Thursday, 2 December 2010

Bottles of sand

These bottles full of sand are popular souvenirs in Jordan. You can get them at all the tourist sites and a lot of ordinary shops, but the cheapest place I know of is the souvenir market at the ancient Roman city of Jerash, where the tall round ones are only a dinar (about $1.50) and the larger flat ones are a few dinars.

Coloured sand is very carefully poured through a long, thin funnel into layers of little mounds into the bottle, which form the shapes of camels and mountains when you look at it from the outside of the bottle. They are sealed with a layer of sand mixed with some sort of glue; once the glue dries they won't spill. It is a very interesting process to watch, and incredibly fast.

The Turkish girls often buy a few dozen each to take back to their families. More than one group of Turkish students has loaded up at souvenirs at the market, taken photos of each other outside the main gates of Jerash, and then decided they'd had enough and wanted to go to a mall. I was very disappointed the first time, because I have no interest in malls (which the students spend a lot of time in), but would very much like to walk around some Roman ruins.

Here's Hadrian's Gate at the entrance to the ruins, one of the spots everyone has their picture taken in front of. In Roman times only emperors could enter through it; the picture really doesn't give a good idea of just how large it is.


  1. mushallah, about the roman ruins, inshallah you will get a chance to go see more soon.