The region of Syria is an area located east of the Mediterranean sea. Throughout history, the region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including ancient Egyptians, Israelites, Babylonia, the Achaemenid Empire, the ancient Macedonians, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Fatimid Caliphate, the Crusaders, the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom and the French Third Republic. In the most common historical sense,'Syria' refers to the entire northern Levant, including Alexandretta and the ancient city of Antioch or in an extended sense the entire Levant as far south as Roman Egypt, but not including Mesopotamia; the area of Greater Syria extends over the medieval Arab Caliphate province of Bilad al-Sham, encompassing the Eastern Mediterranean or the Levant, Western Mesopotamia. The Arab conquest of the Levant in the 7th century gave rise to this province, which encompassed much of the region of Syria, became overlapping with this concept.
Other sources indicate that the term Greater Syria was coined during Ottoman rule, after 1516, to designate the approximate area included in present-day Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. The uncertainty in the definition of the extent of "Syria" is aggravated with the etymological confusion of the similar-sounding names Syria and Assyria; the question of the ultimate etymological identity of the two names remains open today, but regardless of etymology, the two names have been taken as exchangeable or synonymous from the time of Herodotus. In the Roman Empire,'Syria' and'Assyria' referred to two separate entities, Roman Syria and Roman Assyria. Killebrew and Steiner, treating the Levant as the Syrian region, gave the boundaries of the region as such: the Mediterranean Sea to the west, the Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia to the east, the Taurus Mountains of Anatolia to the north. For Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela, Syria covered the entire Fertile Crescent. In Late Antiquity, "Syria" meant a region located to the East of the Mediterranean Sea, West of the Euphrates River, North of the Arabian Desert and South of the Taurus Mountains, thereby including modern Syria, Jordan, the State of Palestine, parts of Southern Turkey, namely the Hatay Province and the Western half of the Southeastern Anatolia Region.
This late definition is equivalent to the region known in Classical Arabic by the name ash-Shām. After the Islamic conquest of Byzantine Syria in the 7th century, the name Syria fell out of primary use in the region itself, being superseded by the Arabic equivalent Shām, but survived in its original sense in Byzantine and Western European usage, in Syriac Christian literature. In the 19th century the name Syria was revived in its modern Arabic form to denote the whole of Bilad al-Sham, either as Suriyah or the modern form Suriyya, which replaced the Arabic name of Bilad al-Sham. After World War I, the name'Syria' was applied to the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, the contemporaneous but short-lived Arab Kingdom of Syria; the oldest attestation of the name'Syria' is from the 8th century BC in a bilingual inscription in Hieroglyphic Luwian and Phoenician. In this inscription the Luwian word Sura/i was translated to Phoenician ʔšr "Assyria." For Herodotus in the 5th century BC, Syria extended as far north as the Halys and as far south as Arabia and Egypt.
The name'Syria' derives from the ancient Greek name for Syrians, Greek: Σύριοι Syrioi, which the Greeks applied without distinction to various Near Eastern peoples living under the rule of Assyria. Modern scholarship confirms the Greek word traces back to the cognate Greek: Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the classical Arabic pronunciation of Syria is Sūriya. That name was not used among Muslims before about 1870, but it had been used by Christians earlier. According to the Syriac Orthodox Church, "Syrian" meant "Christian" in early Christianity. In English, "Syrian" meant a Syrian Christian such as Ephrem the Syrian. Following the declaration of Syria in 1936, the term "Syrian" became to designate citizens of that state, regardless of ethnicity; the adjective "Syriac" has come into common use since as an ethnonym to avoid the ambiguity of "Syrian". The Arabic term Sūriya refers to the modern state of Syria, as opposed to the historical region of Syria, but that distinction was not as clear until the mid-20th century.
