Looking for some facts about Jordan? Jordan is a land of earth shattering landscapes, ancient history, tantalizing food, exciting experiences, and hospitable locals. Jordan, by all means, is a total package for tourists and deserves a place on every traveler’s bucket list. If you want to know some facts about Jordan read on, we’ve narrowed down some pretty interesting ones for you!
31 Random Facts About Jordan
1. Jordan is home to the Dead Sea
Ah, yes, the Dead Sea. This is a famous salt lake situated in Jordan that’s a great spot for, well, floating around. In fact, it’s one of the saltiest lakes in the world. There’s almost ten times the amount of salt in here than the actual sea. Result? It makes you really buoyant. It was also one of the first health resorts in the world.
2. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth
This is an amazing fact about Jordan. Yes, the Dead Sea is really, really low altitude. It’s actually so low that the shores around the lake account for the lowest point of elevation on the planet, at 480 meters below sea level. The bottom of the lake is 728 meters below sea level.
3. Jordan’s only real shoreline is the Red Sea
Rhyming with the Dead Sea, which is actually a lake, the Red Sea is Jordan’s only true shoreline. And it’s a short one at that – only 16 miles long. It’s otherwise pretty landlocked. However, the town of Aqaba on the Red Sea coast offers up some prime diving among colorful reefs that makes up for the lack of long coastal retreats.
4. In 363 AD, Jordan experienced a huge earthquake
A seismic event of monumental proportions damaged a lot of buildings and took a lot of lives almost 2,000 years ago across the area now known as Jordan. One of the most prominent structures to suffer was Petra, being literally carved into the rock.
5. Petra is Jordan’s most famous sight
Oh, yeah, speaking of Petra – it’s got to be the most famous place in Jordan. In fact, it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It’s a beautiful sight to see, we have to say. First settled more than 10,000 years ago, it was established as the capital of the formerly nomadic Nabataean Arabs around the 4th century BC. It’s so famous that it’s been a filming location for loads of movies, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Classic.
6. Jordan is an important spot between Africa, Europe, and Asia
It’s a pretty significant and strategic location in the world. That’s probably why so many empires and Kingdoms, biblical figures, Islamic rulers, crusading Christians, and modern-day powers wanted to either own it or keep a very close eye on it. Jordan, as a result, is a fascinating and (sometimes messed up) mix of culture and history.
7. There are over 100,000 archaeological (and tourist) sites in Jordan
Yep, that’s a ton of sights for people to come and see – from the everyday, garden variety tourist to the history buffs out there. Jordan really is packed with old stuff to see. There’s Petra, of course, Jerash, Al-Maghtas, Mount Nebo, and Ajulun Castle – and that’s only to name a few. Tourism is a huge deal in Jordan; it employs a lot of people.
8. Jordan makes up part of the Holy Land
Yeah, the name Jordan sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Even if you don’t know the modern-day country, you’ve probably heard of Jordan somehow; most often through biblical stories, of which there are a TON set in Jordan. Loads of stuff happened here, and many of the religious sites are big pilgrimage destinations. There are important places and shrines for Jews and Muslims here, too.
9. Jesus was baptized in Jordan
Well, maybe you don’t believe or whatever, but it doesn’t matter – a lot of people do! Al-Maghtas is the place to go if you want to see the place where Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist (that’s how he got his name!).
10. Jordan is where you’ll find the world’s oldest dam
A great historical fact about Jordan is that it is home to the oldest dam in the world – by a longshot. The Jawa Dam dates back to the 4th millennium BC and was built, as many dams are, for water supply. Jordan actually still struggles with water shortages to this day.
11. Amman is a super old city
Founded in 7250 BC, it’s actually one of the oldest cities in the world that’s been continuously inhabited. Sorry to all the “classically” oldest cities in the world (ahem, Rome), but Amman really is pretty ancient, we’ve got to hand it to them.
12. A Jordanian movie was nominated for an Oscar in 2016
This is a fact about Jordan for movie-buffs out there (who might know this already). So, yeah, the 2014 Jordanian movie Theeb follows a young Bedouin boy who has to survive in the desert. It used non-professional actors for realism and was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.
