Presentation of Jordan

The area and the borders


Located to the North-East of the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan (90 512 km²) is bounded from the East and the South by Saudi Arabia, from the North-East by Iraq, from the North, by Syria and at the West by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Jordan is roughly the size of Portugal or Austria. The Kingdom has only 26 km of coast.

The highest point of the country is Um El Dani at 1 854 meters and the lowest is the Dead Seat at 408 meters below sea level.

The main cities:
Amman, Zarqa, Aqaba, Irbid, Salt and Mafraq.

 

The physical geography


The occidental Jordan is mountainous. It is crossed from the North to the South by a lengthy rift of subsidence, which provides a base for the Jordan valley (the depression of the Ghor), the area of the Dead Sea and the dried bed of Wadi Araba in the South, in the direction of the Gulf of Aqaba, on the Red Sea. Aqaba is Jordan’s only maritime access.

The plateaus dominate the tectonic rift by a steepness of 1 200 to 1 500 m, which cuts a gash in the canyons of rivers that flow into the Jordan River. These are high limestone areas, which are marly or chalky in the North, sandstone in the South, and slope gently towards the East. Rainfall is quite abundant in the North (500 to 600 mm/year) allowing cereal crops in a buttoned country landscape, such as the region of Irbid, with olive trees. In the South of Madaba, the rainfall conditions deteriorate and, from Karak, it hardly falls more than 200 mm/year.

   The Jordan River

The largest river of the country, the Jordan River, has its source in the mountains of the Anti-Lebanon, follows the Israeli-Syrian border, crosses the Tiberias Lake and then enters into the Jordan River. The Yarmouk, the main tributary, flows into the Jordan River on its left bank. Then it flows in a meandering manner in the Ghor depression, sometimes at a width of 20 km, before flowing into the Dead Sea, at 408 m below sea level. During winter, it overflows and floods the Ghor, which it covers with fertile alluvia.
Before reaching the latter, it runs 320 km although the aerial distance is only 109 km.

   The Dead Sea

The waters of the Dead Sea are desolate and lacking in all animal and plant life owing to salt accumulation. The climate is torrid. The depths of the valley (zor) is bordered by a whole combination of dried terraces but provided of good soils (ghor).

Jordan is made up of three large regions:
   In the West, the Jordan valley lies in the Ghor. 
   More to the East, the plateaus, which dominate nearly 1 500 m of the tectonic rift, stop the rains coming from the Mediterranean Sea.
   Still more to the East, the plateaus slope gently towards the last region of the country, a semi-desert, which covers more than 80 % of the territory. This semi-desert is above all a rocky type, even though we can find some dunes of sand at certain places (Wadi Rum for example).

   A vital space

The development of the Jordan River terraces, for irrigation, represents the main agricultural region of the country.

 

The climate


Jordan enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Amman is sunny and enjoys a clear sky from May to October with average temperatures of 23°C. The spring brings a splendid weather with its greenery and the autumn is also mild and pleasant. The months of July and August are hot and dry. Due to the altitude of the capital, the evenings are cool. Aqaba and the Jordan valley are ideal winter stations with available temperatures 16 to 22°C, between November and April. There is little rainfall in Aqaba and the desert regions.

 

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