Location and geography
Jordan has an area of about 35,475 square miles (91,900 square kilometers). It lies in the center of the Middle East, sharing its northern border with Syria, eastern border with Iraq, it's southern and eastern borders with Saudi Arabia, and western border with the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and Israel. Its only seaport is the port of Aqaba. Jordan has barren deserts, fertile valleys, and colorful rock and sand mountains. It contains the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, and the Great Rift Valley, which was created twenty million years ago when tectonic plates shifted, stretching from Lake Tiberius south through Jordan and into eastern Africa.
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There are numerous missionary groups within the country.
The official language is Arabic. English, though without an official status, is widely spoken throughout the country and is the language of commerce and banking, as well as a official status in the education sector. The spoken language is Jordanian Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic and English are learned at public and most private schools with French being a less popular elective. Radio in Jordan offers services in Arabic, English, and French. Armenian as well as Caucasian languages like Circassian and Chechen, are understood and spoken by small communities residing in Jordan, with several schools teaching them.
Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with small amounts of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government''s heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit.. The global economic slowdown and regional turmoil, however, have depressed Jordan''s GDP growth, impacting export-oriented sectors, construction, and tourism. In 2011 the government approved two economic relief packages and a budgetary supplement, largely to improve the living conditions for the middle and poor classes. Jordan''s finances have also been strained by a series of natural gas pipeline attacks in Egypt, causing Jordan to substitute more expensive heavy fuel oils to generate electricity. An influx of foreign aid, especially from Gulf countries, has helped to somewhat offset these extrabudgetary expenditures, but the budget deficit is likely to remain high, at nearly 10% of GDP excluding grants. Amman likely will continue to depend heavily on foreign assistance to finance the deficit in 2012. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls.
Food in Daily Life. An ancient legend tells of an Arabian shepherd who six thousand years ago put his supply of milk in a pouch made from...