• Population: 5.7 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Amman
  • Area: 89,342 sq km (34,492 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 70 years (men), 73 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Jordan dinar = 1,000 fils

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is one of the potentially great travel destinations in the world with a startling and sophisticated bunch of engineering marvels and a wide spectrum of fun and fresh activities to enjoy. With, perhaps, the most interesting and unbelievably exceptional wonder of the world under its belt, the Ancient Capital City of Petra that was immortalized in Indiana Jones, the tourism industry is well on its way to developing from its infancy. At least half a million tourists graze its immaculate surface to uncover the wonderful treasures that most the world has unheard or unseen, and they realize it’s time, money, and effort well spent. The country of Jordan is a holistically fantastic place to travel regardless of age and economy, that not so many dare to discover. And although Jordan has not mass-marketed its tourism with the same vigour as other countries like Egypt, Malaysia, or Turkey, the cries of the ancient desert civilizations resonate throughout the world.

    With a strike of luck, Jordan preserves its degree of pristine, and not rampantly urbanize like its not-so-subtle neighbours, for it is in the “old” that Jordan’s charm emanates. But as the business capital of the Levant, a boom in the tourism industry is within close reach. The kingdom’s economic success pushes for urbanization projects, where now, 78% of Jordanians have reached urban status. As a result, the EU expects Jordan’s advanced membership by 2011. Thriving on very limited natural resources, Jordan is opening up to other feasible sources of revenue.


    Jordan (31 00 N, 36 00 E) is a mostly desert 89,342 km2 of what is almost a landlocked country, hence its limited resources, with special mention to water supply owing to a few oases and stream here and there. The Arabian Desert covers much of Jordan to the east with arid forest plateaus, and to the west, the Ancient Fertile Crescent with arable highlands and Mediterranean evergreen forests. The highest point, hence, is the Jabal Umm ad Dami that is 1,854 metres above sea level, and the lowest point, as Israel’s, the Dead Sea, well below 408 metres.


    The climate of Jordan is Mediterranean, arid desert by and large, but going inland, this further varies-temperate in some, and semi-dry in others. For the most part, the climate is characteristically humid, especially from November to March, while semi-dry the rest of the year. Essentially, summers are long and stinking hot at 30-35°C, its peak in August markedly; winters are cool at 13°C, in January more than ever, with occasions of snow in some parts, while springs are brief.


    Jordan is a modern Arab Nation with 6,407,085 people of late. Arabs form the majority by 95-98% of the population, therefore the most widely spoken and official language is ARABIC. The 2-5% of Jordan’s population are Armenians, Chechens, Circassians, Gypsies, and Turkmen, and some Assyrians and Chaldeans. Immigrant waves of Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians and Palestinians above all have come to settle temporarily and permanently here, which is why the faces of the people here are as diverse as shades of colours. Jordanians are the modern descendants of Canaanites, as well as of the Semitic peoples, the Edomites and Moabites, which most of us read much of in the bible.


    However, as an Arab nation with predominant Muslim and Arab cultures since the 7th century, the population of Jordan is mostly Sunni Muslim with a small Christian minority. The Muslims are a 92-94% majority demographic, and the Christians, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox denominations, are a sizeable 6% minority. Needless to say, this is one of the best places for multi-religiosity or multi-denominationalism.


    The elegant and vibrant city of Amman is a city of great contrasts and smooth blends- the epitome, the real microcosm of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-denominational Jordan. As the capital, this is the one of the ideal places to start off the traveller’s adventure in the Land of Wonder, also, one of the most expensive in the Middle East, beating Dubai at some point during the decade. The key is the temperate climate here in Amman that the Jordanians enjoy and deem best and most fit for living conditions. In fact, almost half of the Jordanians live right here, so if there’s one city in Jordan for a meet-and-greet of the fascinating Jordanians and for witnessing their kind hospitality, this is it. But if the travellers suddenly tires of uniform white residential houses, to Ma’an Governorate for a more sophisticated architecture that is the Nabatean’s Kazneh of Petra (the Greek word for “stone”). The Kazneh is Petra’s finest architecture and ingenious rock-cut engineering made delicate with its dramatic sculptures and carvings. This is also one of the world’s ancient megastructures at 12-storeys high. But what makes it out of this world, is its rose-reddish hue that is remarkably beautiful.

