Formally known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Jordan borders Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel. Jordan is three-quarters the size of Pennsylvania, slightly smaller than the state of Indiana. Most of citizens of Jordan are located in the west and northwest around the capital city of Amman (population approximately 4 million inhabitants) with a total population of 10.5 million people. While the official language of Jordan is Arabic English is widely known amongst the middle and upper classes.
The national symbols are the eagle and the colors black, white, green, and red, which are reflected in their flag. Three equal horizontal bands of black (top), representing the Abbassid Caliphate, white, representing the Ummayyad Caliphate, and green, representing the Fatimid Caliphate; a red isosceles triangle on the hoist side, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, and bearing a small white seven-pointed star symbolizing the seven verses of the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha) of the Holy Koran; the seven points on the star represent faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations; design is based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I
Jordan is a land steeped in history. It has been home to some of mankind’s earliest settlements and villages; harboring hidden relics from the world’s great civilizations.
As the crossroads of the Middle East, the lands of Jordan and Palestine have served as a strategic nexus; connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe. Since the dawn of civilization, Jordan’s geography has given it an important role as a conduit for trade and communications; connecting the orient with the west. Jordan continues to play a critical role in geopolitical affairs.
Petra nicknamed the rose-red city, which comes from the color of the rock many of the city’s structures were carved from. Petra is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, the city (capital of Nabatean empire) prospered from rich trade of frankincense, myrrh, and spices. The Nabateans buried their dead in intricate tombs cut from the mountain sides.
Dead Sea is bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the west and it lies in the Jordan Rift Valley. The Dead Sea in Arabic is Al-Bahr Al-Mayyit meaning the “Sea of Death” or in Hebrew Yam HaMelah meaning the “Salt Sea.” The Dead Sea has the lowest elevation and is the lowest body of water on the surface of the Earth. The saline water has a high density and keeps people buoyant. Due to the extreme salinity of the water the only thing that survives is bacteria.
Wadi Rum is a beautiful protected desert wilderness in southern Jordan. It features sandstone mountains like the many-domed Jebel Um Ishrin and natural arches such as Burdah Rock Bridge. The rocky caverns and steep chasms boast inscriptions and carvings such as Khazali Canyon. Wadi Rum’s typography has been featured in many films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and many other films.
Mount Nebo is a significant historical site as the place where Moses was granted a view of the land of Canaan, which God told him he would not enter.
As a US citizen, a passport and a visa are required. Jordan issues visas to U.S. citizens for a fee at most international ports of entry and at most international land border crossings upon arrival. The visa currently costs 40 JD ($56.50 USD) for a single entry, 60 JD ($85.00 USD) for two entries, and 120 JD ($170.00 USD) for a multiple entry visa. However, visas are not issued upon arrival at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge land border crossing. U.S. citizens must already be in possession of a valid visa to Jordan or have a special entry permit from the Jordanian Ministry of Interior to enter Jordan at this crossing. U.S. citizens are typically given visas that are valid for 30 days.
When visiting Jordan here are a few Do’s and Don’ts:
Do shake hands when meeting people; conservative veiled women may not reach out.
Do stand-up when greeting others.
Do shake your cup from side to side in order to decline a refill of your coffee.
Do hold your cup out to signal you would like more.
Do accept when Arabic coffee is offered to you by your host, as it is a sign of hospitality.
Do carry plenty of loose change with you, as many Jordanians usually do not carry adequate change.
Do tip waiters approximately 10% gratuity in addition to the bill (unless a service charge is included in the total bill).
Do round your taxi fare up to the nearest tenth when paying your driver.
Do haggle with merchants when shopping.
Do dress conservatively when exploring public areas of Jordan.
Do be aware that Jordanians tend to stand a fraction of the distance closer when conversing than people do in the West.
Do feel free to consume alcoholic beverages, but not in outside the appropriate areas.
Men: Do sit in the front seat of the taxi as it is seen as respectful.
Women: Do sit in the back seat of a taxi as it is seen as disrespectful.
Do make space for the elderly and women on public transportation.
Don’t interrupt, or pass in front of, a Muslim who may be praying in a public place.
Don’t openly consume food, beverages, or cigarettes in public places during the holy month of Ramadan.
Don’t dress provocatively when walking outdoors.
Don’t panic if an acquaintance “pecks” you on the cheeks when greeting you, as Arabs have traditionally kissed each other on both cheeks as a warm gesture of welcome and affection.
Don’t feel uncomfortable if your host insists on “over feeding” you during a meal, as Arabs traditionally view food as an important symbol of hospitality, generosity, and goodwill – the more the better!
Don’t feel that you are required to tip your taxi driver, as tipping in such a scenario is not necessary, but is certainly appreciated.
Don’t slam a taxi drivers door shut.
Feel free to consume alcohol, as it is widely available at bars and hotels across Jordan. During Ramadan, drinks are only available to visitors in their hotels. Alcohol can also be bought from supermarkets.
As you can see Jordan is a beautiful country steep in history. When you have a chance go visit Petra and the many other sites to see in Jordan.
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