothing accessories (knit or crochet), salt, sulphur, stone, cement, pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, gems, precious metals, mineral fuels, machinery, fruits and vegetables, food products, potash, phosphates.
Currency & Exchange Rates
Jordanian Dinar (JD)
1 JD ≈ 1.96 SGD
National Symbols of Nature
The Black Iris
The Black Iris is a rare wildflower with dark purplish black petals which belongs to the Iridaceae family. It blossoms in spring across the country and is a symbol of the beauty of wildlife. Its colour represents nobility and royalty.
The Arabian Oryx
The Arabian Oryx is a desert antelope with long straight horns and humps on the shoulders. It has a white colour coat, and long brown legs with wide hooves that help it in standing and walking on the sand.
The Mount Tabor Oak
The Mount Tabor Oak is a deciduous oak species. It was chosen as Jordan’s national tree for being associated with the history of Jordan and the various civilisations that existed on its territory. It is a perennial tree and is widespread across Jordan.
Rosefinch is a small bird from the Fringillidae family. They can mainly be spotted in the southern region of Jordan. Rosefinch has been chosen as the country’s national bird due to its rosy colour similar to the distinct stone colour of Petra – The Rose Red City.
Culture & Heritage
Cuisines in Jordan
Food traditions are an important aspect of the Jordanian culture and are a form of expressing hospitality and generosity. The Jordanian cuisine is a distinct and diverse fusion of flavours from the Levantine and the Mediterranean regions. In culinary terms, the Jordanian style of cooking ranges from grilling and roasting, to stuffing vegetables, meat, and poultry. Dishes are generally served with rice or bread. Another common style of cooking is preparing food with special sauces like stews. Mezzes or appetisers are also key components of the local cuisine.
The use of olive oil is prominent in Jordanian recipes, whether in preparing main dishes or appetisers. Herbs, spices, garlic, onion, tomato sauce and lemon are typical ingredients in the Jordanian cuisine. Yogurt-based recipes are also common, including the use of “Jameed”, a form of dried fermented yoghurt, used to prepare “Mansaf”, the national dish of Jordan.
A wide variety of cuisines are offered in restaurants and hotels in Jordan, like Asian, Mexican, Italian, French, Turkish and other cuisines, as well as local restaurants serving Arabic and Jordanian dishes. Fast food chains are also widely available in the country.
Olive Oil Soaps
Jordan is home to some of the world’s oldest olive trees, where such trees have a natural habitat for them to grow and thrive. Olive trees are also an important part of the Jordanian heritage.
Jordanian olive oil is famous for its quality, aroma, texture, and taste, as well as for all its health benefits.
Jordan also produces olive oil soap that is rich in Vitamin E and anti-oxidants. It is known to have numerous healing benefits for the skin.
A tradition that is still maintained in many parts of Jordan is Embroidery. Young women used to stitch and embroider their clothes and dresses in preparation for getting married. Women today are also wearing embroidered clothing in a modern style as well as the traditional embroidered dresses (Thobe).
Thobe is a handmade dress that is decorated with hand embroidered motifs and lines that are inspired by the surrounding nature, history, culture and heritage making each region in Jordan have its own distinctive style and patterns.
The colours and fabrics used in making the Thobe have social, religious, economic, and geographical connotations.