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In the heart of the south of Jordan’s rose red desert, lies the City of Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. A unique landscape described to be half as old as time, weathered by the forces of nature for millennia and by the tools of successive civilisations for centuries. The city still stands since its earliest known occupiers, the Nabateans, began carving an empire of homes, palaces, places of worship, tombs, art and an elaborate network of water channels within the red fortress of an enclosed sandstone fortress.
Currently the City of Petra is a major tourism attraction in the region, it is a major contributor to the national income of Jordan, and a crucial player in the daily lives of the locals of the area. The Bedouins of Wadi Musa, currently heavily rely on employment in the tourism industry, creating high pressure on the archeological site. Furthermore, with tourist numbers declining and the visiting time shortening, a major intervention was needed to revitalise the region.
I was very fortunate to be a part of an inspiring project with Maisam Architects and Engineers which involved a firm collaboration with the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority PDTRA, to develop the Beidha region of Petra, which falls between Little Petra and the Petra ‘siq,’ both sites being a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The intervention by Maisam Architects and Engineers influences change way beyond the physical building scale. Their proposal for an Eco-Village aims to provide jobs for the local community, whether in construction of the eco friendly rammed earth structures, running the hospitality services the resort will provide, crafting and fabrication of all furniture and products involved, cooking every day meals for visitors and providing platforms for arts and performances. Furthermore, the project aims to encourage tourism as well as extend tourist stay. For more information please go to project page.