The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is strategically located in the Middle East. Bound by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Red Sea to the south, and Israel and the Palestinian National Authority to the west, Jordan covers a diversity of landscapes. The country has an area of 89,213 square kilometers, with approximately 75% of that space being taken up by desert.
The climate in Jordan is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters, with annual average temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 C and summertime highs reaching the 40 C in the desert regions. Rainfall averages vary from 50 mm annually in the desert to 800 mm in the northern hills, some of which falls as snow
Geographically, Jordan enjoys a range of geographical features, starting from the Jordan Rift Valley in the West ending at the desert plateau of the East, with a range of small hills running the length of the country in between.
Jordan is home to the Dead Sea, which is considered the lowest point on earth lying - 408 meters below the Sea Level. The highest point in Jordan, in contrast, is Jebel Umm El Dami, which lies 1854 meters above sea level.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a relatively modern State, carved out of the desert in the aftermath of the great Arab Revolt and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and its present King is only the fourth generation of his family to occupy the Hashemite throne
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government, based on a Constitution established in 1952. The reigning monarch, His Majesty King Abdullah II is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the Jordanian armed forces. The King exercises his executive authority through the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet. The Cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the Government. The judicial branch in Jordan is an independent branch of the Government.
While the Kingdom itself may be young, the people who inhabit it have, like their ruling family, an immensely long and distinguished past. The land that is now Jordan lies in a position of strategic and geographic importance, a crossroads where the Spice and Silk Routes from eastern Asia to the Mediterranean met the north-south axis of the trade routes from Turkey and Syria down to Arabia and Yemen.
Jordan has a reputation for dynamism, moderation and peace brokering in the Middle East. His Majesty King Abdullah II rules over a state, which has peacefully absorbed Palestinian refugees over the past thirty years. Jordan with a majority Islamic population and a Christian minority remains an oasis of peace in a troubled region.
Jordan currently has a population of around 6 million people, nearly 2 million of which make their home in the capital Amman. Jordan also has a young population, with 41% falling below the age of 15.
Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements.
Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per capita GDP is $4,700. According to Jordan"s Department of Statistics, 13% of the economically active Jordanian population residing in Jordan was unemployed in 2008. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan"s population growth rate has declined in recent years and is currently 2.2%. One of the most important factors in the government"s efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. Jordan's 2008 and 2009 budgets emphasized increases in the social safety net to help people most impacted by high inflation. The average rate of inflation in 2008 was 14.9%; the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995.
Tourism is of vital importance to the national economy of Jordan. It is the Kingdom"s largest export sector, its second largest private sector employer, and it"s second highest producer of foreign exchange. Tourism contributes more than US$800 million to Jordan "s economy and accounts for approximately 10 percent of the country"s gross domestic product (GDP).In addition to the country"s political stability, the geography offered makes Jordan an attractive tourism destination. Jordan"s major tourist activities include numerous ancient places including Petra, its unique desert castles and unspoiled natural locations to its cultural and religious sites.