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Downtown Amman 1949 with the ArabBank building
 
 

By: Ammar Khammash Artist and architect who restored the three houses of Darat al Funun

Location of The Darat Al Funun


The main house of Darat al Funun occupies a strategic location at the Eastern tip of what is now called Jabal Weibdeh. Fragments of Roman pottery and architecture, the remains of the Byzantine church with caves and cisterns, and other vestiges of different Islamic periods tell us that this very location was chosen by many in the past as a desirable site for building.

Just 60 meters above the two dry valleys that slope towards the East, one leading to Wadi Saqra and the other to Abdali, and commanding their meeting point below, the site of Darat al Funun displays some geomorphological qualities similar to those of the Amman Citadel. Both sites are attached to bigger hills to the West, surrounded by valleys in other directions. The main difference between the site of the Citadel and Jabal Weibdeh, besides the latter being higher and larger, is the smaller connection of the citadel site to Jabal al Hussein. This neck, being less than 50 meters wide, made the site almost fully detached, and thus easier to protect by complementing natural defenses with a fortification wall a solution that Ammonites of the 7th century BC as well as the Philadelphians put to use.

As both the Citadel site and that of the Darat al Funun overlook the valley below, the site of the Darat al Funun has a commanding view of a segment of the tributary valley that meets the main valley of Amman, through which a small creek used to pass. At the T-junction still stands the Nymphaeum. In Roman times, a colonnaded street was built, passing in front of the theatre. A barrel vault, allowing the creek to pass below, might have supported parts of the street and created a flatter site for the Roman downtown area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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