3 archaeological sites in Mafraq undergo rehabilitation, maintenance

Umm Al-Surab
Umm Al-Surab. (Photo: Twitter)
AMMAN — In a joint effort between UNESCO, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the EU, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Department of Antiquities in Amman, rehabilitation and maintenance work have been completed on three archaeological sites in the Mafraq Governorate. اضافة اعلان

The sites include Umm Al-Surab, Al-Fudain, and Al-Rehab. The restoration project aimed to improve the touristic experience and facilitate access to various parts of these historically significant locations, according to Al-Mamlaka TV.

Enhancing visitor experience
The project focused on various aspects of rehabilitation and maintenance, including site cleaning, preservation of architectural elements, structural stabilization, mosaic conservation, and basic upkeep of fences, pathways, and shelters.

By cleaning up debris and turf, maintaining existing shelters and fences, installing new visitor paths, stabilizing architectural structures, and restoring mosaics and stucco decorations, the project aimed to enhance the overall visitor experience and create additional access routes to different sections of the sites.

Community impact
UNESCO emphasized that the project's primary objective was to raise awareness about the importance of preserving cultural heritage and the positive impact it has on local communities and Syrian refugees.

The participation of Jordanians and Syrian refugees in the restoration work further enhanced public understanding and involvement in safeguarding the common cultural heritage.

Al-Fudayn: A historical gem in Mafraq
Among the sites that underwent restoration, Al-Fudayn stands out as an important archaeological location in Mafraq.

Built by the Greeks, it played a significant role in both the Byzantine and Islamic eras. It served as a crucial city on the Hajj route and was strategically located near the Hijaz railway during the Ottoman era.

Al-Fudayn boasts several remarkable structures, including an Umayyad mosque known for its artistic and distinctive architectural features.

The site contains antiquities dating back to the Iron, Byzantine, Umayyad, and Ottoman periods, including remnants of a second Iron Age castle, a grand Umayyad palace, and a notable Ottoman castle that secured transport routes and the Shami pilgrimage trail.

Over a period of three and a half months, 121 workers participated in the restoration works at Al-Fudayn.

The operations included cleaning, basic maintenance, and more extensive interventions. These interventions ranged from structural fixes, stucco merging, and mosaic preservation to the thorough cleaning and rearrangement of the hypocaust chamber in the Umayyad Bath.

At the mosque, conservation efforts focused on removing surface deposits, reinstalling walls, and reinforcing decorative plaster. Similar restoration efforts were carried out in the Byzantine Church and the Ottoman Citadel.

Restoring history of Rehab
Rehab, located 12km from the city of Mafraq, holds a significant archaeological history that spans from the Stone Age to the Byzantine and Islamic periods.

The area is known for its abundance of churches, cemeteries, ponds, water collection wells, a mosque, towers, residential houses, and caves.

The presence of more than 20 churches indicates that Rehab was an essential urban center in late antiquity. The restoration project in Rehab involved 195 workers over four and a half months, focusing on cleaning, basic maintenance, structural stabilization, and mosaic preservation.

Various restoration efforts were carried out at Rehab's prominent sites.

At the cathedral, stonework was cleaned and rearranged, walls underwent thorough cleaning and stabilization, and a new walkway was installed. St. Mina's site received cleaning, stone fragment collection, wall reinstallation, fencing installation, and path improvement.

St. Stephen's site saw wall re-fixing, plaster cleaning and cementing, new fencing, and enhanced accessibility through a walkway. The project also included a comprehensive examination of the mosaics.

At the Fethiye site, stone blocks were cleaned, walls were reinstalled, and maintenance of existing fences and installation of a new path took place. Preservation of the mosaics was also a key focus.

Umm Al-Surab: A testimony of Roman and Byzantine eras
Situated in an area characterized by basalt stones, Umm Al-Surab served as a crucial stop on the road from Bosra to Jerash in ancient times. The site features churches and arches dating back to the Roman and Byzantine eras.

Specific restoration works were conducted on these architectural elements to preserve their historical significance.

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