Jordan is a relatively small Middle Eastern country which is bordered Syria to the north, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Gulf of Aqaba to the south, Iraq to the east, and Israel and the occupied West Bank to the west. This country measures only 96.188km2, which is about the size of Portugal. However, its landscape is comparable to that of much larger countries.
The climate in Jordan is Mediterranean, with long, hot summers and short, cold winters. January is the chilliest month, with temperatures ranging from 5ºC to 10ºC. August, the most sizzling summer month, has an average temperature of 20ºC to 35ºC, though the thermometer often rises to 40ºC, especially when the sultry Sirocco wind makes its presence felt. Rainfall appears irregularly across the seasons, though when it does, it can cause floods and soil erosion, especially when it arises in the winter season. The annual average temperature is 18ºC so if you’re visiting this country, make sure to take some lightweight clothing.
Jordan is famous for Petra, whose Al-Khazneh (Treasury) and Ed-Deir (Monastery) attract tourists who are eager to experience the mysterious beauty of the Nabataean Kingdom’s ancient capital. The country is dotted with invaluable ruins, including Jerash (an ancient Greco-Roman town), Umm Qais and Pella. Jordan is also known for its stunning landscapes, including the imposing cliffs and pink sands of Wadi Rum (which appeared in the film Lawrence of Arabia) and Al-khazneh (featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Finally, who can forget the famous Bedouin hospitality, or traditional dishes such as magluba and baklava cakes, washed down with cups of strong fragrant coffee?
From around 2000 B.C. to 1550 B.C., several kingdoms controlled Jordan until the arrival of the powerful Nabateans, who founded a kingdom in the southeast. Jordan was also part of the Roman Empire at one point, after Pompey conquered the area. In 636 A.D., military commander Khalid ibnal-Walid conquered area, bringing it under Muslim rule. The Ottomans exerted their dominance in the 1500s and in the early 20th century, Britain took control of Jordan after World War I. In 1923, Transjordan (as the area was known then) became independent, though the British continued to control the country’s finances and military. In 1946, Abdullah I was declared King, and Transjordan obtained full independence from the British. A few years down the line, the country’s name was changed to Jordan. In 1967, Israel was victorious against the Arabs in the Six Day Arab-Israeli War and it obtained control over Jerusalem, leading many Palestinians to flee to Jordan. In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to Jordan in recent years owing to the war in Syria.
Jordan boasts a wide variety of plants, including wild flowers like the black iris (the country’s stunning national flower). The highlands are filled with oaks, pines, pistachio and cinnabar trees, as well as eucalypti and cedars. Animals include the gazelle, ibex, antelope, jackal and rabbie, while marine life includes sea urchins, starfish, crabs, and shrimp. Jordan is home to beautiful coral reefs, found in the Gulf of Aqaba. Hundreds of fish call these corals home, making for a dazzling snorkelling experience.
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