    Petra, the national symbol of Jordan, was established around the 6th Century BC, but it was only in July 7, 2007 when it was hailed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The ancient city was discovered by Burckhardt in 1812, but its earliest visitors on record are the Israelites, during their exodus from Egypt. A prized piece of history, it is also BBC’s one of the “40 Places to See before You Die.” Let’s not be too dramatic and just pay a visit now. Running close to Petra is the ancient city of Jerash, the second most visited tourist destination in Jordan. The city became one of the ten greatest Roman cities, albeit now, all that is left are ruins- one of the largest Roman ruins in the Middle East, to say the least. It also boasts of one of the longest continuous civilizations 6,500 years back. Only 70 years hence has this hidden city jewel been revealed of its urban paved roads, capacious plazas, ornate theatres, lofty temples, baths and fountains been revealed from underneath layers upon layers of sand.

    And while the traveller’s here, down the valley is Aqaba where the sky is high, the wind is cool, the corals are teeming and the waters are turquoise blue. Aqaba is one of the best snorkelling, shore diving, and swimming in the world where the frogfish, lionfish, barnacle crabs, turtles, dolphins and a plethora of multi-coloured marine life make regular appearances, even from on board the glass-bottomed boats. There’s more to the history of Aqaba and its role in trade and economy more than 5.5 millennia ago that makes it a treasure cove for things significant and ancient. Also, Aqaba is a great place to stay when organizing a day trip to Wadi Rum for its proximity. Nowhere else can riding a 4×4 and camping out onto a desert be worth getting your behind rubbed raw than in the desert village of Wadi Rum with its abundance of colour and history. Not to fret, the campsite bathrooms are among the cleanest, and the food without compensate to quality too.


    So if food in the desert campsites is good quality, there’s truly something to look forward to with Jordanian cuisine. Jordanian cuisine is part of a much bigger, more general food culture called Levantine, the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean at large so the eats, as would have been apparent had you been all over the Mediterranean, are essentially the same done different ways at times, but, for certain, with regional specialities. Jordan cuisine is a hidden gem in itself, sophisticated and elaborate, not to mention healthy too. The Levantine cuisine or Mediterranean diet ranks as one of the world’s most healthiest because food is made and eaten fresh, meat is grilled, vegetables are in liberal amounts, and the carbos are grains, all combined to a healthy medley. Therefore, Jordan is one of the best environments to introduce vegetables to your kids’ diets.

    Thus, let it be said that nothing beats the whiff or crackle of grilling meat, but a MUST-TRY here is mansaf, the national dish of Jordan of chunks of lamb cooked in yogurt, spiced and seasoned with herbs, making the dish smell as delicious as it tastes. Then, the dish is served with a sprinkling of almond or pine nuts, thin bread (shraak), and heaps of heavenly rice. This is the absolute rave in Jordan, much like the stuffed vegetables! Stuffed baby lamb or roasted lamb with rice, onions, raisins, and nut stuffing, is also a celebrated dish in Jordan. Maklouba is a phenomenal upside-down pudding of lamb, rice, cauliflower and yogurt. Mezze dishes are also served with some selection exclusive to Jordanian cuisine, but the best luck for traveller’s is that pastries are served for breakfast. And, albeit international fast food chains have found their way here, the country boasts of the supreme holes-in-the walls. A fitting slogan for Jordan’s tourism campaign would be, “Jordan, Food Heaven: The Place to Get Your Grub On”.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

    Backpacking Addictz is a website set up by backpackers for the use of backpackers. On this site you will find a lot of very valuable backpacking information surrounding different destinations and countries from around the world. Also very helpful backpacking tips and travel advice on planning a budget travel and backpacking adventure. You will also find an enthusiastic and insightful backpacking blog which is regularly updated with new posts and article.

    Backpacking Addictz – Backpacking Guides are a fantastic, cheap and easy way to get hold of a vast amount of backpacking information prior to setting off on your backpacking adventure.

    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

    Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
    Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
    Joshua Boorman

    Leave A Response

    * Denotes Required Field