'Restoration work on Dana village to be completed by September'

17-06-2013 03:25 PM

Ammon News - by Hana Namrouqa/ Jordan Times

Reconstruction aims to transform site into Jordan’s first heritage village

AMMAN – Restoration work on Dana village to turn the abandoned site into a tourist attraction is progressing well and will end in September this year, Mahmoud Bdour, the project's director, said on Sunday.

Reconstruction work on the village, which sits on a cliff overlooking the Dana Biosphere Reserve, began in 2011 as part of a USAID-funded $2-million project that aims to transform the site into Jordan’s first heritage village. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is implementing the project.

“Restoration of properties and houses in Dana village is ongoing and 60-65 per cent of the project has been completed,” Bdour told The Jordan Times.

Under the project, the village's infrastructure is being revamped and the houses will be turned into small hotels, souvenir shops, studio apartments, laundromats, Internet cafés and barber shops among other facilities, to offer tourists a taste of Jordan's heritage and culture, according to Bdour.

The three-year project was implemented in several phases to preserve the heritage value of over 300 old houses, he noted, adding that designs of a new sewage network have been completed.

Built on the ruins of a Byzantine castle, the village used to be a bustling community of over 300 families, but its inhabitants left in pursuit of better health, education and employment opportunities, according to the RSCN officials.

The RSCN is also implementing the project to encourage the former inhabitants to return to the village, which is a gateway to the Dana reserve.

Established in 1989, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is internationally known for its biological diversity, and is home to some 98 archaeological sites.

It is the only reserve in Jordan that includes the four different bio-geographical zones of the country: Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo Arabian and Sudanian penetration, according to the RSCN website.

More than 800 plant species can be found within the reserve, three of which have only ever been recorded in Dana and nowhere else in the world. Their Latin names include the word “Dana” in them.

The reserve also supports a wide variety of wildlife, including many rare species of animals and is home to several globally threatened species of birds and mammals, such as Syrian Serin, Lesser kestrel, Blanford's fox and Nubian ibex, according to the RSCN.

The largest breeding colony in the world for Syrian Serin is located in Dana, while the Lesser kestrel is also found to breed in the area.

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