About Jordan

Jordan, a Muslim country in the heart of the Middle East, is home to diverse communities with various ethnic groups living in its small land. While Islam is the major practiced religion, Christianity is also practiced by almost 10% of the population, which amounts to around 7.2 million people.

The culture of Jordan follows Arab traditions, and the official language is Arabic. However, English is widely used in commerce, government, and is taught at public and private schools.

Most of Jordan’s population, around 95%, are either Bedouin or from Palestinian origins, while the remaining 5% come from different ethnic origins such as Circassians, Chechens, Armenians, and Kurds.

Geographically, Jordan is located northwest of Saudi Arabia, with Iraq to its east and Palestine to its west, and Syria to its north. The country has access to the Red Sea via the port city of Aqaba, situated at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Despite adhering to traditional culture, Jordan’s younger generation is producing new forms of music, arts, and theater, leading to the emergence of new cultural hotspots with cafes, bookshops, and galleries.

Geographic co-ordinates

29,11 – 33,22 N, 34,59 – 39,18 E

Weather

Jordan is renowned for its sunny weather, boasting over 310 days of sunshine per year. The period from May to October is almost exclusively dry and sunny, with little to no rainfall. Despite the hot temperatures during summers, the mountainous regions experience low humidity, making the climate relatively pleasant, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 36°C and averaging around 32°C. The nights, on the other hand, are usually cool and enjoyable. The Jordan valley, particularly the Dead Sea area, can be exceptionally hot, with temperatures occasionally reaching the low forties. The weather in Aqaba, located in the south, is similar to the Jordan valley but with less rainfall.

In the Dead Sea area, below sea level, winters are relatively warm, and summers can be scorching. Rainfall typically occurs between November and March, with colder weather conditions experienced in December and January.

Visitors to Jordan are advised to pack lightweight cottons and linens during the summer months between May and September. Warmer clothes are necessary for the winter months and cool summer evenings. Rainwear is essential from November to April.

During the summer months, daytime temperatures frequently exceed 36°C and average around 32°C, while the winter months from November to April bring moderately cool and sometimes cold weather, averaging approximately 13°C. Frost is fairly common during the winter months, except in the rift depression, and snow is a rare occurrence in Amman.

 

Shopping – Credit Cards

Major credit cards, including American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, are generally accepted at hotels, restaurants, and larger retail stores in Jordan. However, it’s important to note that smaller shops often prefer payment in cash using the local Jordanian currency. When shopping in the local souks, cash payment in the local currency is usually necessary, and credit cards may not be accepted.

 

Currency

The official currency of Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar, or JD, which is subdivided into 1000 fils or 100 qirsh or piasters. Paper notes are available in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 JD. Coins come in denominations of 0.5 JD, 0.25 JD, and 100, 50, 25, 10, and 5 fils.

The current exchange rate for the Jordanian Dinar is 1 JOD = 1.41 USD. Currency exchange services are available at major banks, exchange booths, and most hotels. It’s important to avoid street money-changers to prevent any fraudulent activities. The Jordanian Central Bank sets the daily exchange rates.

Local Time

During the winter season, Jordan observes the Central European Time (CET) zone and switches to wintertime on the last Friday of October, setting the clocks one hour backward to GMT+2.

On the other hand, Jordan observes Daylight Saving Time (DST) during the summer season and sets the clocks one hour forward to GMT+3 on the last Friday of March.

Calendar

In Jordan used the AD and AH calendars , but accepted to be used in all departments and institutions and schools is the Gregorian calendar (the international).

Business Hours:

In Jordan, government offices, banks, and most offices are closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Government departments are open from 8:00 to 15:00 from Sunday to Thursday. During Ramadan, the working hours are from 9:00 to 14:00 from Sunday to Thursday. Banks operate from 8:00 to 15:00 from Sunday to Thursday, while trade organizations are open from 9:00 to 19:00 from Saturday to Thursday. Stores are open from 9:00 until the end of the day. Some supermarkets operate 24 hours a day.

