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Surprises from the Desert:
30 Fascinating Facts about Jordan

From its stunning landscapes to its rich cultural history, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stands as an intriguing destination in the Middle East. As you start learning about Jordan, the complexities of its past and the vibrancy of its present begin to unfold, weaving a fascinating tapestry that truly sets this country apart.

Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or someone drawn to diverse cultures, Jordan promises a wealth of experiences – and there are some fascinating facts about Jordan too.

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From the rose-red city of Petra – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – to the Roman ruins of Jerash which showcases the grandeur of an empire that once spanned continents, Jordan is not merely a repository of the past. Its modern cities like Amman and Aqaba pulse with life, offering a taste of the contemporary Jordanian lifestyle.

As you’ll discover through these facts about Jordan, history and present come together in a special way you can experience first-hand; its warm, hospitable people welcome visitors with open arms, and this post can inspire you to start planning your trip.

Facts about Jordan Geography

  1. For our list of facts about Jordan, we’ll start with the basics. Jordan is a Middle-Eastern country. 
  2. Jordan has many neighbors: Jordan is bound by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Red Sea to the south, and Israel and the Palestinian National Authority to the west. 
  3. Jordan is landlocked except at its southern end, with only 26 kilometers (16 miles) of shoreline along the Gulf of Aqaba providing access to the Red Sea.
  4. Jordan is a small country, spanning 34,000 square miles. Unbelievable considering how many things it has to offer!
  5. Jordan is one of the world’s least forested countries in the world. In fact, forests account for less than 2% of the country’s ecosystems.
  6. Jordan is also home to the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea! It sits on the eastern border of the country and its high saline content.  

Facts about Jordan’s Culture & Politics

  1. Like many other countries in the Middle East, the official language of Jordan is Arabic.
  2. The official religion of Jordan is Islam, and the majority of the population is Muslim. You can find a Christian minority, though.
  3. The rare Black Iris is Jordan’s national flower. It only grows in Wadi Rum and only in spring.
  4. This is one of the least known Jordan country facts: Jordan has a royal family and the King is Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein. Yep, monarchies are well and alive in the Middle East.
  5. That should explain why its official name is the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”
  6. Each color in the Jordanian flag has a meaning: white represents the Umayyad dynasty and a peaceful and bright future, green represents the Fatimid Caliphates and red represents the Hashemite dynasty, the current ruling dynasty. It also symbolizes the Arab revolt (bloody struggle for freedom).
  7. Unlike some of her Arab neighbors, Jordan has barely any oil and only modest natural gas reserves. 
  8. Jordan is one of only two Arab nations to have made peace with Israel.

Facts about Jordan’s History & Heritage

  1. Jordan is a treasure trove of archeological and historical sites. In fact, there are over 100,000 archaeological sites in Jordan. 
  2. Jordan has the world’s oldest dam. The Jawa Dam was built in the 4th millennium BCE, and the remains are located in the driest areas of the Black Desert of Eastern Jordan.
  3. Some of the oldest statues in the world were found in Jordan. In 2022, Archaeologists uncovered a Neolithic complex of 9,000-year-old stone carvings in Jordan’s southeastern desert. 
  4. It has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Petra, Wadi Rum, Quseir Amra, Um er-Rasas, and Al-Maghtas.
  5. Moving on to the historic side, Jordan has a lot of biblical associations and is part of the Holy Land. It is the home of Mount Nebo, where Moses gazed upon the Land; Bethany Beyond the Jordan where Jesus was baptized by John at the east of the Jordan River; and Madaba, home of the oldest mosaic map of the Holy Land.

Facts about Jordan’s Cities

  1. The capital city of Jordan is Amman, which is also the largest city in the country.
  2. Sticking to Amman, the capital city is one of the oldest cities on the planet. It was founded in 7250 BC and sits where it used to be the site of Ain Ghazal, one of the world’s largest Neolithic settlements. 
  3. Amman, like Rome, was built across seven hills, known as “jabals.” The city has grown a lot since then and now covers 19 of these jabals.
  4. For those who enjoy linguistic tidbits, Amman was once known as “Philadelphia.” The name came from the Egyptian pharaoh Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-246 BC). He rebuilt the city before it was conquered by the Romans.
  5. Jordan is home to Petra, a city built by the Nabateans whose beauty and craftsmanship has earned it a spot within the New Seven World Wonders.  
  6. Despite being Jordan’s crown jewel, only around 15% of Petra has been explored by archaeologists.
  7. Isn’t it amazing how the Romans reached practically every corner of the world? And that includes Jordan. The country is home to the Ancient city of Jerash, which is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins outside Italy.

Other Facts about Jordan

  1. Wanna walk across Jordan? Sure! The country has The Jordan Trail, which is a long-distance hiking trail in Jordan connecting the length of Jordan from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. Completing the trail takes about 40 days to do and passes by some of the country’s best-known places.
  2. Their national dish is the Mansaf, a tasty meal made with lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur. (Learn more about Jordanian food here!)
  3. Since we’re talking about food, here’s one of the most interesting facts about Jordan: it’s considered polite to refuse a meal three times before accepting it.
  4. Many of Jordan’s landscapes are prime movie locations. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed at Petra. Today, Wadi Rum attracts film crews from far and wide. Movies like The Martian, Red Planet, and Dune were filmed in the stunning desert. 

Have any other questions about Jordan, or do you know a fascinating fact about Jordan too? Share it in the comments below!

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I fell in love with Jordan after my first visit in 2016; now I love returning to explore more – and writing guides to help you do the same.

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