The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
The word Jordan is a combination of two words: Jor, and Dan; they are the two northern tributaries feeding Jordan River. By the time the word became Urdan, or Urdon. Arabs then named it Al-Urdon. The word urdon, means in Arabic forcefulness and triumph. It was said, too, Urdon was the name of one of Noah’s grandchildren. The old Greek name of Jordan is (Jordanem) and (Jordan), meaning the cliff or the deep steep. When King Abdullah Ben Al Hussein founded the Emirate, he named it the Arab Orient Emirate, then, it got its independence under the name of Trans of Jordan. Later, it became known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a Kingdome for the Monarchy form of government, and Hashemite for Bani Hashem Dynasty.
Jordan is located at south western Asia, in the middle of the Arabian Orient, the southern part of Bilad Al-Sham (greater Syria), and the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan became an independent state in May 25, 1946, it was a founding member of the Arab League in 1945, and joined the United Nations in 1955.
Civil Administration Divisions
Jordan is divided into 12 governorates; each consists of a number provinces (Liwaa) and districts (Qadaa), where the number of provinces is 48, and districts is 38. The Major cities of Jordan are: Amman (the Capital), Irbid, Al-Zarqa, Al-Mafraq, Ajloun, Jerash, Madaba, Al-Salt, Al-Karak, Al-Tafeileh, Ma’an, and Aqab.
The Capital Governorate (Amman)
It is the Governorate where the Capital of Jordan Amman at. It is one of the 12 governorates in Jordan, where the most important state institutions and all the government departments are, and the Parliament, which is locate in Al-Abdali area. The Capital Governorate is the most populated, and the third largest in terms of area, after Ma’an and Al-Mafraq governorates. It is the most important governorate, and represents the central nerve of the state of Jordan.
Jordan population is about 6.2 million, as estimated in 2011. Population growth rate is about 2.67%, while the population density is about 60/km2. The main features of Jordan topography are their extension alongside the north-south direction; the Low Land region (Al-Ghour) is extended at the west in the north-south direction, followed to the east in the same direction is the mountain series, and followed to the east by the Jordanian desert.
Jordan Rift Valley
Jordan Rift Valley extends from the north western corner of Jordan to the south western corner (Gulf of Aqaba); it is divided into three parts:
- Jordan Valley (Jordan River Ghour): With the Jordan River to its west and the mountain series to the east. It is mainly used for irrigated agriculture, and all of it is populated. The plains of the river are known as (Al-Zawer). A non-cultivated strip of land is separating Al-Zawer from the Ghour, which is called Al-Katar. The Ghor lands are bounded by the edges of the mountains and Al-Katar. A number of water streams, tributaries to the Jordan River are running across the Jordan Valley, coming from the mountains with various areas and importance, and making fanning strips.
- The Deaf Sea: It is the lowest spot on earth (420 m below sea level), with a multiple of touristic establishments at its north-eastern corner. There are some developed settlements at its east and south-eastern parts.
- Wadi Araba: With an extension of about 170 km, there are some clusters of inhabited spots.
The mountain series form a division between Jordan Valley and the eastern desert. They consist of one Plateau with a series of peaks and vaults, and extend from the Yarmouk River to the Saudi borders in the south. The average height of their peaks is about 1200 m above sea level. They gradually descend towards the east to connect with the Desert Plateau, while the western sides descend steeply towards the Jordan valley to the west. They include the following administrative regions, from north to south: Ajloun, Balqa, Al-Karak, and Ma’an, respectively. The average peaks’ heights of Ajlou region is about 850 m above sea level, where its southern part takes the shape of vaults and the northern part forms the Irbid plains. The average heights of Al-Salt region is about 925 m above sea level, where Al-Salt vault appears at the northern part and Madab corrugated plains extend at the southern part. The average heights of Al-Karak region is about 1150 m above sea level, where the southern parts are higher than the northern parts, and leveled land surface in the middle with cities and towns around the farming lands. The average heights of Ma’an region is about 1300 m above sea level, where Al-Sharah heights steeply descend towards Wadi Araba to the west. The most known peaks of Al-Sharah are Mount Al-Mabrak with the height of 1734 m, and Mount Haroun with the height of 1336 m south west of Petra. In Hesma Plateau in Ma’an, there are Mount Rum with a peak of 1754 m, Mount Um Al-Dami with a peak of 1854 m, the highest peak in Jordan, and Wadi Rum, which is also called the Moon Valley, for having a terrain similar to the terrains of the Moon. These heights are the main regions in Jordan for being the intensively populated regions, where most of the people of Jordan are dwelling due to the prevailing normal conditions of weather and soil, and where the main economic activities are. The widest width of these mountains is around 50 km. Land developement and economic activities are less in the southern parts.
Jordan Desert (Badia)
It is also called the Eastern Desert, or the Desert Plateau. It is the eastern extension of the Mountainous Plateau in Jordan, the northern extension of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Plateau, and the southern section of the Syrian Desert (Badiat Al-Sham). In general, the land of the Desert Plateau is corrugated; having some mountain series, as in the south western part, especially in Ma’an. There are also some land depressions, lowlands, and longitude valleys such as Al-Jafer Depression, Dissi Lowland, and Al-Serhan Valley. Al-Hammad Desert occupies wide areas of this Plateau, sandy lands are scattered at Hesma Plateau, and the basaltic volcanic stony lands are at the north eastern part. This Desert Plateau forms 75% of the total area of Jordan. The natural conditions of this desert have reduced the settling centers in it, yet, most of it is not having any people settling. When seeing the topographic maps of Jordan, one can immediately notices that the populated clusters are in the highlands, and to a certain extent in the Rift Valley (Al-Ghour), while rarely in the Jordanian Desert.
Jordan climate is a mixture of Mediterranean (at the highlands where summer is mild, and winter is cold), subtropical (at Jordan Rift Valley where summer is hot, and winter is worm), and desert climate (At Jordan Badia, where summer is hot, and winter is cold). The monthly average temperature in January in Amman, Irbid, and Aqaba are 7, 8, 16 ºC, respectively; it rises in July to 25, 25, 31 ºC, respectively. The hottest month of the year is August, where the average monthly temperature in Amman, Irbid, and Aqaba are 25, 25, 36 ºC, respectively. Annual precipitation is more than 290 mm in each, Amman and Irbid, while in Aqaba it goes down to 35 mm.
The Jordanian Dinar (JOD) is the currency used in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is issued by the Jordanian Central Bank. The Jordanian Dinar can be divided into 1000 Fils, or 100 Piaster, The JOD is available in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 banknote. Coins, however are available in JOD 0.5, and 0.25. In general, the JOD exchange rate against the US$ is fixed, where JOD1 = US$ 1.41.