Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) – Eco-Torism

Eco-Tourism

   The Badia region contains many scenic, archaeological and ecological features that make it an attractive ecotourism site in Jordan. The BRDC is working to promote the Badia as an ecotourism attraction and to enhance the sustainable tourism infrastructure and services in the region.

Hamza Field Station:

   The BRDC assisted in turning the aging Hamza oil field camp into an eco-tourism and astronomy centre. The BRDC, the Jordan Astronomy Society (JAS) and the National Energy Research Centre (NERC) of the HCST have secured funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to maintain and manage Hamza Camp. Hamza is the best location in Jordan for astronomy, located on a flat empty area far from any city lights. Hamza Camp now is the only accommodation in the area for astronomy and it is operated with renewable energy. Most of the maintenance is being carried out by REC and BRDC personnel, the capacity will be more than 60 people.

Jawa

   Jawa is located in the northeast part of the Jordan Badia, 15 km to the North West of the Safawi, 1000 m above sea level. Jawa is an ominous and mysterious black city constructed by unknown people. It is one of the oldest cities in Jordan, predating Roman constructions. The settlement in the area went through the Mesolithic period (10,000 BC), and the Middle Bronze age (4,000 BC). The city used to be an urban settlement of considerable complexity, and an area of 22 acres. It consisted of a fortification, a town plan and a sophisticated water system.

Castle Burqu

   Castle Burqu is located at the edge of the Harra basalt ranges by Wadi Miqat, the major water source. The Qasr used to be an area of 30 by 30-square meters, and consisted of a central courtyard with ranges of rooms along the northeast and southeast sides. It had a central towered structure of four stories (12m height), surrounding rooms, and a northwest enclosure gateway. The tower masonry is different from the rest of the structure suggesting different periods of occupation. The tower consists of three rectangular rooms of similar shape at the ground level and two rooms at the upper two levels with an area of about 11 by 8 meters. The entrance to the tower was a defensive one, window-like, narrow and low, located at its west side. The tower was built to secure water supply. A dam, constructed by the Romans, abuts the structure. This dam is still operative and reserves water the entire year. The structure went through the Roman (defensive) and the Byzantine (monastic) periods, 3rd and 4th century, up to the Umayyad period (pleasure) in the 7th century.

Castle Aseikhim

   Castle Aseikhim is located on a volcanic hill capped with lava 70m above the surrounding lava fields in the northeast of the Jordan Badia, 15 km northeast of Azraq. To the south it overlooks a wadi of the same name. The Castle covered an area of 23.5 by 23.5 square meters. It consisted of a courtyard structure of one story with ten surrounding rooms on all four sides of a courtyard, and a south-side gate that gave access to the central courtyard. The Castle was built of basalt, with a wall thickness of one meter that consisted of double well-cut blocks of basalt and a rubble core. The rooms had internal arches to support the basalt slabs. The structure went through the Nabateans (1st Century AD), the early and late Roman and late Byzantine periods up to the 7th Century. This evidence was supported by surveying the datable pottery shreds that were found at the dumpsite on the south side of the hill.

   The BRDC is continuing to develop its sustainable tourism strategy in the Badia in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and the Jordan Tourism Board, in addition to conducting archaeological surveys and research with Jordanian universities.

This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC).

See on-line at: http://www.badia.gov.jo/ecotourism.html

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