Baalshamin, was a Semitic sky-god in ancient Palmyra. Hence, Sham refers to. Moreover. For instance, the Hebrew word for the sun is shemesh, where "shem/sham" from shamayim means "sky" and esh means "fire", i.e. "sky-fire". Other sources indicate that the term etymologically means "land of the left hand", referring to the fact that for someone in the Hejaz facing east, north is to the left (so the name of Yemen correspondingly means "the right (
Water supply and sanitation in Jordan
Water supply and sanitation in Jordan is characterized by severe water scarcity, exacerbated by forced immigration as a result of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Six-Day War in 1967, the Gulf War of 1990, the Iraq War of 2003 and the Syrian Civil War since 2011. Jordan is considered as one of the ten most water scarce countries in the world. High population growth, the depletion of groundwater reserves and the impacts of climate change are to aggravate the situation in the future; the country's major surface water resources, the Jordan River and the Yarmouk River, are shared with Israel and Syria who leave only a small amount for Jordan. The Disi Water Conveyance Project from the non-renewable Disi aquifer to the capital Amman, opened in July 2013, increases available resources by about 12%, it is planned to bridge the remaining gap between demand and supply through increased use of reclaimed water and desalinated sea water to be provided through the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal. Despite Jordan's severe water scarcity, more than 97% of Jordanians have access to an improved water source and 93% have access to improved sanitation.
This is one of the highest rates in the Middle North Africa. However, water supply is intermittent and it is common to store water in rooftop tanks; the level of water lost through leakage, underregistration, theft in municipal water supply is 51%. Water tariffs are subsidized. A National Water Strategy, adopted in 2009, emphasizes wastewater reuse; the country receives substantial foreign aid for investments in the water sector, accounting for about 30% of water investment financing. The modern history of the Jordanian water sector is characterized by a substantial development of its infrastructure to cope with a large increase of population and by the simultaneous modernization of its institutions to cope with the challenge of developing and maintaining the country's water infrastructure. Shortly after the independence of Jordan in 1946 and the annexation of the West Bank, only a small share of the population of less than half a million had access to piped water on their premises. Drinking water was supplied from local springs.
This early period of independence was characterized by a foiled attempt to develop the water resources share with Syria, the building of limited irrigation infrastructure in the Northern Jordan Valley, the creation of professional organizations in charge of the water sector. Between 1953 and 1955 the United States Special Representative for Water in the Middle East, Eric Johnston, had negotiated the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan to jointly develop the water resources of the Jordan River Basin between Israel, Lebanon and Jordan. Although the Plan, known as the Johnston Plan, was rejected by the Arab League on political grounds, Jordan used it as a basis for all its future development of water resources; the Plan foresaw the construction of a dam at Maqarin on the Yarmouk River at the Jordanian-Syrian border as well as a diversion weir further downstream to divert the Yarmouk waters for irrigation of the Jordan Valley. Based on a 1953 water sharing treaty with Syria, Jordan made plans and sought funding for the dam from the United States.
Israel, which diverted water from the Yarmouk to the Sea of Galilee for its own use, was not consulted, the U. S. decided not to fund the Maqarin dam. Thus, much of the river's winter flows drained to the Dead Sea and left insufficient water resources for the development of irrigation in Jordan. Despite this, Jordan embarked on the construction of the East Ghor Canal with U. S. funding to develop irrigation in the Northeastern Jordan Valley with the limited water it had available. For the development of its water infrastructure, Jordan needed to build strong organizations with qualified personnel. For that purpose, two laws were passed in 1959 to create the East Ghor Canal Authority responsible for the development of irrigation infrastructure, the Central Water Authority responsible for the development of drinking water supply infrastructure; these institutions operated outside of government routine and offered better pay than the regular public service in order to attract the motivated and talented employees required for the important task to develop the country's water sector.
