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Project makes 450 Islamic Heritage Sites in Jordan accessible on internet

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photos: Shutterstock)
The launch of the revised electronic edition of the “Islamic Heritage Sites in Jordan” project, published by German Professor Thomas Weber-Karyotakis and Jordanian architect Ammar Khammash on an electronic platform as open content for all researchers, follows the effort to digitize all of the architectural, historical, and geographical information about more than 450 Jordanian heritage sites.اضافة اعلان

The project was funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung Foundation and prepared by MA students enrolled in the Architectural Conservation program at the German-Jordanian University. All of the students involved in the project studied at the university’s School for Architecture and Built Environment in the academic years 2017-2020. Helping to edit the updated version were Hussein Al-Azaat, Nader Atiyeh, and Nedhal Jarrar.

Weber-Karyotakis told Jordan News that the main purpose of the project is to raise awareness about Jordan’s rich cultural heritage. “Most of these monuments have been reported by travelers in the 19th and 20th century, but many have been left unstudied,” he said, adding that many of these Islamic heritage monuments have even been destroyed over time. Several of them are still threatened by destruction due to ignorance of their historical and religious value.

“As a historian, I feel indebted to all of them, explore all of them with equal respect, care and attention, and strive to create awareness about their value in their societies,” Weber-Karyotakis said, adding that he has been a “long-term guest in several Islamic countries” during his active professional life.

That makes it only “logical that I personally feel a special relation with the Islamic past and cultural heritage of these countries”, the professor said.

“There are many places of historical commemoration and the tombs of the Prophet’s companions east of the river Jordan. This is why Jordan has a high rank in Islamic history,” Weber-Karyotakis said.

The importance of having this project in Jordan is that it helps to develop religious tourism, he added.

It also “helps reinforce local Islamic traditions and narratives, which are endangered”, he further said.

According to Weber-Karyotakis, documentation is a key factor in cultural heritage conservation.

“Knowledge and awareness are the most important factors for the maintenance of a site or a monument,” he believes.

“In my lectures, I frequently say: You can conserve only what you know and what you are aware of,” he added.

Conservation architect and digital content creator for the project Nedhal Jarrar was responsible for transferring the entire project’s geographical lexicon to the internet and making the content available to all researchers.

He told Jordan News that the project, “in its second improved and expanded electronic version”, includes more than 450 Islamic sites dating back from the time of the Rashidun Caliphs to the end of the Ottoman Empire, early 7th century to early 20th century AD.

“It is estimated that this number constitutes only 30 to 40 percent of the total stock of monuments of this category preserved in Jordan, which we seek to cover completely in the future,” Jarrar said.

The project sheds light on only a small part of the country’s rich Islamic cultural heritage, he said, adding that it contains, in alphabetical order, sites of mosques, tombs of the Prophet’s companions, and other memorials of Jordan’s rich Islamic history.

“It can be considered one of the most important projects that recorded the Islamic heritage of this region of the world over the course of 13 centuries,” he said.

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