07 September, 2011

Sights from Souk JARA, Amman

Without visiting Jabal Amman, you have not visited this very scenic and pleasant of cities: Amman. In Jabal Amman, it is not only the First Circle and Rainbow Street or the many variety of shops that are the main attractions; there is, also, Souq JARA (سوق جارا). It is an outdoor, open market that offers a variety of items for sale. Though not large, it is one of the most pleasant places to shop in, in the city. And with some of the most welcoming, most pleasant and most charming of vendors you would meet in Amman.

Map from: From The Earth
Souq JARA, established in 2005, is located in Jabal Amman, First Circle, JARA Street (Fawzi Malouf Street). From the Fist Circle, through Rainbow Street, you turn left to reach the market.  JARA stands for Jabal Amman Residents Association, which runs the market. The association was founded in 2004.
In this historic, very old neighborhood of the city, vendors sell a wide variety of items: handicrafts, souvenirs, old items, antiques, paintings etc.. On the sides of the souk, are some of the grandest and oldest buildings in Amman.
Not only Jordanians from all parts of the country sell things here, but many from other Arab countries have stalls here too. Not far from the souk are excellent restaurants, cafes, bookshops, boutiques and art galleries. And theaters; a short distance away, there is the Ghrayeb garden where you can watch live concerts and performances.
In summer, each Friday, the market opens between 10.00am to 10.00pm. The best time to visit, is in the afternoons or evenings. Each year, the souk evolves and more is added to it. This year the souk opened in May and will close in October; it now has a stage for 'story-tellers'.
 The market is an excellent place to find and buy gifts; like these attractive wooden handicrafts, above. When here last time, we bought some souvenirs from booths allocated free of charge, by the JARA association, for persons with disabilities and underprivileged families.
Any thing goes here. Above: a very old typewriter, a sewing machine, a clock etc. are all for sale. Some of the vendors here are very young; and some very old. They don't mind at all being photographed - but, first ask before taking photos. Due to privacy, I have avoided displaying any of the vendors photos here.
It is very long since I saw such an old player like the one above. Reminds me of music 'Albums'. As prices for the items are not displayed, it is not a bad idea to bargain.
How about these colorful jars and bottles above. Even if you are not here to buy any thing, it's pleasant and refreshing just walking around.
Jars, cups, plates, bowls, above. The handicrafts on sale are all very colorful. Some items are very cheap; and some very expensive. You will find some thing you can afford.
Colorful, and of a variety. Above: whoever made these chairs, by hands, must have taken a lot of care and very long.
Some, are useful and some can be used just for decoration. Beads, socks and a variety of other smaller items are on sale. Most of which are hand-made.
Above: Aladdin comes to mind. These too, were carefully and intricately made by hands. Jordanians are renowned for their excellent coffee. In many shops around Amman, you will be easily invited to have a cup.
Above: the very latest next to the very old. I don't know who would buy the old phone handsets. There are many such, old unexpected items on sale in the souk.
Above: these are wonderful - traditional mats. Below: bread making accessories, utensils and more mats. These mats, and the carpets on sale here - all are beautifully and finely hand-made. They are some of the most expensive items on sale in the market.

Souk JARA is not only good for shopping for gifts and souvenirs; it is a good place too, for meeting people. The atmosphere here, is free and exciting. You get to see another side of Amman. Do not forget, that - not far from the souq, are some of the city's, 20th Century, oldest and most renowned buildings, which includes: Jordan River Foundation House, Al-Bilbeisi Houses, Habboo and Akrawi House, Al-Mufti House, Jardaneh House and Mango House. And the many, narrow old streets. As the narrow streets are most of the time jammed with traffic - it is advisable, that once you reach Rainbow Street, it is best to walk. And it is more refreshing and pleasant too.

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+ Wonderful Places to visit in the Kingdom of Jordan:
The River Jordan
The Dead Sea
The Citadel
The Roman Theater
* Jerash
Petra
Kahaf Ahl Kahf