Jordan

Driving Directions Jordan

JORDAN is almost landlocked except for a short coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba. It is bounded by Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Israel. Jordan is a predominantly arid country whose main topographical feature is a high, rugged plateau that rises on the River Jordan’s east side. It reaches elevations of over 1,500 meters or 4,000 feet in the south of the country and is dissected by steep-sided gorges.

The capital, Amman, is located at its northern end. The plateau loses height on its eastern side into a large area of semi-desert and desert. In general, summers are hot and dry, and winters cool and wet with variations related to altitude. The east has a desert climate.

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When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, Jordan lost most agricultural land, and fertile, watered land is found only in the extreme west. Since under 5 percent of the land is arable and only part of this irrigated, crop production is insufficient for the country’s needs. As a result, Jordan has to import some foodstuffs.

The manufacturing industry produces cement, iron, pharmaceuticals, processed food, fertilizers, and textiles. Still, the country’s economy relies largely on economic aid from rich Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia.

The country has a modern network of roads that link the major cities. In 1994, a historic peace agreement was signed with Israel, which ended 46 years of hostilities.

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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.

The southwestern edge of the country has a short border on the Gulf of Aqaba. The Gulf of Aqaba is an inlet of the Red Sea. The Gulf separates the Sinai and Arabian Peninsulas.

Did you know about Jordan?

The present-day city of Amman was called Philadelphia during the reign of Ptolemy II (282–246 B.C.).

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