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Geographic map of Jordan

Geographic map of Jordan

Jordan is an Arab country in the Middle East located in the Levant region, on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, and borders Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the northeast, Syria to the north and the West Bank, Israel and the Dead Sea to the west. It has a coastline of 26 km on the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea to the southwest.
Jordan is separated from Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba.
The capital of Jordan is Amman, with a population of 4,302,730 as of 2016 and is Jordan’s largest city, as well as its economic, political and cultural center.
Modern Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic Age. At the end of the Bronze Age, three stable kingdoms emerged: Ammon, Moab, and Edom. Subsequent rulers include the Assyrian Empire, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Nabataean Kingdom, the Achaemenid Empire, the Roman Empire, the Rashidun, Umayyad, and Abbasid Caliphates, and the Ottoman Empire. In 1921, following the Arab revolt against the Ottomans during the First World War, the Emirate of Transjordan was founded by the Hashemites, placed under a British protectorate. In 1946, Jordan became independent and in 1949 annexed the West Bank, which it lost in the Six-Day War and then relinquished in 1988. Jordan is a founding member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The sovereign state is a constitutional monarchy, but the king holds broad executive and legislative powers.

Geography –
Jordan is a country located in the western part of the Middle East, bordering Israel and the Palestinian territories to the west, Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, and Saudi Arabia to the south and southeast.
Jordan is predominantly a desert country, with approximately 75% of the land covered by deserts. The best-known desert is the Wadi Rum desert, with its spectacular landscapes of rocks and sand dunes. To the north of the country, lie the fertile plains of the Jordan River valley.
The Jordan River, which gives the country its name, is the main waterway. It is famous for being mentioned in religious scriptures and crosses the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Other important rivers include the Yarmouk River, which forms a natural border with Israel and Syria, and the Zerqa River.
Located in eastern Jordan, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the Earth’s surface and offers a unique ecosystem. Due to the high salinity, the Dead Sea is known for its ability to float people. It is also an important tourist and therapeutic place thanks to its mineral waters.
In the northwestern part of the country are the Edom and Moab plateaus, which extend to the border with Israel and the Palestinian territories. These areas are characterized by more fertile soils than the surrounding desert regions.
In the northwest, Jordan is dominated by the Hauran Mountains and the Ajloun massif, which form part of the mountain system that extends across Syria and Lebanon.
The capital of Jordan, as mentioned, is Amman, located in the north-west of the country. Other major cities include Aqaba, a major port on the Red Sea; Irbid, in the north of the country; and Zarqa, an industrial center located northeast of Amman.
Jordan is relatively scarce in natural resources, although it has some reserves of phosphate, potash, and other mineral resources. However, the country is focusing on solar and wind energy to reduce its dependence on energy imports.

Climate –
The climate of Jordan is Mediterranean in the regions to the west and north of the Jordan Valley, with medium-cold and humid winters and hot and dry summers, reaching temperatures exceeding 35 °C. There is rarely snow in winter. Rainfall reaches approximately 600 mm per year. In the desert regions of the south and south-east, however, the climate is predominantly arid. Precipitation is scarce, less than 50 mm, summers are scorching with temperatures exceeding 40 °C and during the winter the humid winds from the eastern Mediterranean arrive.
In general, the further inland you are from the Mediterranean, the greater temperature contrasts and less precipitation are recorded. The average altitude of the country is 812 m. The plateaus above the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea Mountains and Wadi Araba and up to Ras Al-Naqab in the south are dominated by a Mediterranean climate, while the eastern and north-eastern areas of the country are arid and desert-like. Although the desert parts of the kingdom reach high temperatures, the heat is usually moderated by low humidity and a daytime breeze, while nights are cool.
Summers, which run from May to September, are hot and dry, with average temperatures around 32°C and sometimes above 40°C between July and August. Winter, which lasts from November to March, is relatively cool, with average temperatures around 11.08 °C. Winter also sees frequent showers and occasional snowfall in some elevated western areas.

Flora –
Over 2,000 plant species have been recorded in Jordan. Many of the flowering plants bloom in spring after the winter rains, and the type of vegetation depends largely on the level of rainfall. The mountainous regions in the north-west are covered with forests, while further south and east the vegetation becomes more shrubby and transitions to steppe-type vegetation. Forests cover 1.5 million dunums (1,500 km2), less than 2% of Jordan, making Jordan one of the least forested countries in the world, with an international average of 15%.
Plant species and genera include Aleppo pine, Sarcopoterium, Salvia dominica, black iris, Tamarix, Anabasis, Artemisia, Acacia, Mediterranean cypress and Phoenician juniper. The mountainous regions of the northwest are covered with natural forests of pine, deciduous oak, evergreen oak, pistachio and wild olive trees.
Four terrestrial ecoregions lie on the borders of Jordan: Syrian xeric shrubland and grassland, Eastern Mediterranean conifer, sclerophyll and broadleaf forest, Mesopotamian shrub desert, and the Red Sea Nubo-Sindian tropical desert and semi-desert.
Here is a list of some characteristic plants that can be found in the Jordan region:
Acacia tortuosa – A species of acacia that grows in desert environments.
Artemisia herba-alba – A common aromatic and medicinal plant in the desert.
Pistacia atlantica – A variety of pistachio that grows in parts of Jordan.
Ziziphus spina-christi – Also known as the Judaism tree, it is a hardy plant that grows in arid areas.
Tamarix aphylla – A tree or shrub adapted to arid climates.
Olea europaea – The common olive tree, grown in many parts of Jordan for its oil and fruit.
Salvia judaica – A species of sage found in some areas of Jordan.
Anabasis articulata – A succulent plant that grows in arid and saline soils.
Retama raetam – A hardy shrub that grows in desert and coastal environments.
Capparis spinosa – The caper plant, known for its edible buds.

Fauna –
Jordan is home to a variety of fauna, thanks to its diversity of habitats that include deserts, plains, mountains and the Red Sea coast.
Mammal and reptile species include, among others, long-eared hedgehog, Nubian ibex, wild boar, fallow deer, Arabian wolf, desert monitor lizard, honey badger, glass snake, caracal , the golden jackal and the roe deer. Birds include the hooded crow, Eurasian jay, Lapp-faced vulture, Barbary falcon, hoopoe, Pharaoh’s eagle-owl, common cuckoo, Tristram’s starling, Palestine sunbird, chaffinch of Sinai, the lesser kestrel, the house crow and the white-spectacled bulbul.
Among the most characteristic animals for this region are:
Gazelles: Gazelles are common in the Jordan region and can be seen in various areas, including deserts and plains.
Nubian Ibex: These wild goats are characteristic of the mountainous regions of Jordan, such as the regions around the Dead Sea and Petra.
Syrian Bear: Although rare and critically endangered, Syrian bears still inhabit some mountainous areas of northern Jordan.
Gray Wolf: Gray wolves are found in the desert and mountainous regions of Jordan.
Striped Hyena: Striped hyenas can also be found in various regions of Jordan, especially in the deserts and steppes.
Camel: Camels are common in the deserts of Jordan and have traditionally been used as transport animals.
Cheetah: Although rare, cheetahs have been reported in some nature reserves in Jordan.
Furthermore, a variety of bird, reptile and amphibian species live in the spring oases, including threatened species such as the desert tortoise.
Jordan is an important crossing point for many migratory bird species, with reserves such as the Azraq Ornithological Reserve attracting large numbers of species during migrations.
Along the Red Sea coast, there are several species of tropical fish that populate the coral reefs.

Guido Bissanti

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