- by Haneen Nofal
in Latest News
JERASH — Italian Ambassador to Jordan Fabio Cassese on Sunday visited Jerash to check on the construction of a new training centre for the restoration and maintenance of antiquities.
The centre, funded through a grant from Italy worth 2 million euros, will be used as a national training institute for Jordanian and foreign students in restoring artefacts, acting director of the General Department of Antiquities (DoA) Yazeed Elayan, recently told the press.
The centre will help preserve heritage in Jordan and be an important addition to the Kingdom’s efforts in improving the tourism and archaeological sectors, which contain around 100,000 sites.
Jerash Mayor Ali Quqazeh said the centre was a joint project of the Greater Jerash Municipality, the DoA and the Tourism Ministry to sustain heritage and help “place Jerash on the map of world heritage sites”.
The municipality has provided a 1950s-era building, which had been used as a police station in the past, to host the centre said the mayor.
Ziyad Ghunaimat, head of the Jerash Department of Antiquities, said that the building was suitable for the centre as it was located next to a section of the ancient city’s walls and the Byzantine Church of St Procopius.
Following a visit to the centre, Cassese stopped by the ancient section of Jerash, where he was briefed on the Italian archaeological mission at the Temple of Artemis.
In an interview with The Jordan Times, Cassese said “it is emotional to be in Jerash, as it is well-preserved and similar to many sites in Italy”.
“It is also interesting that this site resembles Jordan nowadays, in terms tolerance and the coexistance of several cultures,” Cassese, added.
He also highlighted the variety of ancient houses of worship in the city, including the Graeco-Roman temples, churches and mosques.
Jerash, the second-largest archaeological site in the Kingdom, received over 50,000 more visitors this year than last year, according to DoA figures sent to The Jordan Times.