Invest in Jordan? Why not!

I have to be honest, now I can not invest but I truly recommend Jordan as a country to set up your new business. It is a state of possibilities with liberal economy, stability, security and human capital. Great place as a getaway for your investments in the region.

“For foreign companies that enter emerging markets, there are valuable connections to: in-country markets and regional trade networks; to a competitive workforce; to important knowledge about regional cultures and customers. Such businesses find significant trade and investment opportunities – especially in economies like Jordan’s, which are a path of modernization and growth… and which are regional gateways… in our case, to the 350 milion people of the Arab World”.

His Majesty King Abdullah II

Facts about sectors you can invest in

Energy: Jordan is emerging as an ideal location for investment in renewable energy and clean technology. Jordan’s value proposition for potential investors is profound and includes a number of strategic and practical reasons to start investments in the RE sector. 300-320 days of full sunshine. Wind speeds reach an average 7 meters/sec. One of the highest engineers per capita ratios in the world. 99% of Jordan’s population with access to the grid.

Tourism: Tourism is a fast growing industry in “Switzerland of the Middle East”. It contributed around 14% of the GDP in 2012. Land of famous world attractions like Petra – one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Red Sea, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum.

ICT: Jordan has developed one of the leading information and communications technology sectors in the region, with more than 400 active companies. Jordan offers all the essential elements needed for a global firm to establish a regional center for IT operations. Jordan’s strength lies in its human capital being one of the most highly qualified and competitive workforce in the region.

Agriculture: Numerous crop opportunities are available during the off-season in Europe. Jordan’s unique and favorable climate sets it apart from the rest of the Middle East region. The Jordan Valley, which is several degrees warmer than the rest of the region, has rich and fertile soil that is relativity untapped, long sunshine hours and high temperatures that are best exploited by producing high quality cash crops for the off-season. In addition to these natural advantages, the Jordan Government has made commitments to support the agriculture industry.

Jordan has a lot to offer. The only thing that you can stop you to succeed in Jordanian market is your imagination. Even if the beginning will be difficult you can always find a native partner who will help you. So what time is it? Time to invest in Jordan.

By Radek

Based on: Mazen Kawar “Investment Opportunities in Jordan”, in “Poland – Visegrad Group – Jordan”, edited by Krzysztof Bojko and Khaled Shogran, Amman 2014.

Eid in Aqaba and Wadi Rum

EVS is not only about working but also discovering culture of country in a free time. That is why we decided to visit Red Sea and Wadi Rum desert during Eid-al-Adha holidays. Moreover, we could get to know each other better and recharge the batteries for next months.

Day 1st

We had to wake up early in the morning to catch a bus to Aqaba. After 5 hours of driving through wilderness and stopping by the police for seven times, we finally reached the gates of the city. The temperature was much higher than in Amman so we enjoyed a time on a beach till the sunset. Long hours of conversation and walk along the Red Sea cost. It is amazing that from this place is possible to see four countries – Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

Day 2nd

Lazy morning in the rays of the sun and active afternoon spent on snorkeling. We did not expect that it is possible to see so many colorful creatures just few meters from the cost. Next time we will swim to a deeper water. We went to the city to discover something more of this port town. Exploration of the marina, the fort and public beach. After a long walk some of us had got an appetite for fish. Prices for a sea food were extremely high that is why they went to a market and bought fresh fish. There was only one problem – who will prepare it? Fortunately we met friendly people who did it for a small fee. A dish was apparently delicious.

Day 3rd

Tour on a desert. It was unforgettable experience full of surprising and magnificent landscapes – sand dunes, rock bridges and mountains. Tired of the sun we came to the Bedouin’s camp where we had traditional dinner and a place to sleep. A night was to beautiful to stay in our tents, that is why we decided to take our mattresses outside and to sleep under open sky full of stars. It was cold but remarkable.

Day 4th

All of us admitted that it would be a great idea to stay on the desert one more night, however we had to come back to our responsibilities. Last shopping, lunch and shisha in Aqaba. Tired but pleased, we came back to Amman in the evening.