These efforts, were thwarted when Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel, with it about a third of its population, in the Six-Day War of 1967, during an ensuing period of internal disorder and violence known as the Black September that lasted until 1971. From the early 1970s onwards the country's water infrastructure was expanded with the construction of the King Talal Dam completed in 1977 and the completion of the East Ghor Canal in 1987; the country's first wastewater treatment plant at Ain Ghazal had been commissioned in 1968, but the construction of other wastewater treatment plants was addressed in only beginning in the late 1970s. In 1985, the largest wastewater treatment plant in the country was commissioned in As-Samra, serving Greater Amman; the plant used the stabilization pond a natural technology that needed no electricity. In terms of institutions, the two autonomous water sector institutions created in the 1959 had been merged into the Natural Resources Authority in 1965, but this overly centralized arrangement including non-water functions such as mining did not prove to be successful.
Therefore, in a further institutional shift, in 1973 three new organizations were created, each by its own law: The Amman Water and Sewer Authority, the Drinking Water Supply Corporation in charge of water supply in the areas outside the capital, the Jordan Valley Commission. In
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was or desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago. It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2, representing 0.7 % of the global ocean surface, but its connection to the Atlantic via the Strait of Gibraltar-the narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa- is only 14 km wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1,500 m and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 m in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea. The sea is bordered on the north by Europe, the east by Asia, in the south by Africa, it is located between latitudes 30° and 46° N and longitudes 6° W and 36° E. Its west-east length, from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Iskenderun, on the southwestern coast of Turkey, is 4,000 km; the sea's average north-south length, from Croatia's southern shore to Libya, is 800 km. The sea was an important route for merchants and travellers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region; the history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. The countries surrounding the Mediterranean in clockwise order are Spain, Monaco, Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Albania, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. In addition, the Gaza Strip and the British Overseas Territories of Gibraltar and Akrotiri and Dhekelia have coastlines on the sea.
The Ancient Greeks called the Mediterranean ἡ θάλασσα or sometimes ἡ μεγάλη θάλασσα, ἡ ἡμέτερα θάλασσα, or ἡ θάλασσα ἡ καθ'ἡμᾶς. The Romans called it Mare Mare Internum and, starting with the Roman Empire, Mare Nostrum; the term Mare Mediterrāneum appears later: Solinus used it in the 3rd century, but the earliest extant witness to it is in the 6th century, in Isidore of Seville. It means'in the middle of land, inland' in Latin, a compound of medius, -āneus; the Latin word is a calque of Greek μεσόγειος, from μέσος and γήινος, from γῆ. The original meaning may have been'the sea in the middle of the earth', rather than'the sea enclosed by land'; the Carthaginians called it the "Syrian Sea". In ancient Syrian texts, Phoenician epics and in the Hebrew Bible, it was known as the "Great Sea" or as "The Sea". Another name was the "Sea of the Philistines", from the people inhabiting a large portion of its shores near the Israelites. In Modern Hebrew, it is called HaYam HaTikhon'the Middle Sea'. In Modern Arabic, it is known as al-Baḥr al-Mutawassiṭ'the Middle Sea'.
In Islamic and older Arabic literature, it was Baḥr al-Rūm'the Sea of the Romans' or'the Roman Sea'. At first, that name referred to only the Eastern Mediterranean, but it was extended to the whole Mediterranean. Other Arabic names were Baḥr al-šām'the Sea of Syria' and Baḥr al-Maghrib'the Sea of the West'. In Turkish, it is the Akdeniz'the White Sea'; the origin of the name is not clear, as it is not known in earlier Greek, Byzantine or Islamic sources. It may be to contrast with the Black Sea. In Persian, the name was translated as Baḥr-i Safīd, used in Ottoman Turkish, it is the origin of the colloquial Greek phrase Άσπρη Θάλασσα. Johann Knobloch claims that in Classical Antiquity, cultures in the Levant used colours to refer to the cardinal points: black referred to the north, yellow or blue to east, red to south, white to west; this would explain both the Turkish Akdeniz and the Arab nomenclature described above. Several ancient civilizations were located around the Mediterranean shores and were influenced by their proximity to the sea.
