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The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which once captivated ancient travellers, continues to enthral a whole new generation as a modern, vibrant nation.
From the haunting, primeval starkness of Wadi Rum, to the teeming centre of urban Amman, from the majestic ruins of bygone civilizations to the timeless splendour of the Dead Sea, Jordan is unveiled as a unique destination offering breathtaking and mysterious sights, high standard accommodations, exquisite cuisine and countless activities that can provide visitors with inspiration, motivation, and rejuvenation.
State of Government:
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, ruled since 1952 by his Majesty King Hussein. With the passing of the monarch in March 1999, the King eldest son, His Majesty King Abdullah the second, ascended the throne. In Jordan, executive power is vested in the Council of Ministers which is appointed by the king, and which is accountable to a two house Parlaiment. The 40 members of the Upper house "House of Notables" are appointed by the king, while the 80 deputies of the Lower House "Representative" are elected by popular vote. Constitutional provisions define the rights and duties of Jordanian citizens, while guaranteeing the right of free worship, opinion, press, association and private property.
Since 1989 all elements of the Jordanian political spectrum have demonstrated commitment to increased democracy, liberalization and consensus building. These reforms, which have been guided by the late King Hussein, have placed Jordan on an irreversible path towards democratization. The result has been greater empowerment and involvement of every day citizens in Jordan's civic life, contributing to increased stability and institutionalization, which will benefit the county far into the future.
The remarkably stable political and social climate that Jordan has enjoyed for decades under the Hashemite Dynasty continues to thrive under His Majesty King Abdullah's leadership. The new King has undertaken his father's legacy of reform, committing his country to the goals of privatization, economic liberalization, and modernization of the law.
Geography and History:
Strategically positioned at the convergence of Europe, Asia and Africa, Jordan's 89,342 square kilometers present a diversity of landscapes. From the hills and mountains of the geographic center of Jordan, the Badia plains extend in an eastward direction into Saudi Arabia. The Jordan river, flowing through the fertile Rift Valley, forms Jordan's western boundary and terminates in the dead sea. This body of water lies at the lowest point on earth, 400 meters below sea level. To the south, Port of Aqaba provides Jordan with a gateway to the Red Sea.
Jordan's climate is arid, and moderate in temperature. Winter temperatures in Amman average around 7 - 10 C in January, with July temperatures reaching 23 - 27 C. Average annual rainfall varies from less than 50 mm to over 600 mm in certain parts of the country. Amman, at over 950 meters elevation, is known for its cool, dry nights even in full summer.
Jordan's population of 4.8 million is 92% Jordanian and 8% non-Jordanian. Gender distribution is fairly even at 52% male, 48% female.
The country is young, with 40% of the population under the age of 15, and only 3% over the age of 65.
Islam is the predominant religion. 92% of the people are Sunni Muslims. 6% are Christians, while the remainder are Shia Muslims, Sunni Circassians, Chechens, Druze, and Bahai. The Muslim New Year and other Islamic holy days are public holidays.
Arabic is the official language, but English is spoken widely, especially in business.
Weights & Measures:
The system used in measuring and weights is the metric system.
The unit of currency is the Jordanian Dinar divided into 1000 fils, and the rate of exchange is 1US$ = 0.710 fils.
The electric current used in Jordan is A.C.50 cycles 220/380 volts.
Time is GMT (+ 2 in winter, + 3 in summer), or 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. Summer time is observed from April through September.