Revitalization of Old Ma'an

  • location

    Ma'an

  • share

    1

  • volunteers

    16

About Project

The mission of the Old Ma'an Revitalization Project (OMRP) is to restore the historic built environment of old Ma’an, Jordan, creating a welcoming and humane urban center around the bus station and souq al-bedou, and reviving the community gardens of the historic hajj oasis.

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    Ma'an, Souq al-Qadim, ca. 1959
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    view north over Ma'an, 1960's
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    same view north over Ma'an, 2012
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    old house in Hijazi area
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    Roof of old house in Hijazi area - local pine and railway track
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    carpetmakers in Souq-al-Qadim
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    Destruction of old town, 1980's
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    Souq al-bedou, Ma'an 2012
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    Souq al-bedou, Ma'an 2012
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    Souq al-bedou, Ma'an 2012
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    al-Hima supports production of mudbrick for building restoration
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    Old limekiln, Wadi Shamiyya
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    historic house of al-Rawadh family, Hijazi area
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    Shop in Souq al-bedou, 2012
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    View of house in Hijazi area from sayl Ma'an
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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.

Download project presentation

project updates

2014-05-22

Yasmine Katkhouda donated to Old Ma'an JD 1,000 earned from the sale of greeting cards which she herself designed. The donation was used to build a kiln and begin the development of sustainably produced lime plasters (sheed), integral to the conservation of traditional mudbrick buildings. Yasmine's lovely cards -- designs from floor tiles of classic buildings in Amman, Ramallah and Beirut -- can be purchased at the American Center of Oriental Research, al-Hima offices or from Yasmine herself.