Top events in Jordan

July
29

A two-part dance and concert festival begins in the desert of Wadi Rum and ends the following day in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, approximately...

August
27

Head to this fun, quirky, colourful weekly street market of crafts, food, books and clothes, which stretches along one of the lanes behind Rainbow...

September
30

One of Jordan’s leading film events, cinephiles will enjoy this festival, where visitors can come watch obscure art house cinema and new releases...

Monastary in Petra, Jordan
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Monastary in Petra, Jordan

© 123rf.com / Dario Bajurin

Jordan Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

89,342 sq km (34,495 sq miles).

Population

6.6 million (2013).

Population density

73.3 per sq km.

Capital

Amman.

Government

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state

King Abdullah II since 1999.

Head of government

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour since 2012.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Both round European-style two-pin plugs and square British-style three-pin plugs are used.

Jordan is perhaps the most alluring destination in the entire Middle East. Small in size, easy to move around and packed with natural drama, this enticing little country is one of the region’s biggest gems.

Many travellers visit Jordan with its history in mind and understandably so. Voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the 2000-year-old ‘lost city’ of Petra, capital of the Nabatean civilisation, stretches up out of rose-red sandstone cliffs, the jewel in Jordan’s cultural crown and the primary lure for many a traveller since its appearance in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

It’s not just the magnificent Petra that entices the visitor: Jordan is steeped in stories from the distant past, with the majestic relics to prove it. Look – here’s the spot where John baptised Jesus at Bethany-by-the-Jordan. Elsewhere, follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia from his headquarters fort at Azraq, through to the deserts of Wadi Rum, where the movie was filmed. Soak up the therapeutic benefits of a visit to the Dead Sea, trek along routes that were mentioned in the Old Testament, take in the view of the Promised Land that was revealed to Moses, and gaze out over a landscape that still has the power to evoke biblical splendour.

The landscapes will live with you long after you return home. For a country that is 85% arid desert, Jordan can wow with snow-capped mountains in the north around the Ajloun forest, plunging ravines such as Wadi Mujib, a mini-Grand Canyon, reaching 4km (2.5 miles) from rim to rim and more than 500m (1640 ft) deep, and epic deserts of golden dunes or rocky basalt. Go on wildlife safaris in the nature reserves, and make sure to stay with the desert-dwelling Bedouin tribes, who offer hospitality in tents still made of traditional black goat hair.

Nonetheless, the small Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan looks forwards. Its relatively stable economic and political position in the Middle East has fuelled much modernisation, particularly in the capital Amman. With new hotels, upmarket bars and restaurants and a strong sense of its diverse cultural heritage, Amman is no longer just a base from which to explore the ancient sites, but an attraction in its own right: urbane, cultured and outward-looking.

Still, if there’s one single aspect of travel in Jordan that resonates, it’s the hospitality. Traditions of taking care of guests run deep in Arab society, and Jordan lives up to its heritage by extending the kind of welcome tourist boards crave. Everywhere you go you’ll hear words of welcome – heartfelt, not contrived – and you’ll often be invited into the shops or homes of strangers for glasses of hot, sweet tea and good conversation. In other places this might prelude a hard-sell campaign of carpet-flogging. In Jordan, it’s almost always borne simply of an interest to engage with a visitor, and to forge a friendship. As the Jordanians say, “Ahlan wa sahlan!” – come in and make yourself at home.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 27 July 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to within 3km of the Syrian border from the Sad Al-Wihdeh Dam up to, but not including, the Jabr crossing. This is due to the risk of small arms fire and stray mortars in the area.

Around 81,000 British nationals visited Jordan in 2013. Most visits are trouble free.

You should avoid large crowds, political gatherings and demonstrations. Violent incidents have taken place at the Zaatari refugee camp and on several university campuses. Stay away from downtown Amman and the centres of other towns and cities after Friday midday prayers.

There is a general threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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