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Jordan - Overview

Jordan shares its borders with Israel, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Dead Sea in the Northwest of Jordan is 400 metres below sea level and is the lowest point on the earth's surface. The capital city of Amman is perched above the Dead Sea at a height of 800 metres on the plateau that extends 324 kilometres from the Syrian Arab Republic to Ras en Naqab in the south. It is well known as one of the country's most distinctive features. By complete contrast the Red Sea is teeming with life.

The capital city of Amman is home to about one third of the population, approximately 2.5 million. It is often referred to as the 'white city' and it was originally built on seven hills which still make up the focal points of the city. Amman is now very well equipped with excellent hotels and tourist facilities, due to the extensive building projects in the region. The hill (jabal) areas are particularly beautiful and the central market (souk) is alive and provides a taste of tradition. The ancient city of Petra attracts a large number of tourists each year.

The population of Jordan is 6.1 million and the population density is 66 per square kilometre. The official language in Jordan is Arabic, although English is also widely spoken, as is French, German, Italian and Spanish in many tourist spots.

The religious population is made up of over 92% Sunni Muslim, with 2% being Shi'a and Druze Muslim. There is also a significant Greek Orthodox Christian minority residing in the villages around the hill city of Madaba, making up the remaining 6%.

The time zone is GMT +2 and GMT +3 between the months of March and October although the exact dates vary. The country's international dialling code is 962.

Jordan is a democracy and the Head of Government is Prime Minister Nader al Dahabi since 2007 and the Head of State is King Abdullah Ibn al-Hussein al-Hashimi since 1999.

Christmas and Easter holidays are only observed by Christian businesses. Muslim festivals are also timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon, any dates given are approximations. During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day and have feasts at night time and due to this some business patterns may be disrupted. Many restaurants are not open during the day and restrictions on smoking and drinking may be enforced.

Read more about this country

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