Culture, History & Religion
Jordan (Official name: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) is a Kingdom in the Middle East by the Jordan River. Jordan occupies an area of approximately 96,188 square kilometres, including the Dead Sea, making it similar in size to Austria or Portugal.
Jordan is renowned for its strong tradition of hospitality and awe-inspiring monuments and landmarks that tell the story of its ancient history. Widely known as one of the safest destinations in the Middle East, the country offers an appealing mix of traditional and modern.
The country is bordered in the north by Syria, in the east by Iraq, and by Saudi Arabia in the east and south. Israel and the occupied West Bank are to the West, while Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, the Gulf of Aqaba, is in the south. Only the northern highlands and the Jordan Valley have received enough rainfall to support large populations. Therefore, this area has always been more settled by farmers, villagers and townspeople. Most of the urban civilizations of Jordan have been based in these fertile lands. Its Capital is in Amman. The inhabitants are predominantly Arabs.
The highest point in Jordan is the mountain Jebel Umm ad-Daami (1834 metres), and the lowest point is the Dead Sea (408 metres below sea level).
About Four-fifth of the country is a desert, and a small portion of the land is arable. Jordan is also part of the Holy Land and attracts many visitors for pilgrimage. The holy sites of Jordan mentioned in the Bible are Mount Nebo, Madaba, Al-Maghtas, the location for the Baptism of Jesus and Umm ar-Rasas.
Jordan is renowned for its strong tradition of hospitality and awe-inspiring monuments and landmarks that tell the story of its ancient history. Widely known as one of the safest destinations in the Middle East, the country offers an appealing mix of traditional and modern. In the Capital, Amman, you’ll find ancient ruins alongside upscale malls and a bustling nightlife scene. It makes a convenient base for tourists to see the antiquities for which the country is famous.
Head a few hours north to the ancient city of Jerash or a few hours south to the ultra-popular Petra, where you can explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Siq and the Treasury.
You’ll also want to spend some time in Wadi Rum, a protected desert landscape (and the ancestral home of the Bedouin people) that’s filled with red dunes and sandstone escarpments. Other highlights include the Mujib Nature Reserve on the Dead Sea, where travellers can bob about in the salty, mineral-rich water and the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea, home to lovely beaches, popular scuba diving sites, and the port where cruise ships dock. For stunning valley views, head to the top of Mount Nebo, or join a tour to Madaba to get your fix of biblical history.
Some peculiar tourist attractions include:
Jordan is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). Daylight Savings Time occurs between April and October.
For Nigerians, you will need to contact the closest Jordanian Embassy to obtain a visa before you arrive. However, if you are travelling as a group of 5 persons by air, you can get a visa on arrival if you subscribe to a tour package for at least 2 consecutive nights.
Entrance visas are obtainable at the airport for visitors arriving by aeroplane. You only need an international passport (6 months valid) and 40 JD/ 60 USD. Those arriving by land through the Allen by Bridge/ King Hussein Bridge (Israel-Jordan at the West Bank) must get a visa before arrival, as visas cannot be obtained at this border. At the Wadi Araba Border (Aqaba/Eilat) and at the Sheikh Hussein Border (most northern border of Jordan-Israel), you can obtain a visa for 40 JD. If you plan to stay in Jordan for more than two weeks, you must register at the nearest police station.
Further about visa: For Non-restricted nationalities, individual travellers, if the travellers book a tour through a travel operator and are staying more than 2 consecutive nights in Jordan, travel operator arrange it for travellers, at no cost.
Please note that the above is subject to change according to government regulations. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for updated information.
The tradition of tolerance and appreciation for diversity has long been a hallmark of Hashemite Jordan. It has helped provide a stable social foundation on which to build the country. It can be said that many of the characteristics of Jordanian society are found in their most potent form in Bedouin culture.
For instance, Bedouins are most famous for their hospitality, and it is part of their creed—rooted in the harshness of desert life—that no traveller is turned away. The tribal structure of Arab society is also most visible among the Bedouins, where the clan is at the centre of social life.
The majority of Jordan’s 10.205 million people are Arabs descended from the various tribes that have migrated to the area over the years from all directions. One of the best-known groups from Jordan’s population is the Bedouin. It is challenging to count Bedouins, but it is generally known that most of Jordan’s population is of Bedouin origin. Some Jordanians are of Palestinian origin, having been forced from their homeland during the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel. Jordan was the only Arab state to grant all Palestinians the right to Jordanian citizenship. Many have exercised that option, playing an important part in Jordan’s political and economic life.
Arabic is the official language, but many Jordanians speak English, especially in big cities and tourist sites.
There are other dialects spoken, with local inflexions and accents. However, these are mutually intelligible and similar to Levantine Arabic spoken in parts of Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria.
