Jordan is located on the east bank of the River Jordan in the Middle East. Its official name is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Despite being a small country it’s a big hitter when it comes to places of interest and importance. Jordan is awash with biblical sites, ancient cities and remarkable landscapes. It is also home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Want to learn more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Jordan.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Jordan
1. It is home to one of the New Wonders of the World
Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Petra is a myriad of temples, tombs and caves carved from dusky pink rock. This is why it is sometimes called the Red Rose City. The Nabateans founded this ancient archaeological site over 2000 years ago and it was an important point along the ancient trade routes. You enter the City of Petra by walking through a dramatic 1km-long Siq Canyon flanked by the colourful cliffs. The fissure then opens up to reveal the fantastic façade of the Treasury. It is a breathtaking experience.
Fun fact: Scenes were filmed here for the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
2. Jerash is one of the most important cities in the Roman Middle East
The ancient city of Jerash was part of the “Decapolis”. This meant it was one of the 10 most important cities in the Roman Middle East. Dating back around 6,500 years, the ancient Roman ruins at Jerash are some of the best examples of Roman architecture outside of Rome. The beautiful ruins of the theatres and temples, colonnaded streets and plazas are wonderful examples of Roman classical and grand architectural style.
3. Jordan has loads of neighbouring countries
Jordan is located in the Middle East and shares borders with lots of countries. It shares a border with Syria in the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia in the south and Palestine and Israel to the west. It has a maritime border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
4. The lowest point on Earth is in Jordan
Laying 420 meters below sea level, The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth. A unique experience happens when you enter the Dead Sea – you float. That’s because of the amount of salt in the water. It’s almost ten times saltier than the ocean. With its high salinity animals cannot flourish in the water, hence its name.
5. The King’s Highway is mentioned in the Old Testament
The 280km King’s Highway snakes across the spine of the Great Rift Valley. According to the Old Testament, Moses was refused permission to travel on the King’s Highway by the king of Edom. Moses wanted to use this route to led his people north through the land of Edom. The King’s Highway begins in Madaba and ends in Wadi Musa near Petra. If you decide to take a road trip along the King’s Highway, you’ll be driving one of the “world’s oldest continuously used communication routes“.
6. Amman is one of the oldest cities on the planet
The capital city of Jordan is Amman and its history dates back to the Stone Age. Amman is the site of one of the largest Neolithic settlements (c.6500 BC) ever discovered in the Middle East. ʿAin Ghazal was active from about 7250 BC to about 5000 BC. The statues from this site are some of the oldest in the world. You can view them in the Jordan Museum. Archaeological evidence also suggests that Amman’s Citadel (al-Qala’a) witnessed human settlement from the Early Bronze Age (3 200 – 2 000 BC).
7. It is home to the UNESCO site of Wadi Rum
Wadi means valley and Wadi Rum is the largest wadi in Jordan. It is called the Valley of the Moon because of its lunar-like landscape. Although, with its red hues it looks more like Mars which is why the movie The Martian was filmed here. Wadi Rum is an iconic desert landscape. You’ll find spectacular sandstone mountains, valleys and arches, narrow gorges, towering cliffs and rock art in its original setting. In Wadi Rum you can follow in the footsteps of T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia who described the place as “vast, echoing and God-like”. It is a remarkable landscape.