Jordan Travel Guide
With it's official title being the rather grand mouthful of 'The Hasimitic Kingdom of Jordan' - most people just stick to 'Jordan'. Lying east of Israel and also sharing borders with Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Jordan is mostly semi-desert with the eastern fringes actually tipping over to desert. The lower parts of the country lie along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea to the northwest (the world's lowest point, at 395m (1,296ft) below sea level) and the Red Sea
to the southwest. The country also lies along the East Bank of the biblically famous River Jordan, the very river where Jesus was allegedly baptised by John, albeit at the part of the river flowing through Yardenit in Israel. One of the main topographical features of Jordan, however is the Great Rift Valley in the west, a deep depression which includes the Jordan Valley, the Wadi Araba, the Dead Sea and, continuing the religious significance of many of the country's features, the area of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is also to be found in the valley crossing over into Israel where the lake itself actually lies. This hot and rather dusty country is partly mountainous and most of the Jordan's main cities and towns can be found on a high plateau extending 324km (201 miles) from Syria to Ras en Naqab in the south. The country has been heavily urbanised in recent times and much of the nomadic activities of the indigenous Bedouin population have all but disappeared.
The capital city of Jordan is Amman and thanks to Jordan's modest size, any destination within the country may be reached by road from the capital within a day. Often referred to as the 'white city', Amman is a thriving urban centre with a bustling traditional souk, excellent facilities for tourists and a number of superb hotels. There are a number of good museums and Roman, Greek and Ottoman Turk occupations are peppered throughout the city including a 2nd century AD Roman amphitheatre. The major archaeological wonder however, and the reason that most people visit Jordan is the awe-inspiring Nabatean city of Petra carved into the mountains south of the Dead Sea and the most spectacular ancient city on earth. The easiest access to Petra is through the Siq, a winding cleft in the rock that varies in width from between five to 200 metres, through which Bedouins guide visitors on horseback. With royal tombs, magnificent gateways and towering monuments, Petra is Jordan's prize gem and is an unmissable sight. Jordan is one of the best-organised societies in the Middle East and with an intriguing history scarred landscape to boot, is also one of the most fascinating.
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