It provided routes for trade and war, as well as food for numerous communities throughout the ages. Due to the shared climate and access to the sea, c
Arab Kingdom of Syria
The Arab Kingdom of Syria was a self-proclaimed, unrecognized state that began its independence as an "Emirate" after the withdrawal of the British forces from OETA East on 26 November 1919. As a "Kingdom" it existed only a little over four months, from 8 March to 25 July 1920, it is regarded by Arab nationalists as the second modern Arab state after the Kingdom of Hejaz. During its brief existence, the kingdom was led by Sharif Hussein bin Ali's son Faisal bin Hussein. Despite its claims to the territory of Greater Syria, Faisal's government controlled a limited area and was dependent on Britain which, along with France opposed the idea of a Greater Syria and refused to recognize the kingdom; the kingdom surrendered to French forces on 25 July 1920. The Arab Revolt and the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence are crucial factors in the foundations of the Arab Kingdom of Syria. In the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence the promises of an Arab Kingdom were made by the British in return for an Arab uprising against the Ottomans.
As the promises of independence were being made by the British, separate agreements were being made including the Sykes–Picot Agreement with the French. The implementation of the Sykes–Picot Agreement would lead to the undermining and destruction of the Arab Kingdom of Syria. Despite the significance of the Arab Revolt to modern Arab countries formed in its wake, at the time there was significant distrust and opposition to the idea of an Arab Kingdom or series of Arab Kingdoms; this is due in part to the heavy influence of the French and the British in compelling the revolt and establishment of what is considered to be by modern standards puppet states. Critics claim that this involvement of foreign powers in handing out large sums of money and military support to establish an empire that would be led by imperial aspirants, rather than legitimate Arab nationalists, is the primary cause for the lack of duration of the majority of the early Hashemite Kingdoms. Critics go on further to claim it was anathema to many Arabs that the family of the Sharif of Mecca, the Hashemites, could wrest control from the Ottoman Sultan, with whom their loyalty had rested for centuries.
Near the end of World War I, the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force under command of Edmund Allenby captured Damascus on 30 September 1918. Shortly thereafter, on 3 October, Faisal entered the city; the jubilation would be short lived, as Faisal would soon be made aware of the Sykes–Picot agreement. Faisal had come to expect an independent Arab kingdom in the name of his father but was soon told of the division of territory and how Syria fell under French protective power. Faisal did not appreciate this betrayal by the British but found reassurance in the knowledge that the actual settlement would be worked out at a date when the war had ended, he was hoping that by the British would have changed their support for French pretensions in Syria. On 5 October, with the permission of General Allenby, Faisal announced the establishment of a and independent Arab constitutional government. Faisal announced it would be an Arab government based on justice and equality for all Arabs regardless of religion.
Much to the chagrin of French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, the establishment of a semi-independent Arab state without international recognition and under the auspices of the British was disconcerting. Reassurances by Allenby that all actions taken were provisional did not ease the looming tensions between the British, the French and the Arabs. For Arab nationalists, many of the Arabs who fought in the Arab Revolt, this was the realization of a long hard-fought goal. After the war, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Faisal pushed for Arab independence. At the Conference, the victorious Allies decided what was to become of the defeated nations of the Central Powers, to control their territories, such as the Ottoman Empire's Middle East possessions; the status of the Arab lands in the Middle East was the subject of intense negotiations between the French and British. In May 1919, the French and British Prime Ministers met in Quai d’Orsay to decide between them their respective claims to territories or spheres of influence in the Middle East.
The meeting decided that in return for a British guarantee of French control in Syria, the British would be given a mandate over Mosul and Palestine. At about the same time, an American compromise resulted in an agreement to set up a commission to determine the wishes of the inhabitants. Though they supported the idea and France backed out leaving the King–Crane Commission of 1919 American; the findings of the commission, not published until 1922 after the vote on the mandates in the League of Nations, indicated strong Arab support for an independent Arab state and opposition to a French presence. These events in Europe led Syrian nationalist societies like al-Fatat to make preparations for a national congress; these Syrian nationalist societies advocated complete independence for an Arab Kingdom that united Arabs under Faisal. The King–Crane Commission encouraged efforts to unify and hasty elections were called including representatives from all over the Arab lands, including Palestine and Lebanon, although French officials prevented many of their representatives from arriving.