Weekends:

Friday and Saturday are considered the official weekend days in Jordan, during which banks and most offices are closed. Post offices operate on Saturdays, and large shops in Amman are usually closed on Fridays but are likely open on Saturdays. Franchise stores and malls are open seven days a week, while small shops are typically open during the weekends.

Eid Holidays:

Jordan celebrates several holidays, including Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, the two ‘ids (festivals; ‘Id al-Fitr and ‘Id al-Adha), and other major Islamic and secular events such as Independence Day and the birthday of the late King Hussein. ‘Id al-Fitr, also known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast, marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. ‘Id al-Adha, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage rites at Mina, Saudi Arabia, and is celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Communal prayer (salat) is performed at daybreak on the first day of the festival, and it starts on the 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

Jordan Visa:

Most nationalities can get a visa upon arrival in Jordan or from Jordanian diplomatic and consular missions abroad or from major ports of entry. Visa fees for a single entry are 40 JOD, 60 JOD for two entries, and 120 JOD for multiple entries.

Airlines:

Royal Jordanian is the official airline of Jordan and operates as a regular international airline. It was founded on August 9th, 1963, and began its operations on December 15th, 1963. The airline was initially provided by private sectors and later purchased by the Jordanian government to support the expansion of its activities.

Airports:

Jordan has three main airports: International Airport for international flights, Amman airport for charter flights, and Aqaba airport for domestic and charters.

Jordan Land Borders:

Land entry into Jordan is possible through Egypt, Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, except at the King Hussein Bridge and the ferryboat from Egypt. Departure tax fees are 10 JOD/$14 for single entry and 40 JOD/$56 for multiple entries, to be paid in local currency.

From Israel, there are three borders to cross into Jordan: the North border (Sheikh Hussein bridge), the Allenby border (King Hussein bridge), and the South border (Eilat – Aqaba border), which does not have visa fees.

Ports:

The Port of Aqaba is located on the north shore of the Gulf of Aqaba in southern Jordan and can accommodate ships handling various cargos. One can travel by sea from Aqaba port to Taba and Nwebe3 in Egypt.

Ground Transport:

Taxis are inexpensive and often the most convenient form of transportation in Jordan, even for long distances, such as the trip between Amman and Aqaba. Private taxis are painted yellow, and they can be taken from ranks outside larger hotels or hailed in the street. Taxis have meters, but these

may not always be used at night, so it is advisable to agree on the cost beforehand. The same applies to long journeys. Taxi drivers are friendly, know the city well, and usually speak English. It is considered appropriate for a woman to sit in the back of the taxi.

Several companies offer charter bus and regular tours in a fleet of modern, air-conditioned coaches. For tourist licenses, certain conditions must be met by the tourist buses.

Jordanian Cuisine:

Jordanian cuisine is diverse, ranging from baking, sautéing, and grilling to stuffing of vegetables, meat, and poultry. Olive oil, one of the largest producers of which is in Jordan, is the main cooking oil. Herbs, garlic, spices, onion, tomato sauce, and lemon are typical flavors found in Jordanian dishes, which can vary from extremely hot and spicy to mild. The most popular appetizer is hummus, a puree of chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other well-known appetizers include Ful Medames, koubba maqliya, labaneh, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, olives, and pickles.

The most distinctive Jordanian dish is mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, which symbolizes generosity in Jordanian culture. Fresh fruit is often served towards the end of a Jordanian meal, and there are also desserts such as baklava, hareeseh, knafeh, halva, and qatayef, a dish made especially for Ramadan.

Alcohol:

Alcohol is widely available at bars and hotels across Jordan. During Ramadan, drinks are only available to visitors in their hotels, and alcohol can also be bought from supermarkets.

Electrical System:

The electrical system in Jordan is based on 220 AC volts, 50 cycles, and requires two-pronged wall plugs. Visitors from North America will need an adapter, which is available at most hotels.

Useful Numbers:

In case of an emergency, the police, fire department or civil protection, and ambulance and first aid can be reached by dialing 199. Other numbers include tourist police at 117777 and complains concerning hotels’ services at 06 4642311.