Official name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Area: 92,300 square kilometers (57,355 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Jabal Ramm (1,734 meters/5,689 feet)
Lowest point on land: Dead Sea (408 meters/1,339 feet below sea level)
Time zone: 2 P.M. = noon GMT; has Daylight Savings Time
Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern
Longest distances: 562 kilometers (349 miles) from northeast to southwest; 349 kilometers (217 miles) from northwest to southeast
Land boundaries: 1,619 kilometers (1,006 miles) total boundary length; Iraq 181 kilometers (112 miles); Israel 238 kilometers (148 miles); Saudi Arabia 728 kilometers (452 miles); Syria 375 kilometers (233 miles); West Bank 97 kilometers (60 miles)
Coastline: 26 kilometers (16 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Jordan is a Middle Eastern country located to the northwest of the Arabian h2ninsula. It is landlocked except for its southernmost edge, where some 26 kilometers (16 miles) of shoreline along the Gulf of Aqaba provide access to the Red Sea. The West Bank, territory west of the Jordan River that Jordan had annexed after the 1948–49 war with Israel, has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war between these countries. Jordan surrendered its claim to the region in 1988.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Jordan has no territories or dependencies.
Jordan has a Mediterranean climate, with cool winters and hot, dry summers. Average temperatures in Amman are 4°C to 12°C (39°F to 54°F) in January and 18°C to 32°C (64°F to 90°F) in August. The khamsin , a hot, dry desert wind from the Arabian peninsula, can last for several days. In the region surrounding the Dead Sea, summer highs of around 38°C (100°F) are common, and the highest temperature ever recorded here was 51°C (124°F). Average annual rainfall ranges from less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) in the south to around 58 centimeters (20 inches) in the northwest. Most rain falls between November and April.
|S EASON||M ONTHS||A VERAGE TEMPERATURE : °C ELSIUS (°F AHRENHEIT )|
|Summer||May to September||18°C to 32°C (64°F to 90°F)|
|Winter||November to February||4°C to 12°C (39°F to 54°F)|
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
The eastern four-fifths of Jordan is part of the Syrian Desert, which also extends over parts of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Jordan's western border is formed by a structural depression occupied by the Jordan River Valley, the Dead Sea, and, farther to the south, the Wadi al Araba. The depression is separated from the desert along its entire length by an upland known as the Eastern Heights, or Mountain Heights, Plateau.
The Jordan River Valley forms the northern portion of the Great Rift Valley, an enormous north–south geological rift that continues southward along the Red Sea and southward into eastern Africa as far as Mozambique.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Seacoast and Undersea Features
The southwestern edge of the country has a short border on the Gulf of Aqaba.
Sea Inlets and Straits
The Gulf of Aqaba is an inlet of the Red Sea. The Gulf separates the Sinai and Arabian Peninsulas.
The coastline at Aqaba has sandy beaches and a scenic mountain backdrop that makes it popular with tourists.
6 INLAND LAKES
Jordan shares the Dead Sea with Israel and with the occupied West Bank territory. The world's lowest body of water (and the lowest point on Earth at 408 meters/1,339 feet below sea level), this saltwater lake (or inland sea) has a high concentration of minerals that makes it seven or eight times as salty as the ocean. The large Azraq Oasis in the northern part of the country is the most important source of water in the Jordanian desert.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Jordan has three main rivers: the Jordan River and its two major tributaries, the Yarmuk and Zarqa Rivers, both of which join it in the northern part of the country. The Jordan rises near the conjunction of the Israeli, Syrian, and Lebanese borders. The Yarmuk, its principal tributary, forms parts of the Jordanian, Syrian, and Israeli borders before flowing into the Jordan. The Zarqa River rises and empties entirely within the East Bank.
Elevations in Jordan's desert range from 600 to 900 meters (about 2,000 to 3,000 feet). A forbidding landscape called the Black Desert, or Basalt Desert, makes up the northern and northeastern parts of the Jordanian desert, extending into Syria and Iraq. The desert of central and southern Jordan includes the Wadi Sarhan to the east and the Al Jafr Basin in the southeast. To the east, the land descends to the scattered hills, low mountains, and broad wadis of the Al Mudawwara Desert.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
The plateau of the Eastern Heights includes hilly terrain.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
The high sandstone and granite formations of the Wadi Rum, in the southwestern part of Jordan, rise to over 1,524 meters (5,000 feet) and include the country's highest point, Jabal Ramm.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
The deep canyons of the Wadi Rum help make the landscape of this region one of the most dramatic in Jordan.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
Separating the country's western rift from the desert is a chain of high limestone plateaus with average elevations of between 900 and 1,200 meters (3,000 and 4,000 feet) and summits reaching over 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) in the south.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
In October 2001, the Tannur Dam, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) south of Amman on the Wadi Hasi, began providing irrigation for farmland in the area.
DID YOU KNOW?
The present-day city of Amman was called Philadelphia during the reign of Ptolemy II (282–246 B.C. )
14 FURTHER READING
Caulfield, Annie. Kingdom of the Film Stars: Journey into Jordan . Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 1997.
Rollin, Sue, and Jane Streetly. Jordan . New York: W. W. Norton, 1996.
Sicker, Martin. Between Hashemites and Zionists: The Struggle for Palestine, 1908-1980 . New York: Holmes & Meier, 1989.