U.S. Ambassador Visits Petra, Observes Preservation Projects First Hand

Ambassador Wells met with H.E. Mohammad Al-Nawafleh, the Chief Commissioner of Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority (PDTRA), H.E. Mamdouh Al-Fakir, Governor of Petra District, H.E. Emad Hijazeen, PDTRA Deputy Commissioner, and commissioners of the local authority to discuss mutual cooperation and current and future plans for the site and region.  The Ambassador also met with and was accompanied by HRH Princess Dana Firas, vice-president of Petra National Trust (PNT) to observe the preservation work managed by PDTRA, PNT and American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) with support from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grants. During the visit, the Ambassador visited the newly-opened Petra Visitors’ Center and toured Siq al-Mudlim, the Wadi Jarra Nabataean flash flood protection system and the Temple of the Winged Lions.  The Temple of the Winged Lions, the largest restoration project, is supported through a $600,000 AFCP grant.

Ambassador Wells observed: “We invest in these projects because we recognize that sites like this represent the common heritage of all mankind. But these grants are more than an investment in preserving Jordan’s past. They’re an investment in securing Jordan’s future as well.”

The Ambassador also explored the unique rock paintings in Beidha (Little Petra), where she had an opportunity to meet local residents and learn about their community education activities and local heritage.  In addition to restoration projects, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided PDTRA technical assistance, assisted in the design of the Visitors’ Center, provided signage and site mapping of the park, supported environmental impact assessments, and supported local handicraft producers, along with the creation of the Petra Park Ranger force.

Since 2001, AFCP has supported over 800 projects for more than USD 46 million to preserve cultural heritage in more than 120 countries.  In Jordan, the U.S. government has supported twelve AFCP grants totaling close to USD 1.4 million since 2001.