Best books to read when you are planning to travel to Petra, Jordan

Books, no better way to prepare your visit to Petra and Jordan than by reading the below ones. About the mind-blowing sites you’re going to visit. The mesmerising birds, animals and plants you can see at these sites. The ancient way of living of the different people who lived in this area and the art they made. And finally a love story!

But even if it will take a while before you are traveling, vacation foreplay can also give you great joy! Above all,  the second best thing of traveling is the anticipation!

To lend you a helping hand, I’ve had a look at my book shelve. And I picked five books. All from a different point of view, to share with you. 

Petra by Jane Taylor

This book was the first book I bought after I visited Petra for the first time. It starts with a description of the first inhabitants, million years ago Early Palaeolithic, in the area that is now called Jordan. Other nomadic groups followed and around 7000 a group settled in the Beidha area and started farming. (You can visit this settlement when you visit Little Petra).  A few hundred years BC, the Nabataeans wandered into this area to trade and mingle with the Edomites. Jane Taylor describes the history of the Nabataeans in detail and also many of the famous sites in Petra.  Furthermore it’s illustrated with many pictures.

I would say a great book to prepare for a visit to Petra. 

Book cover Petra by Jane Taylor

The Art of Jordan

This book is published in 1991 when the exhibition Jordan: Treasures from an Ancient Land was held at Liverpool Museum.

It gives a mesmerizing overview of  the ‘various art forms throughout Jordan’s history’. First of all Zeina and Uriah. Two statues made of plaster from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic c. 7500-5500 BC. Nowadays you can find these delicat sculptures in the Jordan Museum in Amman. For sure worth a visit!

Next to sculptures you can read about the history of pottery-making, art and technology, mosaics, traditional costumes and jewellery. And for the linguistics there is a chapter about Writing in Jordan: From Cuneiform to Arabic.

A book to thumb through on a Sunday afternoon with a pot of tea close by. Enjoy the beautiful pieces of art, read a little bit and get ignited by the creativity througout the ages.

The art of Jordan Treasures from an ancient land

Field guide to Jordan

As you can see on the picture, my field guide is used a lot! I take it with me on hikes in spring to identify the flowers. Furthermore I use it to identify the wild plants in the garden. And guests go through it to find that one special bird that they saw in Dana. 

The book starts with the geological history of Jordan. It describes how the the Tethys Sea, between Laurasia and Gondwana, more then 200 million years ago, flooded parts of what now is Jordan. As a result you can find many fossils and concretions during one of your hikes. Other chapters are about Archaeology, Environment, Flora and Fauna.

A must for Nature lovers! And the good news is, the field guide is available online! 

Book Field Guide to Jordan

Jordan, past & present

This book is special! I found it secondhand online and it was even better than I expected. It has overlays that reveal the past. 

As many of the buildings, theaters and facades are affected by time, it’s not always easy to imagine what it looked like in the old times.

This book helps your imagination and shows the whole, ancient picture. Have a look at the picture of the columns. As a result of the layover, you get a good impression of the Nymphaeum, the public fountain, in Jerash.

Next to the pictures with the overlays, it’s also a good read!

Recommended!

Book Jordan Past and Present

The love story of Queen Noor; Memoires of an unexpected life

A nice read again! It’s the love story of Arab-American Lisa Halaby and the late King Hoessein. (The father of the current King Abdullah II.)

She fell in love with him (and the Jordanian people) after she met him at the opening of the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman in 1977. After a year of courtship, they got married.  In the book you can read how she combined her family life, they had four children, with the busy job of her husband the king and all the good humanitarian work she did. Next to that you learn a lot about the Jordanian culture.

Maybe you noticed that we know her as Queen Noor. Well, before she got married she has been given a new name, Noor Al-Hussein, Light of Hussein. 

Book Queen Noor Leap of Faith Memoirs of an unexpected life