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Amman, A Past Feeding Into the Future.

As Amman’s history dates back to 4000-3000 BC33, the city is home to numerous ancient artifacts, archeological sites and biblical structures. Throughout history multiple dynasties and empires called Amman home, thus forming a diverse city. The city’s distinct cultural landscape has had a positive impact on the economy, as tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in Jordan, accounting for about 14 percent of the country’s total GDP34. Till this day, Amman has a strong relationship with its past as many of the archeological sites have been preserved and stand as a testament of the impact that cultural heritage has on a city’s cultural vibrancy. In the past decade, Amman’s residents’ sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the past has increased. This in turn, as Rami Farouk Daher argues, has incentivized the government, as well as private individuals, to invest in the cultural scene.

In total, Amman has 120 cultural infrastructure points. The city has 15 “sites and landmarks”,

many of which were built during the Middle Bronze Age around 1650 BC36. While most of the “sites and landmarks” are solely archeological sites, the Roman Theatre is utilized as a multipurpose structure that celebrates Amman’s rich history while also serving as a venue for cultural activities like music concerts and theatrical productions. Although “sites and landmarks” are scattered around Amman’s urban landscape, many of the archeological artifacts are housed in the Jordan Archeological Museum, illustrating the city’s commitment to preserving and celebrating its ample history. Today, 60 percent of Amman’s “museums” celebrate Jordan’s diverse history that hosted many ancient civilizations37, such as the Roman, Ottoman, and Assyrian Empires; as well as being home to many major Biblical and Quranic events.

Whilst the archeological sites and historical landmarks serve as a testimony that the city has a strong relationship with the past, many of Amman’s “culture and art centers” and “galleries” also have a deep connection with history. There are 26 “galleries” in Amman, many of which are located in restored archeological sites and historic buildings. Out of the 20 “culture and art centers” in Amman, three have been established by private foundations and five by the government. Darat Al Funun, a private foundation, “brought together the old and new, past and present, tradition and modernity. Darat al Funun today is a living place celebrating the arts at the heart of our culture”38. The role of the Jordanian government is presented in Article 4 of the Culture Act, stating that “the Ministry of Culture is responsible for drawing up the cultural policies and directing their implementation in the various cultural fields, in line with the policy of the Kingdom and the national interest.”

In terms of innovation clusters, Amman has 13 in total. Amman has four “digital platforms” all of which promote and share culture, art and literature. The focus on digital presence reaffirms Amman’s commitment to spreading its culture and heritage. Although there is a strong effort to celebrate the past, as of today, Amman does not have any “awards” that honor creativity, culture and art. Amman’s relationship with its past has had a significant impact on its cultural vibrancy as the urban landscape is bolstering with archeological sites, while more modern institutions serve as a reminder of the city’s rich history.

The research was concluded in December 2019


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