Aqaba

Aqaba

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Aqaba'
Start a new discussion about 'Aqaba'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
For the town in the West Bank, see Aqabah, West Bank
Aqabah
Aqabah is a Palestinian village in the northeastern West Bank, which is being targeted for demolition by the Israeli Civil Administration...

.

Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, the capital of Aqaba Governorate
Aqaba Governorate
Aqaba is one of the governorates of Jordan, located south of Amman, capital of Jordan. Its capital is Aqaba. It is the fourth largest governorate in Jordan by area and is ranked 10th by population....

 at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important to the area, and the town is an exporter of phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 and some shell
Seashell
A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers...

s. Aqaba is also the largest city on the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

.

History



Ancient history


Aqaba has been an inhabited settlement since 4000 BC
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 profiting from its strategic location at the junction of trading routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. The early settlement was presumably Edomite
Edomite language
The Edomite language was a Canaanite language spoken by the Edomites in southwestern Jordan in the first millennium BC. It is known only from a very small corpus. In early times, it seems to have been written with a Canaanite alphabet; like the Moabite language, it retained feminine -t. However, in...

 in ancient times. It was a center of the Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

ites, and then of the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Nabataeans, during the first century B.C. who populated the region extensively. The oldest known text in Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 is an inscription found in Jabal Ram
Jabal Ram
Jabal Ram is a mountain in Jordan. Most authorities give its elevation as metres above sea level. It was once thought to be the highest point in Jordan, but SRTM data shows that Jabal Umm al Dami is metres above sea level and therefore higher....

 50 km east of Aqaba.

The Bible refers to the area in (1 Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

 9:26) "King Solomon also built ships in Ezion-Geber
Ezion-Geber
Ezion-Geber or Asiongaber was a city of Idumea, a biblical seaport on the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the area of modern Aqaba and Eilat.-Biblical references :...

, which is near Ayla in Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

, on the shores of the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

."
This verse probably refers to an Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 port city on the same ground as modern Aqaba.

The Ptolemaic Greeks called it Berenice, and the Roman
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

s Aila and Aelana.
Aqaba reached its peak during Roman times, the great long distance road the Via Traiana Nova
Via Traiana Nova
The Via Traiana Nova was an ancient Roman road built by the emperor Trajan. It was specifically known as the Via Traiana Nova in order to distinguish it from the Via Traiana in Italy. It is occasionally also referred to simply as the 'Via Nova' or 'Via Nova Traiana' and was completed under...

 led south from Bostra through Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, terminating in Aqaba, where it connected with a west road leading to Philistia and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Around 106 A.D. Aqaba was one of the main ports for the Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. In the year 410 A.D. Aqaba (known then as Ayla) became the garrison of the Roman 10th Legion of the Sea Strait (Legio X Fretensis)
Legio X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis was a Roman legion levied by Augustus Caesar in 41/40 BC to fight during the period of civil war that started the dissolution of the Roman Republic...

. Ayla was the home origin of what came to be known as the Ayla-Axum Amphoras
Ayla-Axum Amphoras
These narrow conical amphoras are a type lately called “Ayla-Axum” after the widest range of finds in the Red Sea. The Ayla-Axum amphora has parallels from at least three terrestrial sites in Eritrea and Ethiopia: Aksum, where amphora sherds with gray fabric were found by the Deutsche Aksum...

.
Soon after the Islamic conquests, it came under the rule of the Islamic Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

, and thereafter passed through the hands of such dynasties as the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

s, Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

s, Fatimid
Fatimid
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn was a Berber Shia Muslim caliphate first centered in Tunisia and later in Egypt that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz from 5 January 909 to 1171.The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the...

s and Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

s. The early days of the Islamic era saw the construction of the city of Ayla (fr), which was described by the geographer Shams Eddin Muqaddasi
Al-Muqaddasi
Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shams al-Din Al-Muqaddasi , also transliterated as Al-Maqdisi and el-Mukaddasi, was a medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim .-Biography:Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalem in 946 AD...

 as being next to the true settlement, which was lying in ruins close by. The ruins of Ayla (unearthed in the 1980s by an American-Jordanian archeological team) are a few minutes walk north along the main waterfront road.