If you are planning to go to the south of Jordan we can truly recommend you a trip there. Below you can find some useful tips and addresses:

  • Accommodation in Aqaba: Bedouin Garden Village, 10km from city center but 100 meters from a coast, 17 JD per night/person
  • transportation: Jett Bus, Amman – Aqaba 8,8 JD
  • jeep tour and accommodation in Wadi Rum: 30 JD per person, http://www.welcome-to-wadirum.com.

 

by Radek

It’s all about differences

If you are considering coming to Jordan we can promise you that it is worth! But be careful, some things might surprise you. We present you top differences between Jordan and our countries.  

Differences between Jordan and …

… Poland

apples1. For 100% Poles perhaps the greatest shock will be the price of apples. Our country is one of the largest producer of apples in the world so they are relatively cheap in Poland and we eat a lot of them. Here we can not afford apples:)

2. Smoking in public places is totally normal. You can smoke everywhere, in office buildings, in shopping malls, at bus stations and even in restaurants. In Poland you would have to pay a fine at the police office for smoking or get kicked out from the restaurant.

3. Living without Cracow’s public transportation is really difficult for us. You can not count on public buses in Amman but you can always take very cheap taxi.

4. We really miss green!

5. Every second Jordanian studies enginery. Young Poles usually choose humanities, social science or economics.

by Kamila and Radek

… Latvia

forest1. Latvia is green, Jordan is yellow.

2. Latvia is wet, Jordan is as dry as dust stuck in your throat.

3. Latvia is flat forever, Jordan is only either up the hill or down the hill.

4. In Latvia, you would be ashamed if somebody saw you littering, in Jordan, you would be ashamed to be noticed looking for a trash.

5. In Latvia, we do use seat belts and do tend to obey the rules on the street and do get into accidents, in Jordan, there are no rules, no seat belts, no safety, no accidents (according to locals).

by Sara

… Germany

minaret1. One of the biggest difference is religion. Most of the people in Jordan are Muslims (~94%) and you can recognize it in everyday life. Every day you can listen to the five prayers, you can see numerous beautiful mosques and a lot of taxi drivers have the Quran in their cars. Many people in Germany are without a confession (~33%) and a lot of people don’t go to church even though they are a member of a church/confession.

2. Another difference is of course the landscape – Germany: plenty forests, many lakes, rivers; Jordan: desert, less water, of course some forests but not as big as in Europe)

3. And the mentality of the people – Germany: very punctual, well organized, schedules for busses and trains, boring(?); Jordan: more hospitable to strangers, busses are leaving only when they are full.

by Andres

… France

taxiOne of the biggest difference that we have noticed here is a transportation. Indeed, the most common way to move is by a taxi. And you know what … before coming to Jordan I had never taken a taxi in France! In France it is enough to take a bus to go everywhere and whenever and it is cheaper than a taxi. Of course taxis exist also in France but it is more expensive and it’s better to take a train, a subway or a bus to move through cities. Cities in France are very well connected and you can quickly go from one place to another. In Jordan, let’s say, it is a little bit more complicated… It is sometimes necessary to wait 20 minutes to manage to take a taxi!

by Manon and Doriane

… Denmark

pobraneSince we came to Jordan we’ve noticed many differences between Jordan and our home country, Denmark.

1. One of the first things we noticed is the friendly people of Jordan. In Denmark no one ever talks to strangers on the street, but even the first day we were here we were met by kind people wanting to show us around this wonderful city.

2. Secondly we’ve noticed how people smoke everywhere; in busses, at home, in taxis, in restaurants, and even at the hospital. Smoke is everywhere you go.