The first official session of the Syrian Congress was held on 3 June 1919 and al-Fatat member Hashim al-Atassi was elected its president. When the King–Crane Commission arrived in Damascus on 25 June 1919, it was met with a flurry of leaflets saying "Independence or Death". On 2 July the Syrian Congress passed a number of reso
Jordanian cuisine is a traditional style of food preparation originating from, or used in Jordan that has developed from centuries of social and political change. There is wide variety of techniques used in Jordanian cuisine ranging from baking, sautéeing and grilling to stuffing of vegetables and poultry. Common in Jordanian cuisine is roasting or preparing foods with special sauces; as one of the largest producers of olives in the world, olive oil is the main cooking oil in Jordan. Herbs, onion, tomato sauce and lemon are typical flavours found in Jordan; the blend of spices called za'atar contains a common local herb called Sumac that grows wild in Jordan and is identified with Jordanian and other Mideastern cuisines. Yogurt is served alongside food and is a common ingredient itself, in particular, jameed, a form of dried yogurt is unique to Jordanian cuisine and a main ingredient in Mansaf the national dish of Jordan, a symbol in Jordanian culture for generosity. Another famous meat dish in Southern Jordan in the Bedouin Desert area of Petra and Wadi Rum is the Zarb, prepared in a submerged oven called a "taboon".
It is considered a delicacy of that area. Internationally known foods which are common and popular everyday snacks in Jordan include hummus, a puree of chick peas blended with tahini and garlic and falafel, a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas. A typical mezze includes foods such as kibbeh, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh and pickles. Bread, rice and bulgur all have a role in Jordanian cuisine. Popular desserts include as baklava, knafeh and qatayef a dish made specially for Ramadan, in addition to seasonal fruits such as watermelons and cactus pear which are served in summer. Turkish coffee and tea flavored with mint or sage are ubiquitous in Jordan. Arabic coffee is usually served on more formal occasions. Arak, an aniseed flavoured spirit is drunk with food. Jordanian cuisine is part of Levantine cuisine and shares many traits and similarities with the cuisine of Lebanon and Syrian with some local variations. More Jordanian cuisine is influenced by historical connections to the cuisine of Turkey and the former Ottoman Empire.
Jordanian cuisine is influenced by the cuisines of groups who have made a home for themselves in modern Jordan including, Circassians, Palestinians, Syrians. Food is a important aspect of Jordanian culture. In villages, meals are a community event with extended family present. In addition, food is used by Jordanians to express their hospitality and generosity. Jordanians serve family and guests with great pride in their homes. A'Jordanian invitation' means that you are expected to eat everything. Most of the celebrations in Jordan are exceptionally diverse in nature and quite festive at the same time; each celebration is marked with dishes from Jordanian cuisine served to the guests. There are many traditional small gatherings in Jordan too. Customs such as weddings, birth of a child, funerals and specific religious and national ceremonies such as Ramadan and Jordan's independence day all call for splendid food to be served to guests. To celebrate the birth of a child, Karawiya, a caraway flavoured pudding is served to guests.
By far the most dominant style of eating in Jordan, mezze is the small plate, appetizer, community style eating, aided by dipping and otherwise scooping with bread. Mezze plates are rolled out before larger main dishes. In a typical Jordanian mezze, you might find any combination of the following dishes: In Jordan, meals are started with soups. Jordanian soups are named after their main ingredient such as: Arbud: A dense, unleavened traditional Jordanian Bedouin bread baked directly in a wood fire by burying in ash and covering with hot embers. Ka'ak: Is a traditional Jordanian bread made in a large leaf or ring-shape and is covered with sesame seeds. Karadeesh: Is a traditional Jordanian bread made from corn. Khubz: Literally, “generic” bread. Bread with pockets. Taboon: a flatbread wrap used in many cuisines, it is traditionally eaten with different fillings. Taboon bread known as laffa bread, is sold as street food, stuffed with hummus, falafel or shaved meat. Shrak: Is a traditional Bedouin bread, popular in Jordan and the region as a whole.
