A moment with Petra Commissioner Dr. Emad Hijazeen
Jordan has many draws, but without a doubt it’s most iconic landmark is the rose-hued city of Petra. Hidden for centuries by a labyrinth of mountains, this world wonder hewn from the red rock spires of Jordan’s desert is a place that ranks high on any traveller’s bucket-list. So we got in touch with the man responsible for protecting and preserving this world treasure, Dr. Emad Hijazeen for a different look at this renowned lost city.
What does it mean to you to call Petra your office every day?
Petra is a world class destination, World Heritage site, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, so to be part of the team helping to preserve and present this amazing site for the world is incredibly inspiring.
Can you tell us what it feels like when you first see Petra?
Words won’t give Petra justice. It is simply magnificent and breath-taking and never to be forgotten.
What do you think makes Jordan’s sites and history unique?
Jordan is a country of mountains and beaches, castles and ancient churches, with an urbane people and a rich culture. It is safe, comfortable and welcoming, so in my eyes it is a rewarding destination for everyone.
How does Jordan inspire your work?
My PhD Dissertation was actually entitled “Tourism and local communities in Jordan: Perception, Attitudes and Impacts”. It examined the economic, social, and environmental implications for the local communities in archaeological sites such as Petra and Jerash. Jordan is amazing country and there are many things to see and explore but it is the relationship between the local communities and how they uphold their heritage that inspires me most.
What is your favourite part about your work?
I get to protect the integrity of Jordan’s culture and heritage, as well as Petra’s important natural resources. Not many people can say that.
When do you think is the best time to visit?
Jordan is a spectacular year-round destination, but I think the best time to visit Jordan is in spring (March–May) when temperatures are toasty but not scorching.
Do you have a favourite spot to unwind or inspire you?
There are so many! From ancient wonders to modern cities, soul-stirring desert landscapes to plush beach resorts, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea—it’s impossible for me to choose which is the best, they all inspire me at different moments.
Finally, if you could sum up your daily life in one sentence, how would you describe it?
Always at work on the next idea, thinking about how to show things in a different way!