King Abdullah II:
His Majesty King Abdullah II is the 43rd generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. King Abdullah II assumed his constitutional powers as King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away. Following in his late father’s footsteps, King Abdullah II has placed great emphasis on improving Jordan’s economy and streamlining the government, which would lay the foundations to allow Jordan to enter the next century with confidence.
His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, the father of modern Jordan, will always be remembered as a leader who guided his country through strife and turmoil to become an oasis of peace, stability and moderation in the Middle East. Among Jordanians, his memory is cherished as the inspiration for Jordan’s climate of openness, tolerance and compassion. Known to his people as Al-Malik Al-Insan, King Hussein established a legacy which promises to guide Jordan for many years to come.
On 1 April 1965, King Hussein proclaimed his youngest brother-Amir Hassan ibn Talal-to be Crown Prince of Jordan. For almost thirty years Prince Hassan played a key role in advising his brother, the King, and in establishing a great variety of educational, academic, cultural and economic projects. Few men have such an encyclopedic knowledge of the Arab world, its traditions, history and cultures.
King Talal was popular with his citizens as the initiator of the second Jordanian constitution, the basis for the present system of democracy.
King Abdullah I:
King Abdullah, the founding father of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, was a tremendous influence on his young grandson Prince Hussein, Jordan’s late long serving king. The son of a king, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, Abdullah’s experience and knowledge spanned the Ottoman Empire and the nuclear age.
King Hussein Ibn Ali:
Sharif Hussein ibn Ali, King of Hijaz until 1924, was a key player of the Great Arab Revolt. The father of Jordan’s First King, Abdullah ibn Hussein, Sharif Hussein was buried in beit el Maqdis in Jerusalem, a city which he held particularly dear.
A visit to Jordan would provide an ideal opportunity to brush up on your Arabic! Arabic has been one of the world’s dominant languages for the last 14 centuries. Over 300 million people in over twenty countries speak this rich and enduring language. In addition to that of Jordan, Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It is the language of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam and, as such, Muslim followers study it all over the world. Therefore, while spoken Arabic consists of various dialects, the written language as preserved through the holy Qur’an remains constant throughout the years. Speakers of different Arabic dialects may experience problems understanding one another, however they all understand its classical form as exemplified in its textual representation. A Semitic language, Arabic is written from right to left.
From October through March, Jordan is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) The rest of the year; it is three hours ahead of GMT. Jordan is seven hours ahead of US Eastern Time.
Even in summer, evenings can be cool, so a sweater or shawl is advisable. Winters can be extremely cold, especially in Amman and the east; you will need a raincoat. Walking shoes are advisable since Petra and most of the archaeological sites are unpaved and sandy.
Most Jordanians work five days a week with Friday and Saturday off, but business and shopping hours are flexible. Some establishments are open from 09:30-13:30 and again from 15:30-18:00; others may be open straight through the day, from 08:00-20:00.
Government offices are open from 08:00-15:00 Sunday-Thursday. All businesses and most shops, other that those in the souqs, are closed on Friday.
Airlines, travel agencies and many shops close for the afternoon, although department stores and supermarkets remain open. Some businesses and shops are closed for part of the day on Sunday.
Shopping hours are flexible. Some shops are open from 09:30-13:30 and 15:30-18:00. Others may be open long hours, from 8:00-20:00. Shorter hours prevail during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar (symbol: JD), which is often called “JD”.
The Dinar is divided into 100 piasters (pronounced “peeaster”) or 1000 fils (“fills”).
There are 5, 10, 20, and 50 JD notes commonly used, and you will usually see prices written as 4.750, that is 4 JD and 750 fils. Coins come in the following denominations: 5, 10, 25, and 50 piasters; and in 5 and 10 fils. It is useful to carry some coins of low denominations (1 JD notes).
Currency can be exchanged at major banks and most hotels. Street money-changers are best avoided. Exchange rates are set daily by the Central Bank of Jordan.
The electrical system is based on 220 AC volts, 50 cycles, and requires rounded two-prong wall plugs. Visitors from the USA will need a transformer, which most hotels can provide.
