Here is a list of interesting Jordan Souvenirs. Once upon a time like all tourists, I used to buy the classic stuff from the destination – as a memento of the visit. Over a period of time, I have gone through phases of collecting mugs, bookmarks, masks and of course fridge magnets. These days I click pictures of souvenirs more than buying them. More often for the want of space back home and my limited ability to handle them as displays.
During my Jordan travel, souvenirs got my unusual share of attention. Hence this post to help you choose some Jordan Souvenirs when you travel to Jordan.
From the Wilderness of Bedouin Tents
Bedouins are nomadic tribals of Arab land, who travel with their camels and live in Red and Black tents made of camel or goat hair. In the tourist places like Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan, the areas that originally were inhabited by them, you can find their lovely tents at regular intervals. The tents have ample sitting space, a teakettle on fire and a small shop that sells souvenirs – Bedouin style. Contrary to popular belief, Bedouins are not poor, they are pretty well off – but that is a story for another post. Now what can you buy from these Bedouin tent shops
In any tribal community, jewelry is their trademark, something that I figured out during my visit to Bhagoria Haat of Bhil Tribals in central India. In Jordan too, I found them selling silver jewelry – that looks authentic and sometimes antique. I particularly liked the ones made with coins, reminded me of our very own Lambadis who also have coins hanging all over their dresses.
Kajal or Kohl
As you know nomadic tribes in deserts wear layers of clothes and the only visible part of their body is their eyes, making Kohl is the most important part of their make-up. You will see most Bedouin men and women wearing a strong line of Kohl around their eyes and yes, of course, you can buy their Kohl to take along.
Creams & Perfumes
If you are walking through places in the desert, this may be more of a need than a souvenir. These colorful small packages, of course, made in some factory somewhere reminded me of many old-time balms and Ittars that used to sell in India too.
Model of a Bedouin Tent
I did not really see this in any of the tents but saw it in almost every souvenir shop. A small 12 inches or so model showing the Bedouin tent – it may be a good collector’s item to pick.
The Bedouin women wear a long gown usually in black color with intricate embroidery on it in red. Both at Petra and Wadi Rum, we saw many women wearing these. These dresses can be found anywhere from Bedouin tents to high-end souvenir shops all across Jordan.
Straight from the Artisans, Jordan Souvenirs
We met quite a few artisans working on making souvenirs right in front of our eyes, adding a lot of authenticity and value to your picks.
Sand Art in a Bottle
This is the most popular Souvenir from Jordan. At every tourist place and in every market you can see artists filling up these small glass bottles with colorful sand to create a lovely scene and making it seem so effortless. Bright colorful bottles more often than not depicting the camels in the desert are too tempting to resist, especially when you see the artisan creating it right in front of your eyes. You can also buy key chains made out of small sand bottles.
The Mosaic artworks created by aesthetically arranging the small pieces of stones would be my biggest recommendation to pick from Jordan. Although you get these works everywhere, Madaba is the best place to pick it up for it has the oldest mosaic work on the floor of St George’s church. In the streets of Madaba, we could see small workshops engaged in making these Mosaic paintings. You can also get tabletops done in mosaic but not sure how easy it would be to carry them back home.
Ceramics can be found in all old civilizations and Jordan is sure one of them. Now most ceramics here reminded me of our very own Khurja, the art form is same and quality was comparable. Now, what is different here – is the motifs that you find on ceramics here. I picked up a ceramic plate with a tree of life painted on it. Because having worked on a public installation also called ‘tree of life’, I was keen to have another interpretation of the same. There are other historical and biblical themes that you can choose from.
I saw some lovely inlay work furniture both in souvenir shops as well as hotels. While the furniture may be difficult to carry, you can buy small boxes with inlay work.
Popular Jordan Souvenirs to Pick
Here are some popular Souvenir picks from Jordan.
The red and white or occasionally black and white scarf that you see ubiquitously on every head in the Arab world is a perfect souvenir to pick. It can be found anywhere, but learn from a local on how to tie it around your head. We got one as a gift from Jordan Tourism Board. Men got a rectangular one and women a triangular one with a floral motif on it.
Now, these are essential souvenirs for frequent travelers – easy to pick, economical and you know where to put them exactly back home. Camel and Petra Treasury are the common motifs here in standard materials of clay, metal, and plastic. Interesting pieces are Keffiyeh wearing Arabs as fridge magnets though I would be worried about them getting dirty soon enough and not knowing how to clean them.
This is my favorite souvenir to pick though I did not pick one in Jordan. Most Jordan bookmarks were gaudy, made of woven cloth and too loud for me to associate them with something that blends with black and white pages of my books.
Camels & Alladin Lamps
Two things that are so much associated with the desert are Camels and the stories of Arabian Nights. The stories of Genie that comes up when you rub these lamps and fulfills all your wishes had occupied many of our childhood dreams – making them a nostalgic souvenir to pick up.
Souvenirs from the Holy Land
Since Jordan is on a pilgrimage route, Holy water from river Jordan is a popular souvenir along with other holy products that I really did not understand much.
Dead Sea Products
This one is a top favorite with women travelers – the dead sea products like sea salts and mud packs.
Honestly, when I started writing or compiling this post, I had no idea the list of Jordan Souvenirs would be so long…
Recommend you to read following Tourist destinations of Jordan on my Travel Blog.