13. Also in 2016: Jordan won its first-ever Olympic medal
Any guesses for what sport they won it in? No? Ok, it was Taekwondo. The medal winner was Ahmad Abu Ghaush. He won gold in the under 67-kilo weight category. Taekwondo has become one of the most popular sports in Jordan since then.
14. The Romans once ruled Jordan
It’s true. It was consolidated in 63 BC in the province of Arabia Petraea. One of the most famous cities to see remnants of Roman rule is Jerash. There’s the forum, countless colonnades, public bathhouses, a hippodrome, and an amphitheater, to name just a few of the fantastic relics from the past. (The Byzantines were up next, of course.)
15. It’s one of the least forested countries in the world
Usually, countries have forests. And Jordan, though it’s got a surprising amount of plant species, does not have a lot in the way of forested areas. In fact, forests account for less than 2% of the country’s ecosystems; that’s way below the international average of 15%. One of the only forested regions in Jordan is in the northern mountains, home to oak trees, and wild olive trees, plus…
16. Jordan is the home of the long-eared hedgehog
We weren’t sure if we should even mention this fact about Jordan – we weren’t sure if you’d be able to handle the cuteness. But we decided the world needed to know that, yes, there is a long-eared hedgehog in Jordan. It’s got great hearing, it’s actually surprisingly fast (Sonic, anyone?), and thankfully, they’re not endangered at all.
17. Jordan has a royal family
Yes, it does. And the current monarch is King Abdullah II. The same royal family has been in power ever since 1921, which is funny because…
18. Jordan was a British Protectorate for 25 years
From 1921 to 1946, Jordan was a “protectorate” of Britain. It was officially called the Emirate of Transjordan. While it wasn’t a colony as such, being a protectorate of Britain meant that the European Power could meddle in Jordan’s affairs all it wanted to – like saying who should be king… just saying.
19. During that time, Palestine and Israel were part of the Emirate
Possibly why things are so messy in that region of the world, with some dividing lines neatly drawn on maps by British (and French) officials, many countries were often part of one so-called protectorate. The Emirate of Transjordan included parts of Syria, and yes – Israel. That meant Jerusalem too. The country to this day has partial responsibility for the protection of religious buildings in the Holy Land.
20. Jordan is one of only two Arab countries to sign a peace treaty with Israel
With the “help” of the Soviet Union and the US, the two countries signed a deal on October 26, 1994. It’s called the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. The other country was Egypt, and that was back in 1979.
21. Jordan was the first Arab country to allow female police officers
Way back in the 1970s, Jordan made the progressive move to allow females to train and serve as police officers. The number of female police officers in the Jordanian police force is still rising.
22. The oldest statues in the world were found in Jordan
Ok, some of the oldest statues in the world. They were found in Ain Ghazal and are known as the Ain Ghazal Statues, naturally. What’s impressive about them is that they date all the way back to Neolithic times. Way before anyone had any idea about building pyramids in Egypt or how to carry all those stones to Stonehenge, someone was making these plaster statues. They’re actually pretty good. Picasso-esque.
23. There’s a place in Jordan called Montreal
Nope, we didn’t get that wrong. There really is a place in this country called Montreal. And you can thank the Crusaders for that. It’s actually a castle built by Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1115 AD. You’ll find it in Shoubak.
24. Jordan played host to the first women’s sports tournament in the Middle East
In a country where it was once frowned upon for a woman to kick a ball around, 2016 was a great year for women’s sports in Jordan. This is the year it hosted the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Back in 2005, it was King Abdullah II who formed the first women’s national team. The U-17 Jordanian team themselves trained with a British coach.
25. Jordan’s national dish is mansaf
Maybe you’ve never heard of it, but any foodie worth their salt should have their interest piqued with this flavorful fact about Jordan. Mansaf is a tasty lamb dish cooked with fermented, dried yogurt, served with bulgur wheat or rice, and topped with pine nuts. It’s served up at important events like weddings, funerals, and holidays. That dried, fermented yogurt – jameed – is made from sheep (or goat) milk, and the city of Al-Karak is the best place to go for jameed.
