An Overview of Jordan: The Jewel of the Middle East


Positioned at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, Jordan emerges as a land of mesmerizing beauty and contrasts. From the enchanting arid desert landscapes to the fertile valleys, this Middle Eastern nation boasts a rich tapestry of natural vistas, history, and culture. Bordered by Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the West Bank, Jordan’s strategic location has played a pivotal role in its history and development.

Geography and Climate

Spanning an area of 89,342 square kilometers, Jordan is characterized by its diverse terrain and climate. The majority of the country is covered by arid desert plateau, but the western region presents a stark contrast with the Jordan River Valley, the Dead Sea—the lowest point on earth at -431 meters—and the verdant highlands. This geological marvel, running north to south, is not only a significant topographical feature but also a crucial source of water in this mostly desert country.

The climate varies considerably; while it remains mostly dry and desert-like, the west experiences a rainy season from November to April, providing a brief respite and a boost to the agricultural sector.

Natural Resources and Agriculture

Jordan’s economy benefits from its natural resources which include phosphates, potash, and shale oil. Despite the challenging climatic conditions, about 11.4% of the land is utilized for agriculture, focusing on citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives, along with livestock such as sheep and poultry. The use of approximately 964 sq km of irrigated land as of 2012 showcases the innovative efforts to optimize agricultural productivity.

Population and Urbanization

As of July 2020, Jordan’s population was estimated at 10,820,644, with a vast majority (91.4%) living in urban areas. Amman, the capital and largest city, alone houses over 2.1 million people. The population distribution is notably dense in the west, especially around Amman, due to the more favorable living conditions and economic opportunities.


Jordan’s economy is diverse, with key sectors including tourism, information technology, and manufacturing. The country is renowned for its historical and cultural sites, drawing millions of tourists annually. In addition to tourism, the IT sector has shown significant growth, positioning Jordan as a tech hub in the region.

The industrial sector is undergirded by the mining of phosphates and potash, two of Jordan’s most valuable export commodities. Agriculture contributes to the economy with products like tomatoes and olives, while the service sector, particularly financial services, plays a critical role in economic stability and growth.

Trade and Investments

Trade relationships are essential for Jordan, with the United States, Saudi Arabia, and India among its top export partners. Key export goods include textiles, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals. Conversely, Jordan imports primarily include crude oil, machinery, and cereals, with China and Saudi Arabia as the leading sources of imports. These trade dynamics underscore Jordan’s integration into the global economy and its strategic economic alliances.

Culture and Heritage

Jordanians are known for their hospitality and rich cultural heritage. Arabic is the official language, and the country is a mosaic of traditions and religions that coexist harmoniously. Historical sites like Petra, the ancient city carved out of red sandstone, and the Roman ruins of Jerash reflect Jordan’s millennia-old history and attract cultural enthusiasts from around the globe.


Jordan, with its unique blend of landscapes, history, and modern development, continues to carve its niche on the world stage. Despite its limited natural freshwater resources and arid conditions, the country thrives through innovation and adaptation. As Jordan looks to the future, its strategic location, coupled with investments in technology and tourism, sets the stage for continued growth and prosperity in the heart of the Middle East.

Country data

Country Code JO
Region Middle East
Surface 89342 sq km
Land Surface 88802 sq km
Water Surface 540 sq km
Agricultural Surface 11.40%
Forest Surface 1.10%
Lowest Elevation Point Dead Sea -431 m
Highest Elevation Point Jabal Umm ad Dami 1,854 m
GDP / capita $9,200 (2017 est.)