The culture of Jordan is based on Arabic and Islamic elements with significant Western influence. Jordan stands at the intersection of the three continents of the ancient world, lending it geographic and population diversity. Notable aspects of the culture include traditional music and clothing of Jordan, and interest in sports. These include football and basketball as well as other imported sports, mainly from western Europe and the United States
Jordanian pop culture is heavily influenced by the West. European and American music, movies, fashion and other forms of entertainment are popular among Jordan's people. Amman is consistently declared one of the most westernised and modern cities in the region. Malls, Western-brand stores, and hotels are important elements in Jordan life, and English is widely understood.
One of the most popular traditional dances in Jordan is dabke. This may be performed as gender-segregated or co-ed groups. The dancers line up shoulder-to-shoulder, holding hands or placing arms over the neighboring two dancers’ shoulders, then move as a group in a circle using steps that are punctuated by kicks and stomps. The accompanying music includes a flute called a ney, a drum called a tabl, and a reed instrument called a mizmar. This group dance is popular among Bedouins and non-Bedouins alike, and is often performed at weddings.
Jordan has also been effected by an influx of Western dance styles within the Western cultural impact of the last century. These include several ballroom and ballet dance studios in Amman, as well as a regionally recognized and royally supported contemporary dance troup.
Archaeological study of Jordan began in the 19th century with the discovery of Petra by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Most archaeological attention in the 19th century, however, was focused on Palestine, since foreign archaeologists tended to be preoccupied with the proliferation of Biblical sites located there. The Department of Antiquities in Amman was established in 1923, and since then, there have been excavations in Amman, Pella, Gadara in Um Qais, Petra, Jerash, Kerak, and Aljun. Neolithic statuettes were found in 1983 at the site of prehistoric village Ain Ghazal. Fourth century mosaics have been found in the church at the Monument of Moses at Mt. Nebo, and Byzantine mosaics at various churches in Nebo and Madaba. Other mosaics are found throughout the Jordanian desert at various castles dating back to the Umayyad dynasty. Such castles include Qasr al-Hallabat, Hmmam al-Sarakh, Qusayr ‘amra, Qasr Kharana, Mshatta, and Qasr al-Tuba.
The Jordan Archaeological Museum was founded in 1951 in Amman, and archeological museums at Petra, jerash, Madaba, and Kerak have also come into existence.Archeological discoveries in Jordan have also been supported since 1970 by the American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR). ACOR hosts visiting archeologists and anthropologists, funds ongoing discovery initiatives and offers fellowships for students in the region.
The Jordanian cuisine is a traditional style of food preparation originating from Jordan that has developed from centuries of social and political change with roots starts with the evidence of human activity in Jordan in the Paleolithic period (c. 90,000 BC).
There is a wide variety in the Jordanian style of cooking. The authentic Jordanian cuisine can range from baking, sautéing and grilling to stuffing of vegetables (grape leaves, eggplants, etc.), meat, and poultry. Also common in the Jordanian style of cooking is roasting, and/or preparing foods with special sauces.
As one of the largest producers of olives in the world, olive oil is the main cooking oil in Jordan. Herbs, garlic, spices, onion, tomato sauce and lemon are typical flavours found in Jordanian food. The recipes to the meals of the cuisines of Jordan can vary from extremely spicy to mild.
The most common and popular of the appetizers is hummus, which is a puree of chick peas blended with tahini, lemon, and garlic. Ful Medames is another well-known appetizer. A worker's meal, today it has made its way to the tables of the upper class. A successful mezze must of course have koubba maqliya, labaneh, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, olives and pickles.
The national dish in Jordan is mansaf, a dish that is associated with Bedouin traditions. Despite these rural roots, it is shared by Jordanians of many diverse backgrounds.