The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an oft-overlooked nation in the Arab world thanks in part to its ability to avoid the violent conflicts surrounding it. While neighboring nations have seen failed democracies, dictatorships, and everything in between, Jordan’s constitutional monarchy has served its citizens well in terms of stability, and its current King Abdullah II has been praised for his neoliberal economic platform, as well as for investing in education and social welfare programs. However, Syria’s civil war has led to Jordan’s leadership taking a tougher stance against freedoms of the press and other civil liberties.
Jordan’s free trade agreement with the United States and a strong relationship with the EU may also be at risk due to heightening tensions and disruptions in Western politics. Throw in the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis brought on by neighboring conflicts and Jordan’s future does not look as bright as it did a decade ago.
Aside from oil and the financial industry, Jordan’s $37 billion economy relies heavily on tourism — not just from weekend trips, but also from students from abroad that came to study archeology and anthropology. Although Jordan is rich in history, one place in particular draws visitors from around the world.