Jordan's at-risk sites

August 12, 2007 22:21

The Dead Sea is not the only major tourist attraction along the border with Jordan facing extinction. Damming has reduced the water flow in the Lower Jordan River by more than 90 percent. What little is left is heavily polluted with raw sewage and agricultural runoff. The river should be a bustling tourist site: It holds religious significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. In addition, two important Jordanian archeological sites are in danger of irreparable damage. Khirbet e-Tannur is one of the finest examples still standing of a Nabataean open-air sanctuary. Excavated in 1937, years of looting have left it riddled with holes. Qusayr Amra, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, was the country home of an Umayyad prince during the 8th century CE. Today only the bathhouse and the assembly hall still stand. Quasayr Amra is recognized for its fine examples of Islamic figure drawing. The paintings are under threat as they crack and fade. The World Monuments Fund has placed all three sites on its endangered list. - R.K.

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