26. Jordan is pretty small
As far as countries go, it’s definitely not one of the biggest. The land area is 89,000 square kilometers. To make it sound even smaller, that’s 34,000 square miles. And to put into a shape you’d understand, you can fit Jordan into Texas about eight times.
27. Population density is insane in Jordan
Obviously, there’s a load of places you can’t live in Jordan, i.e., the desert… well, some people do live there, to be fair (Bedouin tribes, for example). But elsewhere, you get huge bunches of people in a small place. Thirty percent of the population lives in the hilly north. Even more wild is the fact that forty percent of Jordanians live in the capital, Amman!
28. Jordan was one of the countries “Lawrence of Arabia” helped liberate
T. E. Lawrence was key in helping the Arab nations during World War I. How? Well, in a nutshell, as the Allied forces fought against the Ottoman Empire (based in modern-day Turkey), Lawrence went around convincing Arab leaders that if they cooperated with British and Allied attacks, they’d be able to help beat the Ottomans and gain independence from the empire. This was known as the Great Arab Revolt.
29. You can walk across Jordan
If you’re mad about walking, then you might want to do this. The Jordan Trail stretches for 402 miles, all the way from Umm Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. It takes about 40 days to do and passes by some of the country’s best-known places, such as Petra, the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, and the Greco-Roman ruins at Gadara.
30. There’s no oil in Jordan
Well, barely any oil anyway. So, unlike the rest of its Arab neighbors, Jordan can’t make money from oil – a negligible amount, maybe. What it does have are some pretty modest natural gas reserves, which are far less interesting.
31. Jordan’s national flower is super rare
Usually, national flowers are pretty common, aren’t they? Jordan just had to choose a mega-rare black iris that only blooms in springtime in Wadi Rum. And even though it’s not found anywhere else but there, it’s a common name for hotels, restaurants, and other establishments.
Quick Travel Tips for Jordan
- Currency – 1 Jordan Dinar – $1.41 USD
- Language – Arabic. However, with good education and a strong tourist industry English is widely spoken.
- Official Name – Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
- Capital City – Amman
- Constitutional Monarchy – King Abdullah II of Jordan
- Visa – Most visitors to Jordan will need to obtain a visa. US citizens can get a visa on arrival payable by card or cash. If you have plans to go to Petra it’s worth it to get the Jordan Pass which includes your visa and access to all the main tourist sites in Jordan.
- Wondering What to Pack for Jordan? We got you covered here.
- When is the best time to visit Jordan? Check that here!
Where to Stay in Jordan
What to Pack for Jordan?
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in Jordan so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere – plus the water from the taps here is perfectly safe to drink. We’ve shifted to using an insulated aluminum water bottle as it handles the hot sun well.
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
I love wearing a relaxed pant when we travel. Their Women’s Mantra pants are made out of hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. They are perfect for Jordan as they’re comfortable and conservative.
These pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. Cameron has now found his favorite pair of pants in the men’s version which is the Vaha Pant.
It’s best to bring a pair of breathable shoes to walk around Jordan. The heat here is intense. This means if you don’t want your feet to always feel sweaty and stinky wear cool and comfortable shoes.
I love the Allbird Tree Runners for their breathability in situations like this. I’ve been going strong in them for two years! Check out my other recommendations on women’s shoes, and the best men’s travel shoes.
Just throwing this into your bag is going to make packing for Jordan a breeze. A Shemagh is the perfect travel accessory for both the men and the women travelers out there. This can be worn for just about anything. It will keep you warm, cover your face, protect valuables in your backpack, and even double as an eye mask the shemagh has tons of different uses.
It’s perfect for anyone heading into the desert wanting to keep the sand out of their face. I would personally recommend buying this before you land because once you travel to the desert there will plenty of touts willing to sell you a cheap one at an exorbitant price.
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Jordan. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but for those times when they may not I like to have a backup travel towel. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.
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