I pass by the park fairly frequently but I’ve rarely actually gone inside except for the basketball courts. Today I decided to take a walk around the park in order to appreciate it in its entirety. I started at the newly constructed King Hussein Mosque, which I promised myself I would pray in the first chance I got. I could hardly get a few pictures taken incognito without a security guard running after me to tell me that no pictures were allowed. I went for the duhr (noon) prayers so I haven’t seen how it operates when it’s full but only one word can describe it: Mashallah. It reminded me of a miniature version of the Prophet pbuh’s Mosque in Medina. The mosque is very wide from the inside and has a very large courtyard. It’s done in a very Umayyed kind of style; designed by Egyptian architect Khalid Azzam. I’m sure it will become a fairly notable landmark once the area is completed.
I think blogger Yazeed has one of the best picture’s I’ve seen of the mosque yet, which makes me want to take my camera back there in the spring. Hopefully I’ll have developed a talent by then.
After prayers I took a walk around the park. Aside from the fact that the park is incredibly spacious there are many noteworthy sites. First of all beside the mosque you can find the Royal Automobile Museum which is one of those places I know so much about without ever having had the opportunity to pay an actual visit. It is home to the numerous vehicles owned by King Hussein God rest his soul, and it is also the subject of another post soon to come.
Next to that is a children’s museum of some sort. I don’t know exactly what it will feature but it’s architectural design is very luring.
The rest of the park is all downhill.
What caught my attention the most was the main pathway that runs across the center of the park. Along this path is a wall that runs with it and upon this wall is an artistic interpretation of Jordan’s history. This history is not told in words but with the art engraved on slides alongside a 488 meter wall. In other words, if in 3,000 years another people are excavating the Jordan that we now know, these are the remnants they would find, in the same way that we discover similar artifacts of civilizations that once called this land home. In addition to this, I believe they’re going to have the Hijaz railway on display. I don’t know if that means they’ll bring the actual train to the gardens but the tracks for it have been laid down and they run right through the park.
One wall traces displays the Hashemite role as custodians of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and another shows King Abdullah I entry into Jordan. Another wall consists of a Madaba mosaics alongside a running fountain and Roman pillars. Another wall has little statues and Egyptian style artifacts on display.
This whole wall and street is known as the Historical Passageway. Most of the artwork has been contributed by local artists.
The passageway leads to an even cooler area called the Cultural Village. This consists of a main square surrounded up above by cultural shops. In the main square the work of local artists is on display.
My favorite was a statuesque figure of a giant Black Iris. I have to figure out who made it.
The village also has a few restaurants and a cafe overlooking west Amman.
Much of the King Hussein Park is still unfinished but according to the employees they seem to be aiming for this summer. Judging by the fast paced non-stop work during the day, they might just be telling the truth.
It’s usually full of families especially in the summer months, but during the day it seems that 95% of its visitors are all young men and their girlfriends who all happen to be covered women. It was the oddest thing.
Your tax dinars at work. You can read more about the entire project here.
+ Salam has interesting pictures from her trip to Hanover where the artwork displayed above in the Cultural Village was on display at the World Expo.