Ten Souvenirs that will Complete your Trip to the Arab World
By Katie Teague/Arab America Contributing Writer
Traveling provides us with experiences and memories that last a lifetime. Why not remember them better by taking home a few souvenirs? In the Arab world, traditional souvenirs are abundant, and most will fit perfectly in your suitcases. Check out the most popular items travelers will bring home from their adventures in the Middle East:
1. Jordanian Sand Bottle
When out and about in the streets of Jordan, you are sure to see hundreds of these iconic souvenirs. The glass bottles are painted on the inside by an artist, who then fills it to the top with different colored sand. This souvenir is available in a variety of sizes with endless designs.
2. Hamsa/Naked Eye
This symbol is a well-known good luck charm throughout the Arab world. Also called the hand of fatima, the hamsa serves as protection from the evil eye, or the bad luck cased by jealousy. Should you want to purchase jewelry from Middle East, consider a necklace with a pendant of the hamsa or naked eye.
Bring the magic of Aladdin to your home with a traditional Middle Eastern lamp. You’ll find this treasure at just about every souvenir store you walk past; so make sure to stop by and pick one up. Lamps come in a variety of colors and sizes.
What better way to remember your trip to the desert than with a decorative camel. Like the other souvenirs on this list, camels come in all kinds of materials (mostly wood, brass, and fabric), styles, and sizes. Place your camel on a bookshelf to add life to your personal library.
5. Prayer/Worry Beads
When out and about during your travels, you will see a number of Arab men carrying a string of beads in their hands. These are prayer beads or masbaha/subhah in Arabic, and they are used to recite important prayers. An article on Britannica explains that “because prayer may also be recited in the secret of one’s heart, a person can multiply his praises of God by merely moving the beads through his fingers while engaged in conversation.”.
6. Dates, Olive Oil, and Honey
What’s great about these foods is that you can bring them back home with you in your suitcase. Depending on where you visit in the Middle East, these savory goods will be better. However, regardless of where you are, you will be able to find delicious dates, honey, and olive oil to take as gifts or to have for yourself later on.
This dagger comes from Oman, but most Arab countries sell variations of the knife in souvenir shops. Typically, a khanjar is stored in an individual’s waist belt, so feel free to purchase one for a more authentic and complete souvenir.
During your travels, you will no doubt stop by at least one shisha bar to socialize and kick-back. Why not take home your own personal hookah along with the memories of your trip? These souvenirs are available in full sizes with multiple hoses or tiny, decorative sizes for your shelves at home.
9. Tea Set
If there is one thing you will learn on your trip to the Arab world, it is the importance of tea in everyday life. Tea sets are sold everywhere, ranging from simple to eccentric in design. Wow your guests the next time they come over by serving tea in this vibrant souvenir.
Another common choice of souvenir is pottery, especially since its both cheap and stunning to look at. Should you find yourself in Morocco, be sure to stop by the pottery markets to stock up on dishes for the kitchen.