Phase I (April 1-Nov.30, 2012)
Phase I was a temporary 1.5km interpretive trail through the core of the old downtown area known as Souq al-Bedou, or Souq al-Qadim. The trail connected the remains of the Hijaziyya walled gardens on Wadi Ma’an with the 16th century Ottoman fort, a modest Muslim shrine (maqaam), the souq itself, and a street of relatively well-preserved mud buildings from the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, including the Ottoman baladiyya building (town hall).
Phase I was funded with JD 40,000 from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The goals of Phase I were to implement a light restoration of the Ottoman baladiyya, two adjacent buildings (a house and a shop) and the shrine site, clean up the area and to mount a temporary exhibition treating the role of the first municipality in Jordan in the early national period.
The aim of Phase I was twofold: to raise awareness of Ma’an’s cultural history and draw visitors into the old town and Souq al-Bedou. At the same time the installation afforded an opportunity to assess the condition of the structures, the potential for community involvement and tourist interest. The temporary exhibition will yield materials for a catalogue and fundraising presentation.
Phase II (2013-14)
Building on Phase I, the focus area for Phase II is approximately 8ha., including the Ottoman Baladiyya, bus station, Souq al-Bedou, the Ottoman Fortress, adjacent park and .6ha of garden plots. The first goal is to build on interpretive trail and displays from Phase I and II, to enhance and sustain them. This requires installing permanent signposting and interpretive material, as well as creating a model for maintenance. For Phase II al-Hima has hired a full team of local maintenance staff and a local project manager. We have developed a business plan and partnerships with Nadi Ma'an “Nadi Maan Al Thaqafi Al Riyadi” and the Ministry of Tourism. A business plan has been developed, and a permanent interpretive trail is being established.
Waste management will integrate OMRP efforts: al-Hima proposes to make the bus station area a model for the rest of Ma'an. Municipality support and recycling and community awareness-raising by “al-Janoub Association for society and environment reservation” in an effort to present a model for the Municipality to follow elsewhere.
Phase III (2014-2015)
Phase III focuses on the restoration of the Ottoman baladiyya, and documentation of the historic built environment in the project area. Students from architecture and engineering departments from “Al-Hussain bin Talal University” will be trained to inventory and document the remaining mudbrick buildings in an effort to build a database to serve as the foundation for an historic preservation code, and to prepare a budget and plan for conservation.
The development plan to revive business in the area is to transform the bus station, a gathering point for students traveling to Al-Hussain bin Talal University. A plan for revitalizing the area with food outlets and services geared toward the tourist site and the student users of the bus station has been developed by al-Hima as a basis for Phase III. The area will be landscaped and enhanced with adequate shade structures and charging stations for computers and cell phones.