Jordan is primarily a Muslim country, although the freedom of all religions is protected. Muslin women often covers their heads, arms, legs.
Western women are not subject to these customs, but very revealing clothing is never appropriate, and conservative dress is advisable for both men and woman in downtown Amman and outside the cities. Shorts are rarely worn by either sex, and would be out of place in the downtown area. Topless sunbathing is prohibited and one-piece swimsuits are preferred, although two-piece swimsuits are acceptable at hotel pools. Public displays of affection are rare; however, it is not considered unusual for friends to hold hands, regardless of their gender.
Jordan’s stability in a turbulent region has attracted large numbers of refuges and temporary residents from neighboring regions such as the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon. In recent years it has also seen tens of thousand of Jordanian expatriates returning from abroad.
Jordan’s strong rural based lifestyle, grounded in the nation’s villages and deserts, has taken a slight shift in recent years. The trend has been to urbanize. About sixty four percent of Jordanians now reside in towns. However, the Jordanian cultural identity is firmly rooted in rural and desert communities.
Total population of Jordan as of 2004 is 5,200,000.
Arab cuisine is one of the most elaborated and sophisticated in the world. Food is also an important part of the culture and is used to express hospitality and generosity. Jordanians are exceptionally hospitable. Do not be surprised if you are invited to share a meal in someone’s home… when Jordanians invite you, they mean it! The local cuisine includes a dizzying savory variety of appetizers, called “mezzeh”, aromatic breads, wonderful sweets soaked in honey, pistachios and others, and “mansaf”, Jordan’s traditional dish of lam, yogurt sauce and rice.
Visas and Entry Formalities
Most nationalities can obtain visas at any border, port or airport EXCEPT the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge, which requires a pre-issued visa. Some nationalities require visas in advance. A single entry visa will cost you US$15.00.
A multiple entry visa costs US$ 30.00 and is valid for 6 months. Groups consisting of 5 persons and over will be granted a free collective visa if they spend a minimum of two nights in the kingdom.
Tourist visas generally expire after two weeks, and are easily renewed.
Otherwise, a penalty of US$ 2.00 per day is applicable.
The best way to experience the country is by private car with a proficient driver.
Anyone who has driven in the Middle East will know that we drive differently here; driving in Jordan should be classified as a dangerous sport. Pedestrian crossings are not respected either, so watch out when you are crossing the road.
To go to Jordan
Jordan has land borders with Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and a seaport with daily connections by ferry and fast boats to Nweiba and Sharm El Sheik in Egypt. Royal Jordanian Airlines is the official carrier for the kingdom, but the international airports in Amman and Aqaba also serve most international carriers.
Keeping in Touch
This country has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure including three mobile networks; you can even buy prepaid GSM cards. You will also find Internet facilities in major hotels and in the form of Internet cafés in virtually all cities. Besides Arabic newspapers, there is an excellent daily English-language newspaper, the Jordan Times. Major hotels also offer a wide variety of foreign newspapers and magazines.
Tipping is not compulsory, but is expected. If you were satisfied with the services of your driver or guide then it would be nice to show them your appreciation. Most restaurants add service charges to your bill, but if not a tip is approximately 10 percent of the total bill.
The first thing you will notice when you arrive to Jordan is that the people are very warm and welcoming to tourists. You will be pleasantly surprised by the sense of security you will find in Jordan- it is one of the safest places to travel in the world. Jordan maintains good relations with ALL of its neighbors and is truly an oasis of peace in this region. The country is fairly liberal, westernized.
Jordan has a long and pleasant spring and fall, from March through May and from September through November. Rain occasionally falls from December to April. The summer months are hot but with little humidity. In the Jordan Valley, around the Dead Sea and in Aqaba on the Red Sea the winters are pleasant.
For detailed information about our weather, please visit Jordan Meteorological Department
Jordan has all kinds, from super luxurious 5* resorts to good quality value hotels (and a few bad ones too). You can depend on us to book you into the best value for your budget. We keep a constant check on the quality of our suppliers and their standard.
For more information about Jordan please visit Jordan Tourism Board North America