The glut of ruins and remnants strewn across the land cement Jordan’s center-stage role in history’s major acts. For history buffs this land is a goldmine while for pilgrims it is the holy land, where you can journey in the footsteps of prophets. The culture of contemporary Jordan, though, is just as fascinating as its archaeological remains. Whether you’re sharing sage tea with a Bedouin host in Wadi Rum or watching a shepherd herd goats over the Jordan Valley’s rolling hills, traditional culture is proudly maintained and very much a part of modern Jordanian life.

The Jerash Festival is Jordan’s big annual arts event, bringing a packed program of theater, music, and dance to both Jerash and Amman during July and August. Both Muslim and Christian holidays are celebrated in Jordan. For Orthodox Christians, Easter is the most important religious date while for Muslims the holy month of Ramadan (when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset) is the major annual festival. Traveling during Ramadan doesn’t throw up major problems, though visitors should refrain from smoking, eating, and drinking in public during the day, and be aware that some restaurants close during daylight hours while some tourist sites keep shorter hours.