King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah visited, on Tuesday, Jabal Al-Qal'aa (the Citadel) in Amman, where they reviewed the area's rehabilitation and development project which was conducted by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) as part of its plans to revive the City Centre.
Chief of the Royal Court, Mr. Nasser Al-Lawzi and the King's Advisor, Ayman Safadi, also took part in the visit.
King Abdullah stressed the importance to preserve Amman's history, and issued directives to provide Jabal Al-Qal'aa with the infrastructure services necessary for the developmental project to enhance its role as a tourist destination for foreign visitors, and enrich the domestic tourism in particular.
His Majesty also directed the concerned parties to implement projects that safeguard historical and archaeological sites, in a manner that preserves the City's heritage and keeps pace with its modernity.
Both King Abdullah and Queen Rania were briefed by Mayor of Amman, Omar Maani, on components of Jabal Al-Qal'aa project and its stages of implementation. They also saw a model of an urban agricultural project to establish roof gardens in the City Center.
The project to renovate and overhaul Jabal Al-Qal'aa is part of a master plan seeking to develop the downtown Amman, and revive it by transforming it into a tourist attraction and boosting commercial activity by creating new business opportunities.
Maani said that the completion of Jabal Al-Qal'aa project will enhance the area's historic place and role, making it an important destination for tourists who wish to have integrated services, and a vital outlet for Amman citizens, linking the ancient history with the modern one.
The project is part a comprehensive plant implemented by GAM to develop and rehabilitate the City Center, in consistency with the ancient history of Amman, its beauty, and the development of its residents.
The Mayor said it has had a positive impact on the Jabal Al-Qal'aa neighborhoods, and stressed that GAM has met the residents’ needs and upgraded various services, including the rehabilitation of Jabal Al-Qal'aa Sports Club and the constant communication with the residents in the area by holding a number of interactive meetings to update them about the project.
As of the urban agricultural project, Maani said GAM is implementing the project in cooperation with the World Bank and residents in the area, and aims at cultivating roofs of the residential buildings in a manner that reflects beauty of the place, and increases the green areas.
The agricultural project was commenced by targeting the houses surrounding Jabal Al-Qal'aa, and extended lately to include all neighborhoods, by building small gardens on 10,000 roofs in the City Center.
It is worth noting that GAM has accomplished all parts of Jabal Al-Qal'aa project, including the gateway, visitor's services center, corridors, crosswalks, panoramic plaza, as well as renovating garden of the Jordan Archaeological Museum, and building a bus terminal to serve tourists visiting the area.
The project will also include some additional works, such as a water network, and an arena for cultural and artistic activities.
Commenting on the project, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Ms. Maha Al-Khatib said it was prepared jointly between GAM and the ministry, and it is designed to develop the Citadel which enjoys a unique landscape over Amman, not forgetting its social and historic value to the residents.
She said that several designs were outlined to develop the area efficiently, and providing visitors with services, including instructive signs, and sunshades.
Al-Khatib noted that such touristic projects in Amman would help in extending the stay of foreign tourists in the Capital, and encouraging them to visit other archaeological and touristic places in the Kingdom.
Jabal Al-Qal'aa (the Citadel) is one of Amman's oldest hills, which hosted several civilizations over the past since the Stone Age. The Jordanian Archaeological Museum was built in the area back in 1951 to narrate the Kingdom's ancient heritage, and Amman's in particular.