Dana Village slated to become heritage hub by year end

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

AMMAN — Seventy per cent of restoration work to turn Dana into Jordan's first heritage village by the end of the year has been completed.

Reconstruction work on the village began in 2011 as part of a $2 million USAID-funded project, which is being implemented by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). 

“A total of 57 properties are being restored as part of the project. Ten properties have already been handed over to their owners, while 20 properties are almost ready, with 90 per cent of the renovation work completed,” 
USAID Construction Manager Osama Hassan told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Once completed, Dana Village will have 107 hotel rooms and a range of tourist facilities, including souvenir shops, studio apartments, laundromats, Internet cafés and barbershops. All of these facilities are designed to offer tourists a glimpse of Jordanian heritage and culture, according to RSCN.

The project was scheduled for completion during the first quarter of this year, Hassan said, explaining that sewage connections and environmental impact assessments have delayed the deadline until the end of this year.

 Built on the ruins of a Byzantine castle, Dana Village is situated on a cliff that overlooks the mountains and valleys of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. 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 RSCN officials.

Located in Tafileh Governorate, 180km southwest of the capital, Dana is Jordan’s largest and most diverse nature reserve with 833 types of vegetation constituting 50 per cent of the total flora in the country.

It houses a range of tourist facilities, including the Rummanah campsite, a guesthouse and an eco-lodge.

Established in 1989, the nature reserve is environmentally important as it is the southernmost remaining forest community of pencil pine. The reserve also contains three rare plants that exist only in Dana and are named after it: Silene danansis, Micromeria danaensis and Rubia danaeansis.

In addition, Dana is a key bird-watching site as it is home to 216 different species of birds, many of which are globally threatened, and 38 mammals, which include the Nubian ibex, Eurasian lynx, hyenas and Blanford’s fox.