Some stories in the famous Arabian Nights also refer to Sinbad
Sinbad
Sinbad or Sindbad may refer to:* Sinbad the Sailor, from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, also known as Arabian Nights* Sinbad the Sailor, an alias of Edmond Dantes in the novel The Count of Monte Cristo...

 adventures to take the sea from this port city of Ayla.

During the 12th century, the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 controlled the area and built their fortress of Helim, which remains relatively well-preserved today. In addition to building a stronghold within Aqaba, the Crusaders fortified the small island of Ile de Graye (now known as Pharaoh's Island
Pharaoh's Island
Pharaoh's Island refers to an island in the northern Gulf of Aqaba off the shore of Egypt's eastern Sinai Peninsula.-History:In the 12th century, Crusaders defending the route between Cairo and Damascus controlled by the nearby city of Aqaba, in Jordan, built a citadel on the small island, which...

, near the shore of Sinai
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

), now lies in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian territorial waters about 7 kilometers west of Aqaba.

By 1187, both Aqaba and the island had been recaptured, for Muslim rule, by Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

. The Mamluks took over in 1250 and rebuilt the fort in the 14th century under one of the last Mamluk sultans, Qansah al-Ghouri.

By the beginning of the 16th century, the Mamluk dynasty had fallen into decline and the area came under the influence of the Turkish/Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. During the following period, the city declined in status, for 400 years remaining a simple fishing village of little significance. The port of Aqaba quickly regained its importance after the Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 built the Hejaz railway, that connects the port to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

.

Modern history


During World War I, the occupying Ottoman forces were forced to withdraw from Aqaba after a raid, known as the Battle of Aqaba
Battle of Aqaba
Battle of Aqaba was fought for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. The attacking forces of the Arab Revolt, led by Auda ibu Tayi and T. E. Lawrence , were victorious over the Turkish defenders.-Background:...

, led by T. E. Lawrence
T. E. Lawrence
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

 (known as Lawrence of Arabia) and the Arab forces of Sharif Hussein in 1917, making the territory part of the Kingdom of Hejaz
Kingdom of Hejaz
The Kingdom of Hejaz was a state in the Hejaz region, ruled by the Hashemite family. The kingdom was annexed by Nejd and merged into the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz in the mid 1920s, which would eventually be known as Saudi Arabia in 1932.-Kings of Hejaz:...

, under the rule of Prince Faisal
Faisal I of Iraq
Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

. The capture of Aqaba helped open supply lines from Egypt up to Arab and British forces afield further north in Transjordan and Greater Palestine, and more importantly alleviated a threat of a Turkish offensive onto the strategically important Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

.

Aqaba was ceded to the British protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 of Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

 in 1925.

In 1965, King Hussein attempted to give Aqaba room to grow by trading land with Saudi Arabia. In return for 6,000 square kilometers of desertland in Jordan's interior, the Saudi
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

s traded 12 kilometers of prime coastline to the south of Aqaba. In addition to the extra land for expansion of the port, the swap also gave the country access to the magnificent Yamanieh coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

.

Aqaba was a major site for imports of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i goods in the 1980s until the Arab Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

.

In August 2000, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Law was passed by the Jordanian Parliament. The law established the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) as the statutory institution empowered with regulatory, administrative, fiscal and economic responsibilities within the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ).

Demographics


The city of Aqaba has one of the highest growth rates in Jordan, with only 44% of the buildings in the city being built before 1990. A special census for Aqaba city was carried by the Jordanian department of statistics in 2007, the total population of Aqaba by the census of 2007 was 98,400. The 2009 population estimate is 108,500. The results of the census compared to the national level are indicated as follows:
Demographic data of the city of Aqaba (2007) compared to Kingdom of Jordan nationwide
Aqaba City (2007) Jordan (2004 census)
1 Total population 98,400 5,350,000
2 Growth rate 4.3% 2.3%
3 Male to Female ratio 56.1 to 43.9 51.5 to 48.5
4 Ratio of Jordanians to Foreign Nationals 82.1 to 17.9 93 to 7
5 Number of households 18,425 946,000
6 Persons per houshold 4.9 5.3
7 Percent of population below 15 years of age 35.6% 37.3%
8 Percent of population over 65 years of age 1.7% 3.2%

Climate


Aqaba has a desert cimate with a warm winter and a hot dry summer.

