Read TE Lawrence’s classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom, in which he describes the Arab Revolt of 1919 and is at his most inspired when describing the desert scenery of Wadi Rum.
Annie Caulfield’s Kingdom of the Film Stars: Journey into Jordan is an entertaining, personal account of the author’s relationship with a Bedouin man in Jordan.
Jordan is a popular location for filming, with Fair Game, The Hurt Locker and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen all having been shot there in recent years, as well as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and of course Lawrence of Arabia.
The traditional music of Jordan has a long history. Rural zajal songs, with improvised poetry played with a Mijwiz, Tablah, Arghul, Oud, rabab and reed pipe ensemble accompanying is popular. Recently Jordan has seen the rise of several prominent DJs and popstars.
Take a ‘Petra Kitchen’ cooking lesson at the Movenpick and learn to make delicious lentil soup which is popular allover the Middle East. If you’re passing throguh Amman, be sure to try the local Baklava.
A large number of dishes are shared with other Arabic and Mediterranean culinary culture, such as hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, falafel and kebabs. Yet Jordan has its own delicacies and national favourites.
The premier national dish is mansaf and its preparation is taken very seriously. Lamb, often seasoned with herbs and spices, is cooked with onion in yoghurt and served on heaps of rice with a bed of Bedouin bread.
Coffee is more than merely a drink in Jordan, it is an important symbol of hospitality and trust and the ritual of making and drinking it is treated with reverence. Offering a cup of coffee to someone and having it accepted it shows mutual goodwill. Even if you aren't a coffee fan, try to accept at least one cup if you are offered it.
Jordan also has one of the oldest wine making histories in the world; there are several references to Holy Land wine in the Bible. The climate and soils are well suited to quality grape production, yet until recently there were no vineyards of international repute.
The emergence of Omar Zumot's St George label has changed this and brought Jordan to the attention of wine experts.
The Jerash Festival was founded in 1981 and held annually from July to August in the ancient Roman city of Jerash. It’s a three week long summer program of dance, music, and theatrical performances, and is frequently attended by members of the Jordanian Royal Family.
The Jordan International Rally in May is one of the highest profile extravaganzas the within the Arab world and includes amazing stages in and around the Jordan Valley and within the Rumman forests, providing challenging routes both above and below sea level.
You can venture into the desert landscape by camel, jeep or simply by foot at Wadi Rum, canyon through the magnificent Wadi Ghwayr, or mountain bike past ancient ruins and descend into 4,000 year old copper mines in the Dana Biosphere Reserve.