General Info

Middle East

92,300 sq km (35,637 sq miles)

6,300,000 (2009)

Population Density
68.3 per sq km


Constitutional Monarchy since 1952

Jordan borders Israel (and the Palestinian National Authority Region), the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. At 400m (1,300ft) below sea level, the Dead Sea, in the northwest of Jordan, is the lowest point on earth and one of the country's most distinctive features; the Red Sea, to which Jordan has a narrow access at Aqaba in the southwest, is teeming with life.

The River Jordan flows into the Dead Sea, and there are plans to build a canal - the Two Seas Canal (or the Dead-Red Canal) - that would link the Dead Sea to the Red Sea. Capital Amman perches above the Dead Sea Depression, at a height of 800m (2,625ft), surrounded to the north by undulating hills, and by desert escarpments to the south, on which graze the sheep and goat herds of nomadic tribes.

Jordan's northeastern flank is flat desert sprinkled with oases, while the spectacular southeastern desert is characterised by wind-eroded forms and brightly coloured sandstone cliffs.

Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken. French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken in many tourist areas.

Over 92% Sunni Muslim, with 2% Shi'a and Druze Muslim. A significant Greek Orthodox Christian minority (6%) resides mainly in the villages around the hill city of Madaba.

GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 between March and October - dates vary)

Social Conventions
Handshaking is the customary form of greeting. Jordanians are proud of their Arab culture and hospitality is a matter of great importance. Visitors are made to feel very welcome and Jordanians are happy to act as hosts and guides, keen to inform tourists about their traditions and culture. Islam always plays an important role in society and it is essential that Muslim beliefs are respected. Arabic coffee will normally be served continuously during social occasions. To signal that no more is wanted, slightly tilt the cup when handing it back, otherwise it will be refilled. If invited for dinner, a small gift is customarily given. Women are expected to dress modestly and beachwear must only be worn at the beach or poolside.

It is polite to ask permission to take photographs of people and livestock; in some places photography is forbidden.

Head of Government
Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulki since 2016

Head of State
King Abdullah II since 1999