Dana Village

Visit the village of Dana and you will feel that you have stepped back in time. It is a 15th century, mountain village built in the Ottoman style. With its stone arches, winding streets and mountain surroundings, it will melt your heart.

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The village site has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. If you are still, you can feel the echoes of the past.

Dana sits at the edge of the Dana Nature Reserve. The 14 km hiking trail through Wadi Dana to the archaeological sites of Feinan in Wadi Araba begins at the end of the village.

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The village literally perches on the side of the mountain with Wadi Dana (Dana Valley) below.

The people of Dana are from the Ata’ta tribe (العطاعطة or العطاطة) and until recent years, were Bedouin farmers.

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Ahmad’s stories of ‘old’ Dana are spell-binding. He worked as a shepherd for many years, and is one of Dana Cooperative’s local guides.

The customary land extended from Al-Husayniyah to Qadisyah in the east and Wadi Araba in the west, to Showbak in the south and north to Busayra. The area now known as the Dana Nature Reserve is part of this customary land.

Dana village and Wadi Dana with Wadi Araba in the distance, viewed from Ata'ta mountain
Dana village and Wadi Dana viewed from a small plateau close to Ata’ta mountain. Wadi Araba is in the distance.

In the early 1980s, most of Dana’s families moved to the nearby ‘new’ village of Qadisiyah to pursue work opportunities and a better quality of life.

But even today, the shepherds and their flocks are never far from the village.
Even today, the shepherds and their flocks are never far from Dana.

The village fell into disrepair when the majority of the villagers left, but a large restoration project is underway.

Dana village is famous for its stone arches.
Dana’s stone arches are famous throughout Jordan.

The Dana Cooperative plays a key role in the restoration process, and the houses still belong to the people of Dana.

The houses still belong to the people of Dana.
Many plan to use their houses for tourist related activities e.g. bed and breakfast accommodation.

The village has terraced gardens and orchards which are slowly being restored. Walk in the gardens, and it is easy to feel that you are in a Mediterranean mountain village rather than southern Jordan.

There is an abandoned village home in the centre of this photograph.
Tall trees, mellow greens and abandoned homes, give a timeless feel.

Although most locals now live in Qadisiyah, Dana is still a great place to observe traditional, Bedouin mountain village life. The locals come to Dana to tend their land, work in tourism or restoration projects, or just to catch up with friends.

The village’s main street.

 

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