The bread is thrown to great thinness before being tossed onto a hot iron griddle called Saj that’s shaped like an inverted wok. Known as markook. Baklava: A dessert made with thin layers of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey or syrup. Halva: A Middle Eastern confection made from sesame flour and milk mixed with other ingredients made with pistachios. Knafeh: A cheese pastry of shredded phyllo soaked in sugar-based syrup. Warbat: A pastry of thin layers of phyllo pastry filled with custard. Eaten during the month of Ramadan. Qatayef: A sweet dumpling stuffed with cream and pistachios. Consumed during Ramadan. Arabic coffee: is the domain of the Bedouins and consists of ground fire-roasted beans and cardamom drawn thin and served in espresso-sized servings. Ereq Soos: Known as Sus. Lime-mint juice: Consists of Lemon and mint. Qamar Eddine: Apricot juice. Served in Ramadan. Sahlab: boiled milk with starch from Orchis tubers, covered with smashed coconut and cinnamon. Shaneeneh: Is a special refreshing Jordanian beverage, c
Sport in Jordan
Sports in Jordan are important to the country's culture. Games, self-defense, diving, tennis and equestrian sports are all eagerly accepted by young people as sports. Football is the most popular sport in Jordan. In every area, from Khalda all the way to Al Hashimi Al-Janoobial, most people on every street play football. Football is becoming popular in Jordan because of the large recent improvements in Jordan's national football team; the national football team reached 37th in September 2004 according to the FIFA Rankings. Little Leagues and Youth Clubs related to football are very popular in Jordan, some of which are supervised and run by the Jordan Football Association; the Jordan League, similar to the English Premier League, attracts reasonable crowds each week once the season has begun. The league which began in 1944 has seen huge growth in the past decade, with new teams, improved players, new stadiums and paid Managers. Under the Jordan League is the Second Division Jordan League; however the bottom two teams in the first division get relegated at the end of the season, whilst the top two teams in the second division are promoted.
In doing this it gives teams in the second division a bigger motivation to do well in the league, whilst at the same time makes sure that teams in the first division always try their best to avoid relegation. In the 2008/2009 season the teams in the first division were: Al-Arabi Al-Baqa'a SC Al-Faisaly Al-Hussein Al-Jazeera Al-Wahdat SC Shabab Al-Hussein Shabab Al-Ordon Al-Yarmouk FC Ittihad Al-Ramtha Al-Ahli Al-Ramtha SC Rugby is on the rise in Jordan and many people are playing and watching it. There are four clubs in Jordan: Amman Citadel Rugby Club,Nomads Rugby Club, Aqaba Sharks and Amman Saracens Jordan Rugby Official WebsiteAmman Citadel Rugby Club Website Major improvements are occurring in basketball in Jordan. Jordan's national basketball team is now being sponsored by Zain and participating in various Arab and Middle East basketball competitions. Local teams include: Al-Orthodoxi Al-Riyadi, Zain, Al-Hussein and Al-Jazeera. Skateboarding is becoming popular in Jordan after the construction of 7Hills Skatepark in Amman.
