Jordan News and Views

H. M. King Hussein Opens Jordan's Holy Land Pavilion at N. Y. Fair

His Majesty King Hussein opened today the "Pavilion of Jordan, They Holy Land," in a ceremony attended by Mayor Wagner of New York, General Manager of the World's Fair Robert Moses, Jordanian Ambassador Abdel Moneim Rifai and many other dignitaries.

His Majesty King Hussein

King Hussein, who is on an official ten-day visit to the United States, said his country was proud to bring to the American people a part of Jordan's history and culture, and thanked the Fair authorities for the kind cooperation and help extended to the Jordan pavilion. 

The young Jordanian monarch added: "My country will not be able to exhibit atomic power, or a special mechanical energy, or an advanced electrical device, But we will be quite able to exhibit that which shall remain when everything else shall vanish. We, who have within our heritage people like Jesus Christ and Mohammed the Prophet, must be represented by a scheme that reflects the ideals of our life and the simplicity of our nature. In our pavilion the Ten Commandments shall echo, the birth of Jesus Christ shall shine, and the ascendance of Mohammed shall be reflected. In our pavilion, the oldest Torah; the Church of the Nativity, and the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock, shall stand symbols of righteousness, tolerance, peace and brotherhood."

The Dead Sea Scrolls, among the greatest treasures of the world, will be exhibited in the Jordan pavilion. As a salute to the city of New York, the Jordanian Government will offer a 2,000 year old Roman column, for permanent display in a New York public park. The column from the ancient city of Jerash, will be placed before the pavilion during the Fair.


Artist's Rendering of Jordan Pavilion
Pavilion Captures Charm and Spirit

Covering an area of 6,500 square feet, the Pavilion of Jordan is one of the most original and striking in the whole of the New York World'sFair. commenting on its conception, the brilliant Jordanian architect Victor Bisharat said, "On considering the area and budget allotted to build the pavilion, I felt I had two choices: either to erect a small building or mould a huge sculpture, I decided to mould a huge sculpture."

The most dramatic feature of the Jordanian pavilion is the rolling roof made of reinforced concrete cast as one piece and covered with gold mosaic. Describing this spectacular design Bisharat said, "I wanted to capture the image of the rolling domes of old Jerusalem, the spires of the magnificent cathedrals, the rounded roofs of the Byzantine churches, the rolling sand dunes of the Jordan desert, the beautiful

mosques and biblical catacombs. I believe my sculpture achieves this to a great extent.

Another major feature of this truly abstract symbolic edifice is a series of stained glass windows depicting in a colorful and awe-inspiring manner the Via Dolorosa or the 14 Stations of the Cross. The stained glass pictures, making up most of the outer walls of the pavilion, were done by the famous Spanish artist Antonio Soura.

Inside the pavilion most of the illumination comes from tinted glass sky lights of different sizes which with the wave-like rolling roof give an aura of mystery and enchantment. The colors depict Jordan as a land of sun, sand and blue skies.

Pavilion Briefs
  • The Jordan Pavilion is also known as the Pavilion of They Holy Land because Jordan is the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity and has the second holiest shrine in Islam.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls on display in the Jordan pavilion were insured for one million dollars.
  • More than 300 newsmen and television personalities attended a preview opening of the Jordan pavilion.
  • The "mother-of-pearl" object d'art at the Jordan Pavilion is the product of Jordanian artisans who have inherited this craft from their forefathers and their work is considered one of the most outstanding of its kind.
  • The New York Times described the building of the Jordan pavilion as a "truly modern symbolic abstract edifice that captures the spirit and charm of Jordan"
  • Food is fun at the Fair and while at the Jordan Pavilion do not fail to visit the open buffet featuring delicious Jordanian delicacies.
  • The exhibit area of the pavilion is divided into three sections for the convenience of the visitor. In the first section are exhibits of religious interest. Then follows an area of archaeological exhibits; and the final section is devoted to modern Jordan, including its industries, agricultural and water development, health, education and welfare.

    Jordan Girls Greet Visitors

    Artist's Rendering - Interior

    On hand to serve you at the Jordan pavilion will be eleven girls serving as information officers - dressed in colorful national consumes and all experts on the historical and cultural traditions of their country. The eleven hostesses all came from Jordan especially for the Fair.

    In charge of the young ladies from Jordan is Mrs. Sami Awad, wife of the Tourist and Press Attache of Jordan. Mrs. Awad has been living in the Untied States for two years and will use this experience to acquaint the newly arrived girls with the American way of life. They are also expected to make the best of their two year stay in the United States by attending

    American colleges and universities in their spare time and during the winter months when the Fair will be closed.

    Of the ten girls who are assisting Mrs. Awad, two are from Jerusalem: the Misses Dyala Husseini and Doris Salah; five are from Jordan's capital, Amman: the Misses Leila Deeb, Sumaya Kuleini, Sumaya Bitar, Nuyassar Abu Dabbeli, and Renata Bushnaq. Miss Jane Kattan is from Bethlehem, Miss Hayam Dajani is from Irbid, and Mrs. Muna Doani is from Ramallah. All the girls speak excellent English as well as Arabic, and nearly all of them have a third language as well: French, German, Italian or Spanish.


