Situated on a hill that overlooks the downtown basin and heart of Amman, Darat al Funun’s buildings are the backdrop for the city’s history and the stage on which some of its most significant events unfolded.
The early-century building was built by Nimr Pasha al Hmoud next to a Byzantine church, which was once the site of a Roman Temple. This home, later lived in by the British commander of the Arab Legion, Colonel F. G. Peake, and which T.E. Lawrence visited in 1921, was after that transformed into a club for British officers in the time of Glubb Pasha (who remained the commander of the Arab Legion until the command was Arabized by King Hussein in 1956). In 1939, the building was leased to the Jordanian government and served for a short while as the Prime Minister’s office. It was converted into a private school for girls for a short period, and was later abandoned for 15 years, until it was bought by the Shoman Foundation in 1992, and renovated to become the Main Building of Darat al Funun.
The exhibition showcases the historic renovation and preservation of the archaeological site and these buildings, with never seen images by architect Ammar Khammash, and how these heritage homes were transformed to become the home for the arts that they are today.
Image: Darat al Funun's Main Building overlooking downtown Amman, 1920s.