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Irbid Governorate
Type of Location
About Location

Irbid 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 the Gilead, equidistant from Pella, Beit Ras (Capitolias), and Umm Qais.The city of Irbid is the third largest city in Jordan by population (after Amman and Zarqa).Metropolitan Irbid is the second largest.The province of Irbid Governorate has the second largest population, and the highest population density in the kingdom.

The city is a major ground transportation hub between Amman, Syria to the north, and Mafraq to the east.The Irbid region is also home to several colleges and universities, the two most prominent being Jordan University of Science and Technology and Yarmouk University.Irbid today combines the bustle of a provincial Middle Eastern town and the youthful nightlife of a typical college town.University Street, which defines the western border of the Yarmouk University campus, is popular with locals as well as with the occasional foreign visitors who stop to relax in any of its numerous restaurants and cafes.

Though not usually a major tourist destination itself, Irbid is home to two notable museums: the Museum of Jordanian Heritage and the Jordan Natural History Museum, both on the campus of Yarmouk University. Furthermore, Irbid's strategic location in northern Jordan makes it a convenient starting point for tourists interested in seeing the northern Jordan Valley; visiting Umm Qais, Beit Ras (Capitolias), Pella, Ajloun, Umm el-Jimal, and other historical sites; or traveling on to Syria.

Artifacts and graves in the area show that Irbid has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Pieces of pottery and wall stones found at Tell Irbid were estimated to be made in the year 3200 B.C.In the Hellenistic period, Irbid, then known as Arabella was a major trade center and the birthplace of Nittai of Arbela.Before the advent of Islam, the city was known as Arabella and was famous for producing some of the best wines in the ancient world.The area in the region had extremely fertile soil and moderate climate, allowing the growing of high quality grapes.

After the Muslim conquests, it came under the rule of the Muslim Empire, the city became known as Irbid, and shifted from wine to olive oil production.Wheat was also an important product in the area.Irbid is notable for being close to the site of the decisive Battle of Yarmouk, fought along the banks of the Yarmouk River roughly 30 kilometres north of the city.The battle was waged between the Islamic Caliphate led by Umar and the Byzantine Empire.It set the stage for the departure of Byzantine armies from Greater Syria and the beginning of the expansion of the Islamic Caliphate.

How to Reach

By Air

The nearest major airport to Irbid, Jordan is Amman Civil Airport (ADJ / OJAM).This airport is in Amman, Jordan and is about 66 km from the center of Irbid, Jordan.If you're looking for international flights to ADJ, check the airlines that fly to ADJ.

By Bus

For buses from Irbid to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, the office of Trust International Transport is near Al-Hasan Sports City.Trust also has three direct services a day to Aqaba (JD8, five hours).Irbid is 85km north of Amman and easy to reach from just about anywhere in Jordan.There are three main minibus/taxi stations in town, a long way apart from each other.From the North bus station, there are minibuses to Umm Qais (250 fils, 45 minutes), Mukheiba (for Al-Himma; 350 fils, one hour) and Quwayliba (for the ruins of Abila; 170 fils, 25 minutes).

Key places to visit
Jordan Natural History Museum, Alia Supermarket, Beit Arar


Places to Visit

Jordan Natural History Museum

Is one of two museums in the grounds of the vast Yamouk University.Both domestic and foreign visitors are welcome.The museum contains a range of stuffed animals, birds and insects, as well as rocks from the region, but very little is explained in English.It’s good for birders, with some beautiful bee-eaters and rollers on display.The museum is in the huge green hangar No 23.

Alia Supermarket

Self-caterers and would-be picnickers should head to the Alia Supermarket near the Omayed Hotel, which has a good selection of local produce, including the region’s justifiably famous olives.

Beit Arar

Was set up to host cultural events and is located in a superb old Damascene-style house.The rooms are set around a courtyard paved with volcanic black stones and there are manuscripts and photo displays of Arar, one of Jordan’s finest poets.

Right Time to Visit

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