The kingdom is named after the River Jordan. The name "Jordan" derives from Arabic and other Semitic languages and has multiple meanings (Ancient Arabic الأردن meaning "Steep/Slope" from the root يرد/أرد Ard/Yrd, the Canaanite root Arda, Hebrew ירד Yarad, ultimately from Aramaic Yarden meaning "down-flowing" or "one who descends" in the root ירד Yrd). The Jordan Rift Valley of the Jordan River separates Jordan and Palestine. The highest point in the country is Jabal Umm al Dami, at 1,854 m (6,083 ft) above sea level, its top is also covered with snow, while the lowest is the Dead Sea −420 m (−1,378 ft). Jordan is part of a region considered to be "the cradle of civilization", the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent. Major cities include the capital Amman and as-Salt in the west, Irbid, Jerash and Zarqa, in the northwest and Madaba, Karak and Aqaba in the southwest. Major towns in the eastern part of the country are the oasis town of Azraq and Ruwaished.
The ancient city of Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan, lying in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, the great valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock.
Petra was built by the Nabataeans, an ancient Semetic people, and is best known for the impressive stone structures such as the treasury (pictured) and the monastery which are carved into the rock in the ancient city. Petra today is a popular tourist site, and was declared a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in 1985.
Picture of Amman, the capital of Jordan at nighttime. Amman was named one of the MENA's best cities according to economic, labour, environmental, and socio-cultural factors. It is a major tourist destination in the region and the capital is especially popular among Gulf tourists. Amman is considered one of the richest and most Western-oriented cities in the Middle East.
El-Tell was born into a wealthy family in Irbid just as the Ottoman army were retreating from the town. His mother held him up to the window to witness the soldiers leaving. His secondary education was in Egypt. When he was 18 years old he was jailed for demonstrating against the British.
"Jordan itself is a beautiful country. It is wild, with limitless deserts where the Bedouin roam, but the mountains of the north are clothed in green forests, and where the Jordan River flows it is fertile and warm in winter. Jordan has a strange, haunting beauty and a sense of timelessness. Dotted with the ruins of empires once great, it is the last resort of yesterday in the world of tomorrow."