Tourism




Aqaba is well known for its beach resorts and luxury hotels, which service those who come for diving, fun in the sand as well as watersports like windsurfing and Scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

. It also offers activities which take advantage of its desert location. Its many coffee shops offer mansaf
Mansaf
Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or groats. It is the national dish of Jordan.-Preparation:...

 and knafeh, and baqlawa desserts. Another very popular venue is the Turkish Bath (Hamam) built in 306AD, in which locals and visitors alike come to relax after a hot day. Aqaba and Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south Jordan at to the east of Aqaba. It is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated'. To reflect its proper Arabic...

 are the sites of the annual Jordan – Middle East Distant Heat Festival, an annual electronic dance festival. It takes place on 31 July and 1 August. DJs from Jordan, the Middle East and around the world participate in this unique dance festival. Some famous artists who participate in the festival are Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten
Ferry Corsten
Ferry Corsten, also known under the alias System F, is a Dutch producer of trance music, in addition to being a DJ and remixer. He also hosts his own weekly radio show, Corsten's Countdown. He routinely plays at events all over the world with crowds in excess of tens of thousands. In 2009 Ferry...

, Above & Beyond
Above & Beyond (band)
Above & Beyond are a British trance music group formed in 2000 and consists of the members Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Finnish Paavo Siljamäki. They have their own record label Anjunabeats, which releases trance and progressive music, and they also host their own weekly radio show Trance...

, and Josh Gabriel
Josh Gabriel
Josh Gabriel is an electronic dance music DJ and producer, formerly of Gabriel & Dresden with Dave Dresden.-Early Years :In 1988-89, a 20 year old exchange student from California Institute of the Arts, was living in The Hague in The Netherlands and studying at the Institute of Sonology...

.

In 2006, the Tourism Division of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) reported that the number of tourists visiting the Zone in 2006 rose to about 432,000, an increase of 5% over previous year. Approximately 65%, or 293,000 were Jordanians. Of foreign tourists, Europeans visited the Zone in the largest numbers, with about 98,000 visiting during
the year. The division has financed tourism advertising and media campaigns with the assistance of the European Union.

During national holidays, Jordanians from the north, particularly Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

 and Irbid
Irbid
Irbid , known in ancient times as Arabella or Arbela , is the capital and largest city of the Irbid Governorate. It also has the second largest metropolitan population in Jordan after Amman, with a population of around 660,000, and is located about 70 km north of Amman on the northern ridge of...

, flock to Aqaba's luxury resorts and sandy beaches. During these holiday weekends, hotel occupancy reaches 100%.

Aqaba has been chosen for the site of a new waterfront building project that would rebuild Aqaba with new man-made water structures, new high-rise residential and office buildings, and more tourist services to place Aqaba on the investment map and challenge other centers of waterfront development throughout the region.

The Distant Festival held at Aqaba on the last Thursday of July and the following day at Aqaba and Wadi Rum which features the world's most famous trance and electronica dancers.

Aqaba has been chosen as the Arab Tourism City of 2011.

Economy



Benefiting from its location and status as Jordan's special economic zone, Aqaba's economy is based on the tourism and port industry sectors. The economical growth in Aqaba is higher than the average economical growth in the country. Under the special economic zone status some investments and trades are exempted from taxation, as a result, new resorts, housing developments, and retail outlets are being constructed. New projects such as Tala Bay and Saraya al Aqaba are constructed aiming at providing high-end vacation and residential homes to locals and foreigners alike.

Over twenty billion dollars have been invested in Aqaba since 2001 when the Special Economic Zone was established.
Along with tourism projects, Aqaba has also attracted global logistic companies such as APM Terminals and Agility to invest in logistics, which boosted the city's status as a transport and logistics hub.


There are numerous hotels that reside in Aqaba but new hotels are also under construction.

Aqaba is the only seaport of Jordan so virtually all of Jordan's exports depart from here. Heavy machinery industry is also flourishing in the city with regional assembly plants being located in Aqaba such as the Land Rover Aqaba Assembly Plant
Land Rover Aqaba Assembly Plant
The Land Rover Aqaba Assembly Plant Co., Ltd. is a joint venture between the Land Rover brand, the Shahin Group and Ole Jordan. It was founded on the 18th February 2001 and is located in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone of Aqaba in Jordan. The location is strategically chosen because the work has...

