Jordan Travel Guide

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Jordan Information

Population: 5.46 million

Time Zone: GMT +3

Driving side: Driving is on the right hand side.

Languages: Arabic, English

Religion: 92% Muslim
4% Shiite Muslim
4% Christian

Emergency #: Abulance and First Aid 193
Police 192
Highway Patrol 656390

Jordan Local Customs

Although Jordan is one of the more modern and tolerant countries in the Middle East it is still advisable to be aware of a few basic customs. Women are expected to dress modestly when out in the town, it is advisable to cover arms and legs and not to

Jordan Culture

Jordan is one of the more modern cities in the Middle East and was recognised by UNESCO as an emerging centre for contemporary arts and Amman as its Arab Cultural Capital in 2002. In Jordan you will find an interesting hybrid of Arab style singers backed by western orchestras as well as Bedouin belly dancing and music.

Hospitality is a tradition in Jordan and visitors are always given a warm welcome.

Although Islamic law forbids eating pork and drinking alcohol there are restaurants that serve both. Infact there are many great restaurants in the country serving Jordanian specialities. Locals usually order group meals such as a selection of Mezzeh for starter and shared main meals. Local speciality dishes include deap fried chickpea balls (falafel), spit cooked sliced lamb shwarma, fuul which is fava beans, garlic and lemon as well as unleavened bread which is a staple food.

Please be aware that Islam does tend to divide the sexes and some restaurants only serve men but do have family rooms for women.

Jordan Popular Destinations

Amman - the capital of Jordan has an interesting mix of ancient and modern with honking horns giving way to the beautiful call to prayer. The city is built on seven hills, each of which define a neighbourhood and is described in reference to the eight circles wich form the spine of the city from downtown where the first circle is located down to the 8th circle going westward. Highlights of the city include the impressive Roman Theatre located in Downtown Amman which holds 6000 people and is cut into the side of the hill. Other sites are the Roman Citadel built on Jabal al Qala hill which include the Jordan Archeological Museum and Odean which was built for musical performances. Also see the cities main fountain Anymphaeum and Amman's famous gold souq.

Jerash - one of Jordans major attractions are the ruins at Jerash which is one of the best preserved and best examples in the Middle East of a Roman provincial city located 50 km north of Amman. The city has been inhabited since Neolithic times and the entrance was once a Triumphal Arch but the city is now entered through the south gate. Inside Jerash there is the temple of Zeus and the huge oval shaped Forum which is one of the destinctive images of the city. The biggest building on the site located in the centre of Jerash is the Temple of artemis and behind the temple is the 5000 spectator South Theatre built in the 1st century.

Petra - the most famous and awe inspiring attraction in Jordan is the Nabatean city of Petra nestled in the mountains south of the Dead Sea 280km from Amman on the Desert Highway. The 9000 year old rose red city has been shrouded in myth and legend for centuries and it is easy to see why. The many tombs, temples and Bedouin caves carved into the rock create a magical atmosphere and 200 m high walls along the entrance will make you feel incredibly small. One of the not to be missed sights is the Monastery where you can truly experience Petra's immensity and power as well as take in some breathtaking views.

Wadi Seer - located about 24 km south east of Amman, the high desert plateau suddenly disapears and the lush tree covered valley of Seer appears. 10 km from the village lies the ruins of Qasr al Abd (Castle of the slave) and the ancient Iraq al Amir (caves of the prince). The castles most interesting feature is the north entrance with one of the origional carved animals, a giant stone lion which pears over visitors. The origional estate and castle was surrounded by a wall and included a lake and a park. The castle is unique as it is built from some of the largest blocks in the Middle East and was flattened by a earthquake in 362 CE and has now been partially restored. About 500 m from Qasr on the left is a group of manmade canes cut from the rock known as Iraq al Amir. The 11 caves were once used as cavalry stables but today are used by villagers to house their goats.

Jordan Beaches

Aqaba - Jordans only port town Aqaba has some fantastic beaches. Try Holiday beach or Aquamarine which has troops of traditional Arab dancers that sometimes perform. The waters around Aqaba are also perfect for scuba diving, deep sea fishing, snorkelling and boat trips to view whale sharks, flying fish and dolphins can be arranged.

Dead Sea - lying in the salty waters of the Dead Sea and feeling weightless is a must when visiting Jordan. Near the north end of the Dead Sea in Suweimeh is a beach resort with a fresh water waterfall for rinsing. Please remember to always rinse your skin after being in the see, do not shave beforehand and take some eye drops with you.

Moving Around Jordan

The Jett Bus company runs between the major towns such as Amman to Aqaba, the King Hussein Bridge, Flammamat Main and Petra. Private bus routes run from Amman to Aqaba and Irbid.

A good way to travel to and between smaller cities is by minibus service but are usually crowded and rather iregular but are cheaper than private taxis on the same route. Taxis are however the fastest and most convenient way to travel. There is only one domestic air route in Jordan which is between Amman and Aqaba.

National festival and holidays

Ramadan - the biggest event on the Islamic calender is the month long fast where those of the Islamic faith eat nothing between sunup and sunset. It is best to be sensitive to this fact when visiting during Ramadan.

Eid al Adah - held around Februray. This is traditionally the time when muslims make their pilgramige to Mecca and is one of the big feasts of the year.

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