Jordan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

Through the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, heritage is acknowledged as architectural and urban heritage. The definition of “urban” by the Ministry is: any monument that indicates a historical event, while architectural heritage refers to buildings, plazas and urban fabric that defines the identity of the city. Under the law of cultural heritage, structures dating as early as 1750BC are protected in Jordan, and these archaeological sites are to be identified, and no partial or total destruction or mutilation may be inflicted on the site. Any violations are sentenced with imprisonment of up to 4 months, or fined. Fines start from JD400 up to 5,000 depending on the nature of the violation.

Considering Jordan has a historical heritage dating back from the Neolithic age, the law is clearly focused on the recent history of Jordan and the identities formed from the 1700s onwards. This presents a major problem in the conservation of historical sites.

There is no mention of intangible history and culture; these were addressed by other non-governmental organisations such as UNECSO, but not by the government. Institutions like the King Abdullah Fund for Development has a program for the preservation and dissemination of heritage, not specifically indicated for intangible histories, but reading into the programs they support indicates this field is covered. Otherwise, the French Cultural Centre (now known as Institute Francais) has also been involved in the preservation of intangible history projects in the field of folk music for example.

Chapter published: 04-05-2016