Al Mafraq, Jordan

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Al Mafraq, Jordan

Region: Al Mafraq


Geographic Coordinates: 32.339900, 36.205200
Temperature Range: 5.0°C to 35.0°C (41°F to 95°F)
Climate: Dry and hot summers, mild winters with occasional rainfall.
Population: 580000
Language: Arabic

Al Mafraq is a small city in northern Jordan, Approximately 80 kilometers from the capital city of Amman. It is an important transportation hub due to its location on the main highway connecting Jordan with Syria and Iraq. The city has a population of around 60, 000 people and covers an area of approximately 16 square kilometers. The name Al Mafraq means the crossroads in Arabic, Reflecting its strategic location at the intersection of several major trade routes throughout history. The city has a rich cultural heritage dating back to ancient times when it was known as Gerasa.

Many historical sites can be found in Al Mafraq, Including ruins from Roman and Byzantine periods such as the Temple of Artemis and Hadrian’s Arch. Aside from its historical significance, Al Mafraq is also known for its natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of rolling hills covered with olive groves and fruit orchards surrounding the city or explore nearby nature reserves such as Ajloun Forest Reserve or Dibeen Forest Reserve. One notable landmark in Al Mafraq is King Hussein Air Base which serves as one of Jordan’s main air force bases providing training facilities for pilots worldwide.

The economy mainly relies on agriculture due to fertile land producing crops like olives, Figs, Grapes and wheat while recent developments have led to an increase in industrial activities with new factories being established producing textiles, Furniture among other products. Despite being smaller compared to other cities like Amman or Aqaba, Al Mafraq has a vibrant community with many cultural events throughout the year including the annual Olive Festival celebrating agricultural heritage attracting visitors from all over Jordan.

Al Mafraq offers visitors a unique experience by showcasing rich history and natural beauty making it an ideal place to explore while visiting Jordan.



Important Landmarks

  1. Qasr al-Hallabat: A well-preserved Roman fortress dating back to the 3rd century AD.
  2. Ajloun Castle: A 12th-century castle built by Saladin’s general Izz al-Din Usama.
  3. Al Mazar Islamic Archaeological Museum: An archaeological museum that houses a collection of Islamic artifacts.
  4. Um Qais: An ancient Greco-Roman city located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights.
  5. Jerash Ruins: One of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world with impressive ruins including temples, theaters, and arches.
  6. Pella Archaeological Site: An ancient city dating back to Neolithic times with Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine ruins.
  7. Al Koura Olive Oil Press Museum: A museum showcasing traditional olive oil production techniques used in Jordan for centuries.
  8. Umm el-Jimal Archaeological Site: A well-preserved Nabataean-Roman town with impressive ruins such as churches, houses, and fortifications.
  9. Azraq Wetland Reserve: A nature reserve with diverse wildlife including birds such as herons and storks as well as mammals like foxes and wild cats.
  10. Al Mafraq Grand Mosque: The largest mosque in Al Mafraq known for its beautiful architecture.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture
    • Production of fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons
  2. Construction
    • Prominent in the area due to ongoing development projects
  3. Transportation
    • Bus companies and taxi services are prevalent in the city
  4. Trade
    • Small shops selling clothing, electronics, and household items
  5. Government institutions
    • Hospitals and schools that provide employment opportunities for residents

Noteable History

  1. Al Mafraq was established as a town in 1921 during the British Mandate of Jordan.
  2. During the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, Al Mafraq was a major transit point for Palestinian refugees fleeing to Jordan.
  3. In 1970, King Hussein of Jordan used Al Mafraq as a base to launch an attack on Palestinian guerrillas who had taken control of parts of the country in what became known as Black September.
  4. The city is home to several important archaeological sites, including the Roman city of Dion and the Byzantine-era Church of St. George.
  5. Notable people associated with Al Mafraq include Ahmad Obeidat, a former Prime Minister of Jordan; and Ahmad Shukeiri, one of the founders and first chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Museums and Things To See

  1. Al Mafraq Museum
  2. Qasr al-Hallabat
  3. Al-Malik Abdullah Mosque
  4. Ajloun Castle
  5. Umm el-Jimal
  6. Al-Kharrar Archaeological Site
  7. The Jordanian Museum of Popular Tradition
  8. The Roman Army and Chariot Experience at Jerash
  9. Azraq Wetland Reserve



Cultural Events

  1. Al Mafraq Festival: This festival occurs annually in July and showcases traditional music, dance performances, and local cuisine.
  2. Jordanian Independence Day: This national holiday is celebrated on May 25th every year to honor the country’s independence from British colonial rule.
  3. Eid al-Fitr: A Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated with feasting and gift-giving.
  4. Al Mafraq Camel Race Festival: This festival happens every year in February or March and features camel races along with other traditional activities.
  5. Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts: Although not situated directly in Al Mafraq, this nearby festival displays Jordanian culture through music, dance performances, theater shows, poetry readings etc.
  6. Christmas celebrations: Even though Christians make up only about 5% of the population in Jordan; those living in Al Mafraq celebrate Christmas with church services as well as festive gatherings with family members & friends.

Please note that these events may vary depending on current social restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic situations or any other reasons such as political instability etc.


Cuisine

  • Mansaf – a traditional Jordanian dish made with lamb, rice, and yogurt sauce. You can find it at Al Quds Restaurant.
  • Zarb – a Bedouin-style barbecue that includes lamb or chicken cooked in an underground oven. You can try it at Al Khaldiya Restaurant.
  • Falafel – a deep-fried chickpea patty served in a pita bread sandwich with vegetables and tahini sauce. You can find it at Abu Jbara Falafel.
  • Shawarma – thinly sliced meat (usually chicken or beef) wrapped in pita bread with vegetables and sauces like hummus or garlic sauce. You can try it at Shawarma Abu Khalil.
  • Maqluba – an upside-down rice dish cooked with meat (usually chicken or lamb), vegetables, and spices like cinnamon and cardamom. You can find it at Al Zaraqa Restaurant.
  • Kunafa – a sweet pastry made of shredded phyllo dough filled with cheese and soaked in syrup flavored with rose water or orange blossom water. You can try it at Kunafa Abu Ali.
  • Mandi- A traditional Yemeni dish consisting of meat (usually lamb) that is cooked over hot coals until tender then served on top of fragrant rice mixed with spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric etc. You may find this dish on some Yemeni restaurants around the city such as Mandi Wadi Hadramout restaurant.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Al Mafraq Park is a public park that features playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking paths for visitors to enjoy.
    2. Al Shouneh Reserve is a nature reserve that offers hiking trails, camping sites, and opportunities to view wildlife in their natural habitat.
    3. Al Mafraq Sports City is a sports complex equipped with facilities for soccer, basketball, tennis, and swimming.
    4. King Abdullah II Park is a large park that boasts fountains, gardens, and a lake where visitors can go boating.
    5. Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah Mosque Park is a small park located around a mosque with benches and shaded areas perfect for relaxation.
    6. Al Mafraq Youth Center provides recreational activities such as indoor soccer and basketball courts as well as ping pong tables and pool tables to keep visitors entertained.
    7. Wadi Sirhan Nature Reserve showcases the breathtaking desert landscape through its hiking trails.

    Please note that some of these parks may be temporarily closed or have restricted access due to COVID-19 restrictions in Jordan. It’s always best to check before visiting any public place during this time period.


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