    Legacy of the
    Dead Sea Scrolls
    Jordanian Ruins

    The Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the greatest historical discoveries of the century, will be on public display for the first time in the United States at the Jordan pavilion.

    The discovery of these scrolls is an interesting story by itself. Khirbet Qumran the region which unlocked the mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is situated on an ancient site, on the Northwest Coast of the Dead Sea.

    The ruins are at the foot of a rough and rugged cliffs. In the background are the impressive mountains of Moab, craggy and silent and undergoing a continuous change of colors.

    The discovery of the scrolls occurred by sheer coincidence in the spring of 1947. They were found by a Bedouin shepherd searching for one of his lost sheep.

    The scrolls belonged to the Essene Community, who parted from Orthodox Judaism in Jerusalem and came to the arid wilderness of Qumran in the second half of the second century. It appears their caves and tents were destroyed by an earthquake that shook Judaea in 31 B.C. and forced them to flee the region. They returned in 4 B.C. and continued to live in Qumran until 68 A.B. when they fell victim to the Roman legions which were heading towards Jerusalem. The Romans completely destroyed the Essene tribe. The Community then sank beneath the surging tide of history for 19 centuries, leaving nothing but a dim tradition in the mists of time.

    The 2,000 year-old scrolls were the biblical manuscripts of the Essene Community. More than 600 manuscripts were found in eleven caves in Qumran. Other scrolls of a later date, were found south and west of this region.

    The scrolls demonstrated how these people "spent their life studying the Holy Writ and praying for the coming of the Messiah." They also reflected the life of this desert settlement which paved the way for the teachings of Jesus.

    There is no doubt that the Dead Sea Scrolls contribute greatly to the understanding of the Old Testament and are of invaluable historical significance. The Scrolls are now kept in the Palestine Archaeological Museum in Arab Jerusalem.


    Jordan Pipers, Band
    At Fair Opening
    Jordan Merchants to
    Run Unique Bazaar

    One of the most spectacular military musical organization is the world, the Jordan Army Band and the Jordan Corps of Pipers, will be on hand when His Majesty, dedicates the Jordan Pavilion at the World's Fair. Recently arrived from Jordan, the band and the pipers will remain in the United States for approximately one month, and will give daily performances at the Fair when they are in New York. They are also contemplating a tour of American cities if their tour can be extended.

    The Corps of Pipers is the older of the two sections of the army's musical group, having been founded in 1921, whereas the Jordan Army Band was not organized until 1925. Both units total 46 in number, and their parade uniforms, featured by the famous Arab headdress, the keffieh,  are as colorful as the Grenadier Guards.

    The Jordan Army Band and the Corps of Pipers have made many appearances outside Jordan. In 1954 they made a three month tour of Great Britain; in in 1959, they were a feature attraction at the Bari, Italy, military band festival. They have also appeared in the United Arab Republic, Lebanon and Syria; and have made concert tours in Iran and Turkey.

    Perhaps their most sensational appearance was at the Edinburgh Festival last year, when they scored a spectacular triumph in competition with many of the most famous musical organizations in the world.

    Six of the leading merchants of Jerusalem and Bethlehem have formed a consortium in order to provide the pavilion at the World's Fair with a wide variety of handicraft products from the Holy Land. The bazaar, souk as it is known in the Arab world, is located in the basement of the pavilion, and will feature such authentic souvenirs of the Holy Land as Bibles bound in olive wood or mother of pearl, and figures for creches made of olive wood.

    In addition to these beautiful hand-made objects, the different shops in the souk will have available Crusader jackets, embroidered objects of all kinds, Crusader crosses, and other religious objects.

    There will be a special section devoted to metal objects of all kinds particularly gold and silver jewelry, as well as trays, candlesticks, and crucifixes. Another booth in the bazaar will feature the famous ceramic tiles and pottery which are made in Jerusalem.



    Documentary Films in Jordan Theatre

    A series of outstanding films on Jordan will be on continuous schedule daytime and evening in the little theater in the basement of the Pavilion. One of them, "Ahlan Wasahlem" or "Welcome to Jordan," was made especially for the Fair by United States Productions, and features His Majesty, King Hussein. The film was directed by the well know cameraman, Tom Hollyman and was produced by Alfred Butterfield, well know for his "Secrets of the Reef."

    Another in the series rated by critics as "outstanding among travel documentaries" is "This Is Jordan," a United Artists release. This has played to millions of movie-goers in England, and is being shown for the first time in the U.S. in the pavilion theater.

    A third film of unusual quality is "Jordan Today," a film which covers old and new in the life of Jordan. It was made by Horizon Pictures at the same time that they were making the Oscar-winning picture, "Lawrence of Arabia." Although a good deal of it was filmed in the spectacularly scenic desert area that was featured in the Lawrence film, "Jordan Today" covers fully the great cities and sites of the Holy Land.