Although cycling is not a famous sport in Jordan, the sport is developing as a lifestyle and a new way to travel and explore the country among the youth. The governing body of cycling in Jordan is the Jordanian Cycling Federation; the cycling clubs in Jordan are: Cycling Jordan Bike Rush Nader Bikes Jordan at the Olympics Jordan at the Paralympics
Geography of Jordan
Jordan is situated geographically in Southwest Asia, south of Syria, west of Iraq, northwest of Saudi Arabia and east of Israel and the West Bank. The territory of Jordan now covers about 91,880 square kilometres. Between 1950 and the Six-Day War in 1967, although not recognized, Jordan claimed and administered an additional 5,880 square kilometres encompassing the West Bank. Jordan is landlocked except at its southern extremity, where nearly 26 kilometres of shoreline along the Gulf of Aqaba provide access to the Red Sea. Geographic coordinates: 31°00′N 36°00′E Except for small sections of the borders with Israel and Syria, Jordan's international boundaries do not follow well-defined natural features of the terrain; the country's boundaries were established by various international agreements and with the exception of the border with Israel, none was in dispute in early 1989. Jordan's boundaries with Syria and Saudi Arabia do not have the special significance that the border with Israel does.
In 1965 Jordan and Saudi Arabia concluded an agreement that delimited the boundary. Jordan gained 19 kilometers of land on the Gulf of Aqaba and 6,000 square kilometers of territory in the interior, 7,000 square kilometers of Jordanian-administered, landlocked territory was ceded to Jordan; the new boundary enabled Jordan to expand its port facilities and established a zone in which the two parties agreed to share petroleum revenues if oil were discovered. The agreement protected the pasturage and watering rights of nomadic tribes inside the exchanged territories; the country consists of a plateau between 700 metres and 1,200 metres meters high, divided into ridges by valleys and gorges, a few mountainous areas. West of the plateau, land descents form the East Bank of the Jordan Rift Valley; the valley is part of the north-south Great Rift Valley, its successive depressions are Lake Tiberias, Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba at the Red Sea. Jordan's western border follows the bottom of the rift.
Although an earthquake-prone region, no severe shocks had been recorded for several centuries. By far the greatest part of the East Bank is desert, displaying the land forms and other features associated with great aridity. Most of this land is part of northern Arabian Desert. There are broad expanses of sand and dunes in the south and southeast, together with salt flats. Occasional jumbles of sandstone hills or low mountains support only meager and stunted vegetation that thrives for a short period after the scanty winter rains; these areas are the least populated regions of Jordan. The drainage network is incised. In many areas the relief provides no eventual outlet to the sea, so that sedimentary deposits accumulate in basins where moisture evaporates or is absorbed in the ground. Toward the depression in the western part of the East Bank, the desert rises into the Jordanian Highlands—a steppe country of high cut limestone plateaus with an average elevation of about 900 meters. Occasional summits in this region reach 1,200 meters in the northern part and exceed 1,700 meters in the southern part.
These highlands are an area of long-settled villages. The western edge of this plateau country forms an escarpment along the eastern side of the Jordan River-Dead Sea depression and its continuation south of the Dead Sea. Most of the wadis that provide drainage from the plateau country into the depression carry water only during the short season of winter rains. Incised with deep, canyon-like walls, whether flowing or dry the wadis can be formidable obstacles to travel; the Jordan River is short, but from its mountain headwaters the riverbed drops from an elevation of about 3,000 meters above sea level to more than 400 meters below sea level. Before reaching Jordanian territory the river forms the Sea of Galilee, the surface of, 212 meters below sea level; the Jordan River's principal tributary is the Yarmouk River. Near the junction of the two rivers, the Yarmouk forms the boundary between Israel on the northwest, Syria on the northeast, Jordan on the south; the Zarqa River, the second main tributary of the Jordan River and empties within the East Bank.
A 380-kilometer-long rift valley runs from the Yarmouk River in the north to Al Aqaba in the south. The northern part, from the Yarmouk River to the Dead Sea, is known as the Jordan Valley, it is divided into western parts by the Jordan River. Bordered by a steep escarpment on both the eastern and the western side, the valley reaches a maximum width of twenty-two kilometers at some points; the valley is properly known as Al Ghor. The Rift Valley on the southern side of the Dead Sea is known as the Southern Ghawr and the Wadi al Jayb (p