The Best Places to Buy Souvenirs in Amman
Souvenir shopping in Amman | © Daniel Abdullah / Shutterstock
Located along the Middle Eastern travel trade routes, Jordan has long been a hub for trade in the region. This history is reflected in the large variety of crafts and wares unique to the country, bought and sold in the various souks and markets. Taking home a souvenir from your travels to Jordan can be a wonderful memento of the unique experiences from your visit. Here is a rundown of some of the best places to buy souvenirs in Amman.
As part of the socioeconomic development program for communities in the area, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan hosts various workshops, which take place in and around different nature reserves in the country, benefitting the rural areas. The people working in these reserves and helping with the workshops create unique products by hand, which they then sell in various nature shops, including the Wild Jordan Center. Many of these high-quality products make excellent souvenirs and gifts.
Located just off Rainbow Street, the Jordan River Foundation Showroom is effectively a beautiful display area for the works of the non-profit organisation The Jordan River Foundation, which aims to empower women in rural locales and promote local arts in Jordan by supporting the sales of arts and crafts.
As you enter the complex, the courtyard, where you can take a seat and relax, is brimming with trees and blossoming flowers. The handicraft market sits in the main building where various products are on display. The showroom itself is very aesthetically pleasing, and the products, which range from home goods, such as candles and pillows, to stuffed toys and jewellery, are all handmade and of the highest quality.
The Jordan River Foundation Showroom in Jabal Amman | © Ldud / WikiCommons
Located along Rainbow Street are several souvenir shops selling everything from magnets and key chains to more authentic products such as ceramic and pottery. Prices vary, and if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for gifts for all of your family and friends, then this is your best bet.
Rainbow St., Amman, Jordan
Shop for ceramic in Jabal Amman | © VLADJ55 / Shutterstock
Known as Amman’s oldest and most famous souvenir business, Al Afghani Bazar for Oriental Gifts actually got its start in the Hejaz in 1862 and Palestine in 1870.
Still operating as a family business, there is a selection of stores dotted around Amman, including in Jabal L’weibdeh and Downtown opposite the King Husseini Mosque. Although the larger store in Jabal L’weibdeh is easier to navigate, the Downtown Al Afghani is a real cave of wonders, crammed to the ceiling with ornate lamps and one-of-a-kind ornaments that look as though they belong in a museum.
If you’re looking for a traditional and authentic shopping experience, then meandering through Downtown Amman’s markets and alleys is an excellent option. You’ll find a large selection of souvenir shops here, many located along Hashemi Street near the Roman Theatre. Don’t be afraid to haggle and take a look around the different stores until you find exactly what you want.
Hashemi Street, Amman, Jordan
Downtown Amman houses all your gift-buying needs | © Maen Zayyad / Shutterstock
Also located Downtown are several spice and herb shops. Presuming that one of the highlights of your Jordan visit was the incredible food, cooking spices and herbs will make a wonderful souvenir. Not only do they smell amazing, but you can also get your hands on some spices that are very difficult (if not impossible) to find outside of the Eastern world. Try sumac, a dark red spice used generously in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in salads in the Levant.
If you’re looking for something a little different to remember Jordan by, then why not opt for a witty, pop art-style T-shirt from pioneering outlets Mlabbas and Jobedu?
Their designs feature a smart, funny take on aspects of Jordanian popular culture without stepping over the line or being overly political or crude. As well as T-shirts, both Jobedu and Mlabbas also sell a selection of coasters, mugs and stickers.
If you didn’t find what you were looking for in Amman, then check out the souvenir tents located in tourist sites such as Petra and Wadi Rum. They often have handmade goods such as rugs and ceramics for lower prices than you’ll find in some places in the city. They’re also a great place to stop for shelter from the sun whilst you are exploring the hot desert.
Sand-filled bottles are a wonderful memoir from your stay in Jordan. (shutterstock)