Jordan

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 5.4
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 79%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 2.5%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 89,210


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Arab 97.7 (of which 1/3 of Jordanian and 2/3 of Palestinian origin)
Circassian 1.1
Armenian1
Other 0.2



Main Cities Population
Amman 1 036 330
Zarqa 395 227
Irbid 250 645
Al Rusayfah 227 735
Al Quwaysimah 135 500
Wadi as Sir 122 032



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Amman (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer).
Summer time from March to September



Languages
Official language: Arabic.
Business language: English.

Free translation tools

Arjeeb
Free English-Arabic-English translation of texts and web pages

Ectaco
Free Arabic-English-Arabic dictionary





Religion
Religious practises : Muslims 90%
Christians 6%.


Political context

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy where King has absolute powers. Jordan (official name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) has played a pivotal role in the Middle East peace process because of its strategic geographical location.
The chief of state is the King. The monarchy is hereditary. King enjoys the executive powers. King signs and executes all laws. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. King appoints the Prime Minister as head of the government, having no fixed term of service.The cabinet, led by a Prime Minister, is appointed by the King.
The legislature is bicameral in Jordan. Its parliament called National Assembly consists of: House of Notables (the upper house) having 55 members which are appointed by the King to serve four-year terms; and the House of Representatives (the lower house) having 110 members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms. King’s veto power may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly (parliament).The people of Jordan have limited political rights. The first parliamentary elections in 22 years were held in November 1989.
Judiciary is not independent in Jordan and is subject to executive influence through the Justice Ministry and the Higher Judiciary Council whose members are appointed by the King. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1952 (amended numerous times). The country’s legal system is based on Islamic law and French codes; as well as judicial review of various legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal. The country has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The judicial language is Arabic; an interpreter can be easily arranged.
Jordan is ruled by law. However, foreign nationals cannot be guaranteed an impartial trial from the county judicial system. The corruption in the country is under control; several high profile cases of embezzlement and abuse of authority by government employees were prosecuted in 2004.


Major political parties

Political parties were not legalized in the country until 1992. There is no clear picture on the political parties in Jordan. Besides the Allies of the King Abdullah II, there is mainly only one party called Islamic Action Front which plays the real role of an opposition party.


Major political leaders

King: ABDALLAH II (since February 1999) – hereditary
Prime Minister: Nader DAHABI (since November 2007) - non-partisan


Next political election dates

House of Representatives: Year 2011




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Jordan 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 2,853 2,987 3,225
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
Pétra is one of the few magic places in the world. Pétra is a chaos of cliffs (meaning of Petra in Greek) shaped with the wind, the sand and the water, where some graves, temples and monuments have been sculpted. The different kinds of sandstones give to the site its outstanding colours: yellow, orange-coloured, pink, red, purple and blue. Pétra was the capital of Nabateans, a Semitic population, native of Arabia, which settled down in this place in the IV-th. About 600 monuments, carved in the cliff, extend over a 6 km long and 3 km large field.
Djebel Rum reaches is highest point at 1,700 m and appeared in the Tertiary era, about 30 million years ago. The Wadi Rum is a wide dry valley surrounded with cliffs of red sandstones on a granite pedestal. As they were affected by the action of the wind and the sand, cliffs took weird shapes.
The castles of the desert (Qasr), were built in VII and VIII centuries. For their own pleasure, the omeyyade princes built in the Jordanian steppe luxurious places of residence, that were decorated with mosaics, with frescoes and with stuccos. These buildings were at first seen as pensions, built by the caliphs avid to live in the desert rather than in the city. Some of them, probably used to be a stopping place for the official caravans. They were probably used to keep some kind of contact with the Arabic tribes of the desert who used to constitute an important support to the first caliphs.
Jerash is the ancient Gérasa site, abandoned since XIIth century, and re-occupied by the Circassians at the end of XIXth century. With its well protected ruins and its huge restorations, (still in progress), Jerash is undoubtedly the most spectacular Roman site of Jordan. There are 30,000 inhabitants in the modern city which is located in the whole Eastern part of the ancient site. The legend of the foundation dates from Alexandre the Great, who would have conquered a city located on the same specific place of the town and killed all its inhabitants. Veterans of the army would have then based there an establishment, named Gerasa because of the age of the founders (Gerontes).
The Kerak's region: Located on an eminence which overhangs all the region, it has developed inside its walls. The ramparts allowed it to remain protected from the bedouins raids throughout the Ottoman Era. Today this province county town with its 55,000 inhabitants is the centre of revolts provoked by the austerity plans imposed by the government in 1989 and 1996.
Aqaba : Despite its modern aspect, this city is full of history. The economic activity is mainly due to the big port which is seven kilometres away East. The second most important activity of the city is tourism, the weather is mild over the winter, and the sea-bed is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Dead Sea: The Dead Sea depression is of tectonic origin. It is one of the links of the Rift which goes from Syria to East Africa. At 392 m under sea level, it is one of the lowest places of the planet. The maximal depth is 399 m. The concentration in mineral salts prevents any animal or vegetable life. It is only supplied by the Jordan river and by some small rivers with irregular flows. The level has been going down for a few decades, because of the excessive pumping of the Jordan waters.
Amman: Amman (more than 2 million inhabitants, at a height of 750 to 1000 m) is the amazing capital of the hachemit kingdom. It seems that it will never stop growing. From day to day, the residential suburbs indefinitely extend, extending to the desert. The wide opulent avenues, the spaced out houses with tiled roofs do not remind the Middle East. In 1921, when the Emir Abdallah chose it as the capital, it was only a small circarssian village of 6,000 inhabitants. In 1947, there were still only 60,000 inhabitants. Its role as a capital, and the flock of Palestinian refugees in 1948 are at the origin of this outstanding developpement.

For more information about tourism in Jordan , check out the following web site(s) :
Jordan Tourism Board



Last modified on December 2006

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