3. And third of all we’ve experienced how much, often unwanted, attention you get when you are a blonde Danish girl walking around in the streets of Amman. Harassments are a part of daily life when you are a female in Jordan – even local girls wearing hijabs are experiencing this.

by Karina and Julie

Anas’ EVS in Latvia

انا انس ابو جودة . انا مشترك في برنامج الخدمة التطوعية الأوروبية . اعمل الان في مؤسسة زيمولس والتي تعني اقلام الرصاص  ريزيقنا لاتفيا . انا هنا منذ ستة اشهر وباقي لي 5 اشهر

  

  كون انس مدرسا للغة انجليزية ويجيد تدريس اللغة العربية لغير الناطقين بها كان تدريس اللغتين المذكورتين  من اولى نشاطاته التي قام بها . بعد شهر من الدروس استطاع 8 طلاب على القراءة والكتابة  بشكل جيد

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   التصوير هي احدى المهارات التي يتمتع بها أنس حيث قام بأول اسبوع من قدومه من الاردن بتصوير وتغطية عدة احتفاليات عقدت بالمركز .

 ( زيمولس وتعني اقلام الرصاص ).  بجانب مجموعة من الدروس في التصوير الاحترافي من قبل المصور أسكندر  

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التعريف بالأردن والثقافة العربية والاسلامية . قام أنس بعرض تقديمي  عن الهوية الاردنية والعربية والاسلامية من خلال عدة زيارات دعيه اليها من قبل مدارس ومراكز شبابية

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المطبخ الاردني . يقوم أنس بعقد ورشات عملية لتعليم كيفية اعداد بعض اطباق الطعام الاردني مثل المقلوبة والفلافل والحمص والفول  والعجة والبطاطا والسلطات العربية والمجدرة والفاصوليا …. الخ

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 تنظيم دوري لكرة القدم يستهدف المدارس الثانوية في المدينة  حيث قامت اربع مدارس بالمشاركة بجانب فريق دولي يضم مجموعة من الطلاب من مختلف الدول مثل اسبانيا وتركيا والاردن وجورجيا وسلوفاكيا …. الخ .  وضم هذا النشاط اكثر من 70 مشارك


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قام انس بالمشاركة بعدة انشطة خارج نطاق مؤسسته وكان الهدف من ذلك زيادة الخبرة العملية و الانخراط بالمجتمع المحلي . فعلا سبيل  المثال قام أنس بالمشاركة بزرع ما يقارب 2500 شجرة في المدينة1391643_10152279890778241_464112336398528520_n 1506401_10152279891968241_5960920105973904643_n 1798565_10152279892183241_6764778967722278194_n 10255497_10152279891058241_1010423252880417314_n 10297781_10152279891008241_3233140764239562396_n10312826_10152279890773241_6627359761141245709_n 10371462_10152279891508241_3834812836479458637_n

 قام انس بمشاركة في اداء مسرحي باللغة الروسية

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Project if funded by European Union. EU flag-Erasmus+_vect_POS

My ideal fruit and vegetable store

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Fruit and vegetable store, Amman

My ideal fruit and vegetable store is around the corner in five minutes walk from my flat. There are always big choice of fresh fruits and vegetables and stuff is very nice and friendly. I go there often and arrive home with many bags full with delicious goods. The only problem with ideal things are that they do not exist in the real life. What is the problem with my ideal fruit and vegetable store?- packaging. Even though I am trying to use as little plastic bags as possible- put the same price vegetables in one bag, put the big items in my canvas bag- it is not enough. Plastic bag collection in our house is getting bigger and bigger. I am trying to fight it by crocheting some useful stuff like shopping bags and jewelry boxes. But that is not enough.

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Shopping bag from plastic bags, crochet
 
I do not want to contribute to Great Pacific Garbage Patch )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75NG4Tqdjqo)- enormous amounts of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean which decompose in smaller pieces and cause problems to ecosystem. Not to forget all the other impacts like land pollution which is super ugly, environmental impacts and recourse consumption while producing the bags, impact from transportation. Why should we care about all that if it is not in our backyards? Because we all share one planet and resources are limited and it all influence our health.
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Amman, Jordan
 
As for now waste free grocery stores are just rarity like this one in Berlin http://www.gizmag.com/original-unverpackt-germany-waste-free-supermarket/32376/ and only few people have mission and strength to live so that they would create zero waste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXTS5UVtb5s. I have to act too. I decided I will not take plastic bags anymore. So when I go to buy fruits and vegetables I use plastic bags from my massive collection at home. Yes I am far from zero waste but have to start somewhere. I do not want to waste resources for something that will be used just for 5 minutes to carry goods home and then thrown away. That is enough. Yes it might seem weird in this plastic bag consumption society but I do not want to continue like this.

