Al-Karak in Jordan

5 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Union for the Mediterranean

Al-Karak and Kerak Castle © Berthold Werner/cc-by-3.0

Al-Karak and Kerak Castle © Berthold Werner/cc-by-3.0

Al-Karak, known in the Kingdom of Jerusalem as Kerak, is a city in Jordan known for its Crusader castle, the Kerak Castle. The castle is one of the three largest castles in the region, the other two being in Syria. Al-Karak is the capital city of the Karak Governorate. Al-Karak lies 140 kilometres (87 mi) to the south of Amman on the ancient King’s Highway. It is situated on a hilltop about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level and is surrounded on three sides by a valley. Al-Karak has a view of the Dead Sea. A city of about 32,000 people has been built up around the castle and it has buildings from the 19th-century Ottoman period. The town is built on a triangular plateau, with the castle at its narrow southern tip.   read more…

Theme Week Jordan

20 March 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, Union for the Mediterranean

Petra at night © Susanahajer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Petra at night © Susanahajer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jordan is an Arab kingdom in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the east and south, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north, Israel, Palestine and the Dead Sea to the west and the Red Sea in its extreme south-west. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman is Jordan’s most populous city as well as the country’s economic, political and cultural centre. Jordan is a founding member of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and is one of two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan has very close ties to the United States of America and is considered to be a major non-NATO ally. It enjoys “advanced status” with the European Union and is part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims to increase links between the EU and its neighbours. The country is a constitutional monarchy, but the king holds wide executive and legislative powers. In the midst of surrounding turmoil, it has been greatly hospitable, accepting refugees from almost all surrounding conflicts as early as 1948, with most notably the estimated 2.1 million Palestinians and the 1.4 million Syrian refugees residing in the country. The kingdom is also a refuge to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing the Islamic State. While Jordan continues to accept refugees, the recent large influx from Syria placed substantial strain on national resources and infrastructure. The UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) is the second largest employer in the country.   read more…

Theme Week Israel – Masada at the Dead Sea

4 February 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Masada National Park © flickr.com - Ana Paula Hirama/cc-by-sa-2.0

Masada National Park © flickr.com – Ana Paula Hirama/cc-by-sa-2.0

Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Jewish rebels and their families hiding there.   read more…

The Dead Sea

26 January 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Pete/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Pete/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east, Palestine to the west and north-west, and Israel to the south-west and south. Its surface and shores are 429 metres (1,407 ft) below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 34.2% salinity (in 2011), it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, though Lake Vanda in Antarctica (35%), Lake Assal (Djibouti) (34.8%), Lagoon Garabogazköl in the Caspian Sea (up to 35%) and some hypersaline ponds and lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond (44%)) have reported higher salinities. It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley and its main tributary is the Jordan River. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. The Dead Sea seawater has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating.   read more…

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