My friend and I in front of the King Abdullah Mosque in Amman (one of the only mosques
open to tourists).
Despite stereotypes of traditional lifestyles in the Middle East, Amman has a growing street culture. Pictured are second-hand stereos in Swaifieh Village.
A record of “Habibi Funk” (a jazz-influenced style of Middle Eastern music popular in the
1960s-80s). The record was being played in a street-style thrift and pop-up shop named
“Zawyeh Space”, a shop full of street-inspired clothing and ambiance of music.
History books organized in the heart of Amman’s bustling and focused academic scene in
Jabal Amman (Abdul Hamid Shoman Library).
CET students finding their way to class in the first week, and sometimes running into some street cats.
Amman’s famous rainbow street had to make a feature. It is exciting to see Arabic and
English signs side by side as I sound out the letters and names of streets.
My friend and I holding fruit on our CET scavenger hunt for useful Arabic words during the
The view of the King Abdullah Mosque and the Alfarir Church side by side from the Jordan
National Gallery. In the background modern skyscrapers are visible showing the old and new of Amman.
A couple of rings purchased in Swaifieh, a neighborhood in Amman. One ring encapsulates the evil eye, a Greek and Middle Eastern symbol of protection from any glance of evil.
Red doors entering the Umayyad Palace, located on the Citadel Hill. The palace was built
during the Umayyad Period, in the first half of the eighth century.
Sculptures of hands creating continuous symbols of freedom in the quiet third floor gallery of the Jordan National Gallery. The Gallery features artists from all over the Middle East and North Africa.
Traditional Turkish coffee purchased in the heart of Swaifieh. Turkish coffee is served
strong, dark, and hot, even in the hottest days of summer in Amman.
Painted flower pots hung on an exterior wall of Jodi Cafe in Jabal Amman. Everywhere you go there is something new to look at, especially different colors.
A rare spot of greenery and shade on the Citadel Hill. A cool break from the intensity of the eastern sun.
Middle Eastern food from the CET welcoming dinner, in celebration of signing our Arabic
language pledges. We thought the appetizers were the full course, and then came the
The view of our busy street from our apartment at dusk. The sky gives a sense of peace
between assertive honks from taxi drivers.
A neon sign hung in an all-pink café named Catalina Café in Swaifieh. The inspiration of
feeling young and free in Amman was too good to pass up.
Feature Photo Caption:
I have a passion for taking a million pictures of one cityscape. Not once have a
captured this amount of depth and movement in one shot. I didn’t even have to try and take a dozen at every angle of Citadel Hill in Amman. It was as if the sun and the lens were working as one, just like the city, in the most vibrant way possible.
More From the Author:
For my first blog, I took the effort to focus on capturing just Amman: objects and buildings that showed the root of Middle Eastern and Jordanian culture. I chose to avoid picking out familiar faces as well as images with the best poses and most perfect facial expressions.
Focusing on mostly buildings and objects traditional to Amman showed me the deep rooted beauty of collectivism in Eastern culture. The warm colors that filled the walls in cafes brought people to sit together and talk for hours. The Turkish coffee sparked conversation with the shop owner, despite him immediately recognizing that we were foreigners. The overbearing red doors of the Umayyad Palace portrayed history of people of royalty gathering inside. The “Habibi Funk” records present in thrift stores bringing people of diverse backgrounds together because of a shared interest in jazz.
The importance of others over oneself is apparent in all forms of architecture and art in Jordan. The picture of our fruit plate even shows that (Picture 7). Our expressions are full of contentment after receiving a plate-full of fruit for free as a gesture of welcome (“ahlan wa sahlan”) from a local shop owner. He handed us the plate, and with a big smile and said, “welcome to Jordan.”
I have wanted to study abroad in the middle east for four years now, and it is finally happening after a lot of waiting and hard work. Being out of the country, I thought I would want to buy everything and take it home with me. Yet, material things is not something that’s important to me here. What is important are the experiences, learning, and appreciation for culture that I can capture through a simple lens, which can be documented and shared to others for their own learning experience about the world abroad.