I believe that problems have to be solved in causes not in effects. In my ideal world all shops are waste free. And it is not the decision of enthusiastic consumer it is the right decision of all society and governments. Lets save our resources today so we can continue using them tomorrow.

 
By Agnese

What is the weather today?

Before I came to Jordan, I really didn’t like to think about the weather forecast. To me, the weather happens and that’s it.

I’m aware that the weather can change the mood. Thanks to the sun we can get vitamin D (the body get 80% to 90% of it from the sun) and it leads generally to a good mood.

Some points of view claim that rain has effects on people. For example, getting excited or on the contrary, other people ensure that the rain make them more sleepy.

Of course, according to the place we are living, the effects are different. For example if you live in a place where it’s snowing by meters every year, you will less enjoy it than if you were living in a place where there is snow only once or twice a year.

Or if you live in a place where the water is missing, you will probably enjoy more when it’s raining than the people that have the rain in their place every 2 or 3 days.

What about Jordan?

In Jordan, even if I still never take care of it, I have to face different kind of weathers.

I won’t make a degree presentation because I come from a humid place and Jordan is mostly a dry one, so the degrees are not felt the same way, and there is no comparison to do.

Some places in Jordan are situated in altitude. For example, Amman is almost 800 meters over the ocean level. I’ll experience summer in Jordan, but until now, I would say that the altitude allows us to enjoy a pleasurable wind.

Even if the Middle East is a dry and hot place, during winter time for example, there is snow is in Amman and in other places in Jordan.

However, there is also another altitude in Jordan that is quite extreme, and that is the Dead Sea of course! 423 meters under the Ocean level, it is actually the lowest point of the earth. As you can imagine, it is very hot and we can “swim” there (almost) anytime of the year, except during summer, because it will become a mega oven.

During March month, an event happened in Jordan : the rain.

Indeed, this is an event here that is not very common.

Let’s now have a look on the average precipitations in Jordan. The average Precipitation is the long-term average in depth (over space and time) of annual precipitation in the country. Precipitation is defined as any kind of water that falls from clouds as a liquid or a solid.

The average precipitation in depth (mm per year) in Jordan during the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 is 111. Let’s compare with the origin countries of the volunteers of West & East Center from the lowest to the highest :

- in Poland ;     600

- in Latvia ;       641

- in Lithuania ; 656

- in Denmark ; 703

- in Italy   ;       832

- in Belgium ;   847

- in Portugal ;   854

- in France ;     867

and in Jordan ; 111 !

You can imagine now why I told you why the rain here was an event. And try to imagine the number if there was no snow during the winter.

Jordan is actually one of the countries of the world with the lowest average precipitations.

Since last September, because the sun is really loyal, my skin had some colors. As I had skin troubles in my childhood, I put sunscreen in the morning before going to work. And step-by-step, the summer is arriving, and I think we will have a sunny experience!

By Jason

jason

References

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-929-VITAMIN%20D.aspx?activeIngredientId=929&activeIngredientName=VITAMIN%20D

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.PRCP.MM

Yalla teacher! Gosia’s perspective

Entering through the blue gate of the Jerash Camp Development Office, I suddenly step into a tranquil space contrasted with the hustle and bustle of the camp outside. All noises seem isolated now, the crowds of school children pouring down the camp road are left somewhere in the background, outside the white fence. As I head across the shaded courtyard, suddenly from behind the metal bars of the upper staircase I hear familiar voices: “Gosha Gosha! Teacher!”. A group of girls runs down to greet me and before I even manage to enter the staircase we are there hugging. saying “hello” and exchanging “kiffik”s [how are you’s]. Holding hands, we climb up, head down the shaded corridor and together turn right to step into the room where, with every of my visits to the camp, I take on the role of “teacher Gosia”.

