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Jordanian Museum of Popular Traditions 360° virtual tour
Jordanian Museum of Popular Traditions - established inside the restored Roman Theatre - collects Jordanian and Palestinian folk heritage from all over Jordan since 1971. Its aim is to protect and conserve this heritage and to present it for future generations.
1. What to see
A collection of traditional costumes of the East Bank are on display in the first hall that serves as an entrance of the museum. The second hall contains traditional jewellery and cosmetic items from both the East and West Banks. The third hall is dedicated to Palestinian costumes and heard-dresses. In the fourth hall there is a collection of silver jewellery and bridal dresses from the West Bank. Pottery and various food preparation vessels are also exhibited here.
1.1. Bedouin jewellery
All of the silver jewellery displayed in this museum was fashionable among Bedouin women of the Palestine and Jordanian area during the first half of the 20th century and earlier. The Bedouin woman normally acquires her first jewellery collection at marriage. Her jewellery is part of the bride-price paid by the groom to her father and is entirely her property.
“Kirdan” is the name of Bedouin metal necklaces, compiled with hundreds of beads and ornaments, with exceptionally high quality and fine workmanship. They are adorned with filigree amulet pendants and silver Turkish coins. Kirdans exhibited in this museum originate from Syria, Jordan and Palestine but generally such necklaces were widespread in other Middle-East countries like Egypt or Yemen.
The coral used in Bedouin jewellery is most likely that found in the Red Sea where the gathering of coral was a thriving maritime industry. Coral has been used or centuries as amulets, talismans and for ornamental purposes. Items exhibited here include Bedouin necklaces of coral with various kind of beads.
1.2. Mosaic collection
The fifth hall of the Jordanian Museum of Popular Traditions - located in a vault of the Roman Theatre - houses a collection of mosaics from Byzantine churches in Jerash and Madaba. Most of the mosaics are either from the late 6th century church of Elias, Mary and Soreg in Jerash, or from the church of Virgin Mary in Madaba. Probably the most interesting one depitcs a partridge (caged bird) that gets visited by another one. In Byzantine sources, the caged bird is the symbol of the soul imprisoned in the human body.
1.3. The Folklore Museum
Guidebooks mention another museum, the Folklore Museum with traditional Beduin tents, weapons and archive photos of the city located just right from the entrance of the theatre, exactly opposite the Museum of Popular Traditions. During our visit in August 2011, it seemed to be completely closed.
2. When to see
During the high season between April and September, it is open each day between 8:30am and 7pm. From October to March, it is only open 8am-4pm every day except Fridays when it opens only at 10am. Ramadan means shorter opening hours of sites in Jordan and the theater is no exception as well: expect something between 9am and 3 or 4pm.
Note that the entrance ticket of the theatre is also valid for the Odeon and the this museum.