.
By 2006 the ASEZ had attracted $8bn in committed investments, beating its $6bn target by 2020 by a third and more in less than a decade. The goal was adjusted to bring in another $12bn by 2020, but in 2009 alone, deals worth $14bn were inked. Some projects currently under construction are:
  • Saraya Aqaba
    Saraya Aqaba
    “Saraya Aqaba” is a Jordanian private shareholding company, whose founding shareholders include Saraya Jordan, Jordan’s Social Security Corporation, Aqaba Development Corporation, and Arab Bank plc. Saraya Aqaba will implement the USD 1 billion “Saraya Aqaba Project”, a premier tourism and leisure...

    , a $700 million resort with a man made lagoon, luxury hotels, villas, and townhouses that will be completed by 2010.
  • Ayla Oasis, a $1 billion resort around a man made lagoon with luxury hotels, villas, a 18-hole golf course. It also has an Arabian Venice theme with apartment buildings built along canals only accessible by walkway or boat. A water park is part of the project. This project will be completed by 2017.
  • Tala Bay, a $500 million resort with a manmade lagoon, luxury hotels such as the Hilton and villas. It is already completed. It also has a beach club that hosts the annual Distant Heat Festival, a rave held 1 August.
  • Marsa Zayed, a $10 billion marina community that is the largest real estate project in Jordan's history, which maximizes frontage on the Gulf of Aqaba to create a vibrant mixed-use community. Part of the Jordanian government's initiative to double its tourism economy by 2010, Marsa Zayed is designed to help fuel the country's growth by providing more than 300 yacht berths in a luxury marina, a cruise ship terminal and a mix of hotels, apartments, villas and townhouses for more than 50,000 people. This project will be completed by 2017.
  • The Red Sea Astratium, the world's only Star Trek themed park, worth $1.5 billion will be completed by 2014. The park will span 184 acre (74 ha) will include "technologically advanced attractions, five-star accommodation, captivating theatrical productions," and night-time spectacles. The project will include four hotels and provide 500 job opportunities in the coastal city.
  • Port relocation. Aqaba's current port will be relocated to the southernmost part of the province near the Saudi border. Its capacity will surpass that of the current port. The project costs $5 billion, and it will be completed by 2013.
  • Aqaba will be connected by the national rail system which will be completed by 2013. The rail project will connect Aqaba with all Jordan's main cities and economic centers and several countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria.
  • The Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) handled a record 587,530 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2008, an increase of 41.6% on the previous year. To accommodate the rise in trade on the back of the increasing popularity of container shipping and the stabilising political situation in Iraq, the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) has announced plans for a new port. The port relocation 20 km to the south will cost an estimated $600m and will improve infrastructure, while freeing up space for development in the city. Plans for upgrading the King Hussein International Airport (KHIA) and the development of a logistics centre will also help position Aqaba as a regional hub for trade and transport.

Transportation



By Land


The city is connected to the rest of Jordan by the Desert Highway
Highway 15 (Jordan)
Highway 15 in Jordan is also known as the Desert Highway runs in Jordan south to north. It starts in Aqaba going north east towards Ma'an, passing through the desert to the east of the major settlements in the southern region of Jordan. It then merges into the regional Highway 35 going to Amman....

 and the King's Highway
Highway 65 (Jordan)
Highway 65 in Jordan is also known as the King's Highway runs in Jordan south to north. It starts in Aqaba passing through Wadi Araba, and adjacent to the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley to the western suburbs of the city of Irbid in Jordan's northern tip. It is over 5,000 years old. This highway...

. Aqaba is connected to Eilat, Israel by the Wadi Araba crossing
Wadi Araba Crossing
The Wadi Araba Border Crossing is an international border crossing between Aqaba, Jordan and Eilat, Israel. Opened on August 8, 1994, it is currently one of three entry/exit points between the two countries that handles tourists....

 and to Haql
Haql
Haql is a town in the northwest of Saudi Arabia near the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, adjacent to Aqaba across the Jordanian border.From Haql, the coasts of Egypt, Israel and Jordan can be seen....

, Saudi Arabia by the Durra Border Crossing
Durra Border Crossing
Durra Border Crossing is a border crossing between Aqaba in Jordan and Haql in Saudi Arabia. On the Jordanian side, the border terminal is maintained by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority....

. There are many bus services between Aqaba and Amman and the other major cities in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. JETT and Trust International are the most common lines. These buses use the Desert Highway. Taxi services are also available between Aqaba and Eilat.

