Time your trip to Jordan right and you could bear witness to motor rallies and marathons, film festivals and shooting stars, and join in with celebrations whose origins date back thousands of years. Jordan’s calendar is brimming with events that mix the best of the past with the emerging talent of the future.
DEAD SEA MARATHON, APRIL
If you’re an avid marathon junkie, then it doesn’t get much more spectacular than the Dead Sea Ultra Marathon. Held annually in April, the hard-core participants start in Amman before winding their way down to the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth. Participants can expect amazing views as you descend to the low-altitude aquatic divide where there’s about 5 percent more oxygen to breathe. The finale is the Dead Sea itself where you can rejuvenate weary limbs in its waters.
JORDAN MOTOR RALLY, MAY
Petrol heads will likely already have heard of this extreme racing rally. The cream of the region’s top drivers turn out in force to delight and astound spectators as they navigate some of the world’s most challenging rally routes across Jordan’s desert plains. Running over three days, the rally opens with a ceremonial event allowing fans to spy the cars close-up before motorists spend the next two days battling to the Dead Sea with spectators lining the route.
CITADEL NIGHTS, 3RD NIGHT OF RAMADAN
Amman’s Citadel is a myriad of fascinating historical buildings influenced by different cultures throughout the centuries. During Ramadan, it welcomes visitors from all over the world in a festival to taste traditional Arab dishes, wander around authentic souks and listen to classical Arab music. But the piece de resistance is the setting – its hilltop locations means enchanting views out over Amman.
DISTANT HEAT, JULY
Party until dawn in a UNESCO Protected desert at this annual dance music festival. Distant Heat sees young Arabs and adventurous travelers let loose, getting back to nature and clubbing amidst the out-of-this-world desert backdrop, Wadi Rum. The all-night party, featuring top international and local electronic-dance music artists, is held at the end of July each year and often continues with beach and pool parties in nearby Aqaba.
PERSEIDS METEOR SHOWER, AUGUST
Budding astronomers can’t miss the annual Perseid meteor shower in Jordan’s desert. Observed for the last 2,000 years and traditionally known as the “tears of St Lawrence” since it usually shows up around the saint’s feast day, this mesmerising natural event lights up the night sky with tens of meteors per hour. Hire a guide to take you into the depths of the desert before spending hours gazing up at the clear night sky and marvelling at these celestial wonders.
EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL, SEPTEMBER
Jordan can count a number of Oscar-winning film appearances under its belt and the modern film industry is blooming, so it makes sense that it plays host to a number of film festivals. The European event in September is its biggest calendar highlight where visiting cinephiles can catch new releases from across Europe in screenings held throughout the country.