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Since I came to join the project in January, I have been leading English lessons three times per week. Having joined Paulina in the first months, I then was left to do English on my own. I must admit that I did not know what to expect. Never have I taught English to kids. But all I knew is that I love being among children and entering their reality. And that I want to discover and become part of the world of girls in camp. Three – almost four – months later, I can say that it undoubtedly reorganized my way of approaching subjects, of seeing them, through the eyes of young girls that I had a chance to be with almost every day.

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Our entrance seems to interrupt the chattering that has been on inside the room, where the rest of the girls have been awaiting the lesson, sitting at one of the three tables. After greeting each of the girls, I walk the room to see the two CDO workers who have since been of an irreplaceable support for us in our activities in the office. And as every day, after an exchange of “kullu tamam” and “hamdulillah”s [everything is good] confirming that all is well, I leave my things on one of the chairs, take out my English materials and start the lesson.

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And here, let me explain the rules. Rule number one, seemingly the basics of basics: spontaneity. As chaotic as it sounds, the number of girls attending class differs depending on the minute of the lesson. Some girls join half way the lesson, some go in and out, asking to go to “hammam” [toilet], “souq” [market] or “beit” [home]. And let me add that it is extremely hard to predict the number of girls coming to class – that can be from around 10 to up to 30 girls at once. Added to this, groups change according to monthly shifts in school – the activities we do follow the morning shift at school which finishes at around 12:00. Then come the second and third rule: flexibility and assertiveness. These after-school activities are an additional occasion for the girls to spend time together, outside the crowded camp school where a single class can count up to 60 pupils. This meaning that girls receive more than the usual attention from the teacher and can sometimes be “unusually” active.

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Alphabet, simple nouns and adjectives, building basic sentences – these are the stages we start off with every group, teaching new vocabulary through memory games, bingo or quizzes solved together on the board. Or making use of objects around us in the classroom, playing shop scenes or naming clothes and jewellery we wear, a subject they lately like the most :)

But from all the above, what I consider most important is passing on the passion for English as a new language, a language still so unknown to the majority of the girls. And building a friendly relation between us, which has been developing since the first moment we met.

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13-year old Arwa has since the beginning become one of my closest friends – very sensitive, extremely eager to learn, and extremely eager to help as well, she usually plays the role of my translator. Her good friend and classmate from school, Elaf– calm and self-confident, accurately answering questions and herself, trying to ask whenever something seems unclear. Then come the sisters – 10-year-old Dania and 7-year-old Reetaj. A crazy mix when together with her sister, but much more calm on her own, talented Dania always tries to be the first! Many times, her brother Mohammed joins us and sitting secretly outside in the corridor, solves quizzes or other hand-outs prepared for the girls. 12-year-old Aya and her younger sister Braa are much different: quite silent and at a side, they seem to be inseparable, sitting together, sometimes at once on one chair. Spontaneous Hiba runs around the classroom and quite often pulls my sleeve to make me remember she wants to be the first to write on the whiteboard. 9-year-old Ameleen is the tricksy girl and from time to time faints crying to mislead me, quite with successJ Then, 11-year-old Rula and Sileen, the two girls who dare to ask practically any question and often stir the situation in the classroom. Rawan, not too keen to speak, but always listening with full attention despite the chaos which arouses in the classroom. And Islam, somehow in between – loud and active, but still able to stop the chatter when necessary.

The repetitive screams of “ yalla teacher” [come on], “taali teacher” [come here] or “finish teacher” [come and check], are words I would never have thought would be directed to me. It seems we are building a dictionary of communicating with each other every day, using English during the lesson and Arabic after class, as we head together towards the bus that I take back home. And on every road back from camp, I keep my inner smile, happy to come back to meet the girls the following day.

By Gosia

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Taking the bus from one city to another in Jordan…

In the bus station or close to the bus stops, it is not really a problem to find the bus that you need to get in. Indeed, when the driver is waiting under the bus shelter with the name of the destination (written in Arabic only) or when the driver is stopping on his way, the guy who is collecting the money is screaming the name of the city or the name of the place he is going to; so no mistake is possible.