Jordanians are predominantly Sunni Muslims; Christians constitute a vast proportion of the rest, of whom two-thirds adhere to the Greek Orthodox church. Other Christian groups include the Greek Catholics, also called the Melchites, and the small Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, or Syrian Jacobite Church. The Armenians and several Protestant denominations also represent communities whose converts came almost entirely from other Christian sections.
Holidays in Jordan are either religious (Islamic or Christian) or celebrations of important events in Jordanian or Arab history. Non-Islamic holidays are fixed, while Islamic holidays vary according to the Muslim lunar calendar.
The most important holidays are Eid al-Fitr: a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan – the month of fasting, and Eid al-Adha: the end of the month of Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
Many better hotels and restaurants will add 10% to your bill. However, smaller establishments usually expect you to leave a tip in line with the service you received. Taxi drivers are generally not tipped, but it is customary to pay the nearest round figure to the price on the meter. It may be difficult to get change for a large bill, so carry plenty of small denominations and coins for taxis. Usually, porter gets 2 JDs, drivers get 10 JDs per day and guides receive 20 JDs tip per day. In the end, it refers to the clients how much he/she happy with the service.
Arabic cuisine delights the gourmet, and feasting is a preoccupation of Jordan. Dishes will even satisfy the health-conscious because most are made with grain, cheese, yoghurt, fresh and dried fruits and vegetables. Meat goes a long way with these grains and vegetables, and even the simplest ingredients can produce a surprisingly beautiful creation. Jordan’s cuisine, although unique, is part of a distinctive culinary heritage of the Middle East, which has been savoured for well over a thousand years.
Alcoholic beverages can be bought in most hotels, but most local restaurants do not serve alcohol.
Western Jordan has essentially a Mediterranean climate with a hot, dry summer, a cool, wet winter and two short transitional seasons. From February to May, this area of Jordan is full of flowers and plants; over 2000 different species. However, about 75% of the country can have a desert climate with less than 200 mm of rain annually. In the highlands around Petra, temperatures drop considerably in winter, and there is a good chance of snowfall. The only exception is Aqaba, where temperatures are still around 15 degrees Celsius in winter.
Best time to visit Jordan: The ideal time to visit Jordan is definitely during the end of summer and spring to ensure that the rain won’t ruin your excursions.
Jordan is a stable and safe country, and it makes extensive efforts to guarantee the safety of tourists. Crime in Jordan is very low by international standards. This is mainly due to the preventative measures designed to reduce crime and provide education and alternative activities for teenagers.
Jordan is one of the cleanest and safest countries in the region, but it is advisable to take precautions until your digestive system adjusts. Hotels rated four-star and up have their filtering systems, and their tap water is safe to drink. In other places, bottled water is recommended. All fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly, and salads and cold meats sitting out for a long time should be avoided, especially during the summer months. All Jordanian dairy products are pasteurized and safe.
Medical services are well developed throughout Jordan, with a medical centre or clinic in every town and village. There are hospitals in Amman, Aqaba, Ma’an, Kerak, Madaba, Petra, Zarqa, Irbid and Ramtha. Many of the doctors have been trained overseas and speak English in the larger towns and cities. Antibiotics and other drugs generally sold on prescription in the West are often available over the counter in Jordan. You should carry prescriptions of any medicaments you may need, ensuring you have the generic name as your specific brand may not be available. If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair and a copy of the prescription.
Travel to Jordan no longer requires a PCR test from the country of departure or upon arrival. All non-Jordanians need to register on the platform https://www.gateway2jordan.gov.jo/ to receive their QR code before departure to Jordan.
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Fall and winter evenings are cooler, so a sweater or jacket is a good idea. In summer, days are hot, so you need protection against the sun: a long-sleeved shirt, hat, sunglasses etc. Especially for women, it is advisable not to wear too revealing clothes; Jordanian men respect women, but they often get the impression that western women are “easy”, which can lead to unwanted advances.
You will notice that interacting with local people is most pleasant if you respect their culture.
Handmade souvenirs of wood, ceramics and silver are trendy. They can be bought at markets or in souvenir shops. Don’t forget to bargain when you are on a souvenir hunt!
Taking photos is usually not a problem, but if you want to take a photo of a Jordanian, ask first if they are okay with it. Muslim women, in particular, cannot be photographed without permission. Military installations, palaces, and residences of the Royal Family are not permitted to be photographed.
Suppose you have high-tech cameras or photography equipment. In that case, you must obtain permission from the interior ministry and police before arriving, or the police will keep them at the airport until you depart the country.
Jordan’s electricity supply is 220 volts/50 cycles AC. Sockets are generally of the two-pronged European variety, while a variety of other sockets and plugs—especially the 13 amp square three pinned plug—are in use. To be safe, bring a multi-purpose adapter. American equipment requires both an adaptor and a transformer. Most adaptors and transformers are readily available in electrical shops throughout Jordan.