The Aqaba railway
Aqaba Railway Corporation
The Aqaba Railway Corporation is a railway operating in southern Jordan. The railway was formed in 1979 to transport phosphate to the port in Aqaba. It uses the tracks of the Hejaz Railway.-History:...

 system is only used for cargo transportation and no longer functions for travellers, with the exception of the route to Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south Jordan at to the east of Aqaba. It is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated'. To reflect its proper Arabic...

.

By Sea


The Arab Bridge Maritime
Arab Bridge Maritime
Arab Bridge Maritime Company was founded in november 1985, to connect commercial routes in Asia and Africa. The company was founded by the governments of Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan....

 company vessels connect Aqaba to the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian ports of Taba and Nuweiba
Nuweiba
Nuweiba is a coastal town in the eastern part of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Located on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, it sits at around . It is believed by many to be the site of the Exodus account of ancient Israelites crossing the Red Sea.-Geography:...

. More than one million passengers travelled between Aqaba and the ports of Nuweiba
Nuweiba
Nuweiba is a coastal town in the eastern part of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Located on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, it sits at around . It is believed by many to be the site of the Exodus account of ancient Israelites crossing the Red Sea.-Geography:...

 and Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

 by ferrys. An Abu Dhabi consortium of companies called 'Al Maabar' has won the bid to relocate and manage the Aqaba Port for 30 years and expand the existing ferry terminal which receives about 1.3 million passengers and thousands of trucks and cars coming from across the shore in Egypt.

By Air


King Hussein International Airport connects Aqaba to Amman, Sharm el-Sheikh, Dubai and Alexandria and several destinations in Europe. It is the headquarters of the Jordan Aviation Airlines
Jordan Aviation
Jordan Aviation is an airline based in Amman, Jordan. It operates scheduled and worldwide charter services flights, mainly to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. It also provides wet lease services to major airlines seeking additional capacity. Its main bases are Marka Airport, Amman and Aqaba...

.

Education


The universities and institutes in Aqaba are mostly scheduled to start their first academic semesters in the years 2011–2012:
  1. Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts
    Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts
    The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts is the first and only MFA program in Cinematic Arts for the Middle East and North Africa. It is based in Aqaba, Jordan. RSICA is a joint effort of Royal Film Commission of Jordan and the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts...

  2. University of Jordan at Aqaba (2009)
  3. Aqaba University of Technology (2011)
  4. American University of Aqaba (2009)
  5. British University of Aqaba (2009)
  6. Institute of Banking Studies: Aqaba Branch

Panoramic View



See also


  • International Arab Divers Village
  • Aqaba Flagpole
    Aqaba Flagpole
    The Aqaba Flagpole in Aqaba, Jordan is the second tallest free standing flagpole in the world at a height of high. It carries the flag of the Arab Revolt and can be seen from Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.-Technical data:Pole height: 130 meters...

  • Aqaba Archaeological Museum
    Aqaba Archaeological Museum
    Aqaba Archaeological Museum lies adjacent to the historic castle of Aqaba, in the city that holds the same name in Jordan. The museum houses artifacts from the 7th to the early 12th century AD...

  • King Hussein International Airport
  • Wadi Araba Crossing
    Wadi Araba Crossing
    The Wadi Araba Border Crossing is an international border crossing between Aqaba, Jordan and Eilat, Israel. Opened on August 8, 1994, it is currently one of three entry/exit points between the two countries that handles tourists....

  • ASEZA
  • Jordan Maritime Authority
    Jordan Maritime Authority
    The Jordan Maritime Authority is a government agency with the responsibility of governing the Red Sea and domestic ports, sea roads and shipping of Jordan. It was established in 2002 by Royal Decree and functions in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport. It is headquartered in Aqaba....

  • Arab Bridge Maritime
    Arab Bridge Maritime
    Arab Bridge Maritime Company was founded in november 1985, to connect commercial routes in Asia and Africa. The company was founded by the governments of Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan....

  • Disi Water Conveyance Project
    Disi Water Conveyance Project
    The Disi Water Conveyance Project is a water supply project currently under construction in Jordan. It is designed to pump million cubic meters of water per year from the Disi aquifer,which lies beneath the desert in southern Jordan and northwestern Saudi Arabia. The water would piped to the...


External links