Research & Publications

Ammar Khammash is well established in Jordan and internationally for his knowledge in Jordan's cultural and natural heritage. He is an expert in local building techniques and traditions; has extensive knowledge in the geology of Jordan and its natural features; and is one of the few architects who are interested in medicinal plants and using them as a viable tool in the socio-economic development. This section includes research and publications by Khammash on numerous topics including design, architecture, environment, paleontology and geology from 1986 till present.

Basalt Bombs

A day in the black basalt desert is a life experience. Black is beautiful. There, you can see better, as if through some very advanced sunglasses not invented yet, basalt absorbs most of the desert glare and only sends to your eyes delicately selected rays of the deepest colors of nature. About one sixth of Jordan is covered with volcano-spillage; the hardened lava that we call basalt. ...more

Jordan’s Wild Tulips

Tulip is an obsession. There is something special about it, the way its fleshy flowers and leaves feel is more like living skin than plant. In the 17th century this flower lead a popular craze, an epidemic devotion, escalating to a kind of "tulipomania", that started in Holland and swept most of Europe. One bulb of a certain variety of tulip would sell, in the 1630s, for hundreds of thousands of dollars. ...more

Petra and Beyond

For many, Petra ends at Qasr al Bint. For those insisting to do all the listed monuments, and who are more fit, Petra ends at Al Dair, or at Nabi Haroun after a full-day walk. For anyone to claim a good knowledge of Petra, at least one week of hard walking is needed. After the third day, finishing most of the sites listed in tourists' books, one develops an urging curiosity to find out what hides behind Petra ...more

Hanging Hermitage

There are seasons to paint landscapes. One of the best is late autumn when Jordan’s air gets clearer, adding more focus, sharpness and color intensity to the subject. In the slopes below, stood some oak trees and a few big cubes of rock that once tumbled from the massive cliff in the process of creating the Great Rift Valley. ...more

Winter Palace

For those arriving in Jordan, Qasr Mushatta can be the first archaeological monument to see, even before their feet touch the Jordanian ground. The Qasr is beautifully visible from the windows of airplanes landing on the northern runway; it is just outside the airport fence. ...more

Pasha Palace

The car meanders upwards through a valley, revealing the overspilling modern growth of the village at its northern and eastern ends. From a distance, Tibna might appear disappointing nowadays. ...more

Silos of Survival

In a harsh environment, on a tableland, away from river or sea, ecology had taught Jordanians how to build their houses and how to use them as "survival kits", as storages, that can provide food between harvests of unpredictable consistency. ...more

House of the Waterfall

Sumia is the last of Salt villages to the north. Beyond it the landscape drops abruptly into the deep escarpments of the Zarqa River. The village itself is a charming little gathering of stone houses placed on a pedestal of bedrock surrounded by relaxed rolling hills and stretches of red-soiled plateau; the total composition is one out of a romantic book on the land of the Bible. ...more

Monolith of Mystery

It was 1984. At the bus stop of Karak, bus drivers were calling out the names of the villages hoping to start their journey with seats full. The name "Al Yarout" sounded interesting, so I entered the mini bus of that village. Instantly, as I took my seat I felt like a stranger, for all passengers knew each other and knew that someone from outside their village is on board. ...more

Hajj Hotels

This destination is only recommended in winter since Mudawwara and the adjacent Batn Al Ghoul can be drainingly hot in summer. The castle is not visible from the road to the Saudi Arabian border crossing. You will have to exit to the right (west) about 1km before the village of Mudawwara ...more

Architecture of Sovereignty

Samad is a small village built atop a hill at the northernmost region of Ajloun. The location is rather stunning; on the edge of a rugged landscape raised above the rest of northern Jordan to form what geologists call the “Ajloun Dome”. North as well as east of Samad, the landscape gets tamer; it gradually calms down becoming almost flat around Irbid, Huson and Nu’aimeh. ...more

Corbels Adrift

Basalt is an igneous rock. Unlike the white limestone of Amman that was formed as sediment of ancient seas, hence the name “sedimentary rock”, basalt was brought up on the surface of the landscape by volcanic eruptions. This igneous stone was, once in the past, fluid or semi-fluid lava, oozing and cooling to form the attractive blue-black stone ...more