    Three other films on the religious, archaeological and tourist aspects of Jordan complete the film program. Filmed in Jordan by an Italian company, all three films have had wide screenings in European theaters.


    King Hussein Meets U.S. President

    King Hussein and President Johnson

    Highlight of His Majesty, King Hussein's visit to the United States, which enabled him to be present a the opening of the Jordan Pavilion at the World's Fair was the series of visits he had with President Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington. The President first received Hussein on the White House lawn after his arrival there by helicopter. There followed a private meeting that morning, a state dinner that night, and the following day a meeting to issue a joint communique.

    During his two-week stay in the United States, King Hussein made several public appearances, including luncheon meeting with the Citizens Committee for the Commercial Club of Chicago. He was honored at several dinners, among them the Near East Foundation and the Foreign Policy Council in New York. Besides meeting with high government officials in Washington, King Hussein had private meetings also with Untied Nations Secretary General U Thant and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson.

    Among other activities His Majesty engaged in were visits to Cape Kennedy in Florida, the ranch of oilman John Mecome outside Houston, and the State of Colorado as guest of the Governor.


    Montage of Jordanian Sites

    SOURCE: Jordan News and Views, Vol. 1 - No. 1, April 1964 - Published by The Jordan Information Center, New York, N.Y.

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as it is presently constituted first came into existence in 1950. It comprises the former Kingdom of Transjordan (the land east of the Jordan River), which became a sovereign state on March 22, 1946, when by treaty the United Kingdom terminated its mandate, and that portion of Palestine and the Dead Sea which was under Jordanian control when hostilities with Israel ended in 1949.

    Jordan has an area of about 37,500 square miles with a population of approximately 1.7 million.

    Jordan is virtually landlocked except for its southern port of Aqaba, which opens into the Red Sea. On the north, it is bounded by the Syrian Arab Republic and on the west by Israel. On the east and south it shares common desert frontiers with Iraq and Saudia Arabia.

    Of its present population of 1.7 million, one-third are natives of Trans Jordan, one-third are original residents of the incorporated territory west of the Jordan River, and the remaining third - some 630,000 - are Palestinian Arab refugees. With the exception of the two largest cities, Amman and Zarqa, which lie east of the Jordan river, the urban population - about 47 per cent of the total - lives primarily on the river's west bank.

    Arabic is the official language and Islam the official religion. The Constitution, however, guarantees religious freedom, and there is a long-established Christian minority of 180,000.

    The Constitution of 1952 provides for a parliamentary form of government with a hereditary monarchy.

    Introducing Jordan

    The people are the source of all powers. King Hussein I, the present monarch, ascended the throne in May 1953, succeeding his father, Talal.

    The country is predominantly agricultural, with limited natural resources and a high rate of population growth. About 80 per cent of the arable land (4 million acres on 17 per center of the total area) is under cultivation, but productivity is dependent upon each year's uncertain rainfall. Principal crops are wheat, barley, millet, maize, sesame, beans, tobacco, figs, grapes, and olives. Fresh fruits, vegetables and olive oil are the most important export products. Livestock raising, particularly of sheep and goats, adds significantly to the country's economy.

    Mineral resources are unimportant, with the exception of phosphate mined near Amman and Hasa and potash extracted from the Dead Sea. Phosphate production increased in 1962 and accounted for 38 per cent of the total value of Jordan's exports.

    The Jordan River, together with its principal tributary stream, the Yarmuk River, constitutes the country's greatest natural asset. By effectively harnessing this important river system, Jordan can increase its agricultural productivity and develop its hydroelectric power and thus lay the foundation for economic and social progress.

    A seven-year plan adopted by Jordan's Development Board covering 1963-70 is expected to expand production and income and cut unemployment. Investment will be primary in irrigated agriculture,

    water - resources development, tourism, and the exploitation of phosphate and potash. Meanwhile individual development projects have been making progress.

    In 1960 a Central Water Authority was established to coordinate the development of the water resources of the entire country.

    Jordan has developed a good transportation network. An all-weather road from Amman to the port city of Aqaba was completed more than two years ago, and other highways connecting the capital with Jordan's important urban centers and roads to Syria and Lebanon have also been completed. Facilities at the port of Aqaba have also been improved.

    One of the most important economic development projects undertaken by the government in 1958 was the East Ghor irrigation project, which will divert part of the water of the Yarmuk River on the Syrian-Jordan border through a system of diversionary and water-carrying canals to land along the east bank of the Jordan River. Stage I of this project which is being financed largely with U. S. assistance, will irrigate some 25,000 acres of land when fully completed. An impressively high productivity per acre is already apparent in the first section of stage I, which came under irrigation in the spring of 1962. It is believed that present production can be doubled with further experience and technical assistance in the proper use of water, fertilizer and good farming methods.