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When you get in the bus, I’m speaking about the small buses with approximately 16 to 20 seats, mainly the shuttles between cities, you can find fancy decorations. Of course, all the buses have curtains, I guess mostly because of the sun. Also, you have the possibility to enjoy your trip with the big opened window on your side and appreciate (or not) the wind coming to your face. Often, the radio is switched on, either to listen to the Quran or Arabic music.

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When sitting in the bus, you have to respect a rule: Usually men cannot sit next women. Sometimes, you have to remove people who are already peacefully sat just to apply this rule. Regarding the smoking rule, from time to time, some drivers don’t say anything to people who are lighting a cigarette in the bus which can be really bothering the ones who do not smoke, especially when it is in early morning and when you are still not really awake. When the bus is getting full, the guy who is collecting money is starting his job. And for example, when the price is 95 cents and you give 1 dinar, sometimes you are not given back the change. When you have to go out, don’t forget to keep a coin in your hand to hit the window in order to make noise and thus warm the driver that you want to go out. Then you are able to open the door by yourself and get out. After spending a while living in Amman and going to work in Jerash by bus, all the drivers know you and are always happy to see you.

Here is an example from my personal experience. Close to the Jerash ruins, you can find buses and cars (services or taxis) to go back to Amman and when the drivers see you. Obviously, they perceive you as tourists (even if some of us have been in Jordan for a long time). Car drivers are trying to negotiate prices to get you back to Amman. The bus is still empty and it will take you hours to wait for it full … One day, as the bus was really empty, my colleague and I decided to walk, hoping that we could catch one bus on the way, coming from Ajloun and going to Amman for instance. Suddenly, after a few steps, one bus from Jerash stopped us and told us to come in. Only one tourist was in the bus so we went in. On the way, the driver received one phone call and he was arguing and screaming through the phone. We just guessed that it was because of us. He didn’t want to leave us walking so he made his decision independently from the other drivers, left only with one tourist and here we are… We were not feeling so comfortable. At some point, he stopped for gas and he asked me where I was going. After a while driving, he stopped on the side of the road and I had to go to the other small bus while a family from the other one was coming to mine. When I got to the other bus I was alone with the driver telling me to sit on the seat next to him. As I always wanted to sit in front, I accepted. We didn’t speak a lot as he was speaking in Arabic and me in English and he was nice and not pushy at all like some other men. He finally dropped me exactly where I wanted to.

By Anne-Laure

 

Is there a peaceful place in Amman?

Even if you come from a big city such as Rome, Amman chaotic way of life cannot leave you indifferent.

Acoustic pollution surround you all day long. You don’t have to put the alarm clock, for sure building constructions will wake you up at eight in the morning. That refrain in your ears doesn’t mean that you are getting crazy or having acoustic visions. Calm down it isn’t only in your head, it is real, is the gas dealer.

But the main question is: when you drive your car what is the need of honking each moment? If you ask to people in Amman there is always a reason to honk: for taxi and van drivers is to get new costumers, for private drivers is to say hi, to attire attention, to hit on girls, to express happiness, to express anger; in other words if you are driving in Amman there is always a reason to honk.

If you live in Amman there is no choice, you have to get used to it. You can adopt the strategy that fits better with you. When I decide to take a walk I wear my headset choosing my own soundtrack!

But if you decide to take a walk in Amman acoustic pollution is not the only problem you have to face. Sidewalk are in fact a relativity places to walk on, they can disappear from behind your feet or can suddenly change their nature in sand paths or rocks paths.

When almost hopeless about finding a resting place to take a walk I finally discovered Jabal el Weibdeh. One of the oldest neighborhood of Amman, located on an hill with a great view is the perfect place to retire from chaos and cars.

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Enjoying great views in a green environment.

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Even if really close to the traffic of the downtown el Weibdeh is the perfect place to spend your time enjoying silence, nature and art. Thanks to the presence of many contemporary art galleries, of the National Gallery of Fine Arts together with the national museum park, and many places to chill such as cafes and restaurants, Jabal el Weibdeh is the very heart of Amman creative and artistic life.

By Gioia

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