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SHOPPING

One of Jordan’s main priorities is to ensure the local people benefit from the country’s burgeoning tourist industry. With this in mind, they are encouraged to produce ecologically-friendly traditional items that are attractive to visitors.

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These colourful Narghiles (water pipes) make a great souvenir to take back as gifts for friends. Be sure to remember to take some flavoured tobacco too.

As with all major tourist sites in Jordan, Aqaba not only offers a great selection of hand-crafted souvenirs, such as the traditional Bedouin jewellery, sand bottles, etc., but also excellent modern and traditional jewellery in gold and silver, at exceptionally good prices.

The Queen Noor Hussein Foundation, which supports local craftspeople, supplies several outlets in Aqaba with a stunning selection of handmade clothing, carpets, cushion covers, wall-hangings, pottery and glassware.

Aqaba also has many modern boutiques where you can find the very latest in imported jewellery, watches, clothing, accessories and leather goods. Stroll through Aqaba’s largest retail and entertainment complex, the Aqaba Gateway, or take advantage of Aqaba’s Free Zone and shop in style without having to pay any duties on the goods you purchase from certain shops.

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In Bedouin jewellery, silver beads are often combined with glass beads and semi-precious stones and are used as amulets: Blue glass from Syria is protection from the evil eye; green malekite from Aqaba or green agate is for good health; brown agate is to ward off bad spirits; and white agate ensures a husband’s enduring love.

An economic 'Free Zone' was established in Aqaba in August 2000. It covers one million square metres, although an additional 2.5 million sq. m. has been allocated for the purpose of establishing industrial projects. Goods traded in the Free Zone are exempt of duty. For more information please visit www.aqabazone.com