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Dana and its magic

Jan 22,2022 - Last updated at Jan 22,2022

Though small in size, Jordan is full of magical natural sites, all over the country, many of which have no equals in the world.

This is what some refer to as “the geographic gift”, of which we are not taking the best advantage.

Among these is the Dana Biosphere Reserve, which takes no more than two hours to access by car from Amman.

Dana is a superb natural reserve of sizable area, at the edge of which lies a small old village of stone buildings, many of whose houses have been beautifully restored but some of which are in decay.

It has more than one lodging with neat rooms overlooking the spectacular natural scenery, at affordable prices for all, offering the healthy popular home-cooked meals that we know and cherish.

What distinguishes the place most are the wide, high hills covered with small sporadic bushes, and several types of exotic plants, birds, animals, canyons, and rocks.

There is a lot to know about the unique ecology of the place, which is one main reason environment enthusiasts should head to the place to spend a weekend, or a few days during the week if they can.

And this is a good educational opportunity for students of all ages as well.

The place is also distinguished by its serenity and clam. You sit on the terrace or in a tent facing the awesome views, and nothing interrupts your serene thoughts except the chirping of a bird, the cooing of a dove, or the call of a partridge; and perhaps an eagle circling high above you.

Among the most exciting experiences is a long leisurely hike in one of the canyons with the magical rocks on both sides in the company of experienced guides who know the area inside out. The hike is educational, fun and an excellent exercise.

A tour in the alleys and plantations of the half-deserted old village is a must, whose stone mosque and buildings remind us of several of our traditional villages in the early to mid-twentieth century: Rare glimpse into what our simple rural life was once like.

One memorable, unique experience one should not miss is to have a cup of coffee or tea, late afternoon or early evening on one of the roofs of the renovated houses; an experience which most people of my generation used to have on a daily basis, when the roof was part of our daily life: Sitting on top of it having breakfast, supper, tea; and then conversing or even sleeping on it at night in cool or warm summer evenings.

What is a most memorable experience also is talking to the people, native to the area, in charge of the various lodgings or the tours: Extremely courteous, professional and cultured people who are easily approachable and immensely knowledgeable about not only the environment and history of the place, but also the culture of the region, past and present.

It would be a great loss indeed for a person to visit the area and not make it a point to talk to these good, friendly and hospitable people.

One thing that should be underscored here is that the concerned governmental authorities should make it a point to focus more on this site, especially the restoration of the rest of the houses, and listen to the people working or living in the area for the purpose of addressing their most pressing challenges and problems.

Another is to stress the importance of attracting and encouraging internal tourism, to Dana and to many other equally interesting sites in the country, especially in the times of this prolonged nasty pandemic that prevented many international tourists from coming to visit.

A trip to Dana or other similar places to a person residing in Jordan is particularly convenient and rewarding because of its closeness, low cost and the immense fulfillment emanating from it.

And it is also one of the best ways of supporting fellow humans, and their families, whose income depends entirely on people coming to visit: a good cause in these hard times.

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