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ajloun houses The Soap House House of Calligraphy The Biscuit House

Handmade Products and Workshops | Guide


Ajloun Forest Reserve This beautiful nature reserve is located in the Ajloun Highlands in the north of Jordan. It consists of 13 km2 of rolling hill country dominated by open woodlands that are home to a diverse collection of plant and animal species. The rich greenery makes the reserve a popular spot for picnickers and hikers, especially in the spring, when the reserve is coated in a wide variety of wildflowers. Ajloun Forest Reserve was set up in 1987 to help preseve the important Evergreen Oak forest ecosystem. Its open woodlands account for a significant part of Jordan's forested area, which covers only about 1% of the country. After the reserves establishment, RSCN initiated a captive breeding program aiming to reintroduce the locally extinct Roe Deer in 1989, RSCN has managed to release a number of Roe Deer into the reserve, where they have continued to grow within their natural habitat. Ajloun has also had success in raising awareness and establishing cooperative projects with the local communities. Nevertheless, the reserve has still been negatively affected by illegal access to the reserve for unauthorized woodcutting, grazing and hunting.

Staying in Ajloun Forest Reserve Accommodation is located in a large grassy clearing on the edge of Ajloun Forest Reserve, enclosed by carob, oak, pistachio, and strawberry trees, offering beautiful views of the reserve and beyond. There are 5 newly built cabins

with private facilities and small terraces open all year round and 10 four-person tented bungalows with nearby showers and toilets. These are open from mid March to the end of October. Near the campsite, you will find a


visitor center, restaurant, meeting room, and The Nature Shop that is full of creative handicrafts made by the local communities in and around RSCN's nature reserves. The restaurant's menu is based on traditional Arabic food, including some well-known Ajloun specialties.

While the village of Rasun gives you true experience of a country village as you walk down through its narrow alleys and colored houses.

Please inform us upon booking if you are vegetarian. You can also find peaceful seclusion in the nearby bed & breakfast (B&B) at The Biscuit House, located in Orjan village deep in the fig and pomegranate laden valley, offering 2 rooms with a maximum capacity of 9 visitors.

Orjan and Rasun Villages

Orjan and Rasun are small villages located on the outskirts of the Ajloun Forest Reserve with an estimated total population of 8,270 (female 4,022, male 4,248) according to Jordan’s Department of Statistics 2009. Both villages lay in one of the most beautiful areas in Jordan, rich in ancient olive trees and surrounded by forested hills. The valleys of Orjan are decorated with enchanting pomegranate and fig trees and the streams are lined with fragrant wild mint.

Why Ajloun Houses were Created

Ajloun Houses are part of the socioeconomic program established by the Royal Society for The Conservation of Nature (RSCN) to support the conservation of the forests and to provide a new source of income and employment for families in nearby villages to reduce their dependency on the reserve’s natural resources. The project aims to enhance the local economy in this region through strengthening the management capacities of the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. The concept and structure of the these programs is based upon the development plan to stimulate nature-related businesses as alternative livelihoods based on small scale but high value products. The project also contributes to poverty alleviation initiatives with special focus on women empowerment.


The Houses (Lemon Verbena) and browse the soaps and other natural products available in The Soap House Shop.

The Soap House

At The Soap House located in Orjan village, local women use a variety of local ingredients, including lavender, geranium, mint and pomegranate, to create high-quality handmade natural olive oil soaps called Orjan Soap.

Visitors are invited to tour the workshop and view the soap-making process step by step. Enjoy a refreshing glass of traditional Melissa

The Soaps are all produced using pure virgin olive oil, combined with other natural oils, plant extracts, and pure essential oils. Olive oil soap has numerous healing benefits for the skin; it is an ultra moisturizing and mild soap that promotes a youthful natural glow through its ability to soften, hydrate and revitalize the skin. Olive oil soap is also rich in vitamin E and anti-oxidants, consequently this soap is extremely gentle when used to cleanse and refresh the skin. All Orjan Soaps are natural and made with at least 85% of pure extra virgin olive oil. This soap is used for all skin types. No artificial colours, no chemicals or fragrances are added to the soap, to ensure an eco-friendly process, making it safer for you and for our environment.


Orjan Pure Olive Oil Soaps Original Olive Soap Bar

Olive oil is rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants, moisturizes, and helps troubled skin.

Mint Soap Bar

Mint refreshes, purifies, stimulates, and has a cleansing effect, and is recommended for the face and scalp.

Geranium Soap Bar

Geranium is considered a skin balancer, and helps oily and dry skin.

Pomegranate Soap Bar

Pomegranate is high in nutrients, rich in vitamins, anti-oxidant and is very moisturizing .

Lavender Soap Bar

Lavender soothes and helps irritated skin and eczema.


Soap Flakes

Olive oil soap flakes, mixed with pure essential oils and a selection of herbs such as mint, geranium, pomegranate and verbena leaves.

Soap Balls

Pure olive oil soap mixed with a blend of herbal extract pure essential oils.

Soap Cake

Pomegranate soap inspired by the village surroundings. Could be cut into pieces and used as needed.

Soap on a Rope

A selection of three types of soaps, herbal blend, pomegranate and original.

Bath Gel

Provides a gentle rich lather and keeps the skin moist.


Scrub Soap

Olive oil soap with added powdered olive tree leaves, rosemary, lavender, pomegranate and vanilla provides a gentle exfoliating effect.

Black Seed Soap

Black seed has anti-bacterial propertied, recommended for people with acne.

Loofah Soap

Improve blood circulation, enhances skin quality and keeps the skin moist and supple.

Honey Soap

Honey purifies hydrates, and protects the skin from damages and aging as it has an antioxidant properties.

Fresh from the Village

Is an assortment of six Orjan olive oil soap bars that incorporate fresh and seasonal ingredients. These soaps include ingredients such as honey, mint and pomegranate.


House of Calligraphy

The House of Calligraphy, located in Rasun Village, is unique among RSCN's workshops because it aims to educate visitors about Islamic and Arabic culture and to encourage inter-cultural dialogue, in addition to creating products for the Wild Jordan nature shops .

The house employs local women, who are always happy to welcome guests. When you arrive, they will give you a short brief about Arabic calligraphy, its history, letters, and tools. With this background, you are prepared to enter the training room, which accommodate up to 12 students.

Each visitor who is interested in learning Arabic calligraphy will be given a small basket containing the tools that you will need to begin. The women will instruct you on how to hold the reed, how to form letters and words, and even how to write your name. Once you have mastered the basics of Arabic writing, visit the silk screening workshop where the women prepare products for the Wild Jordan nature shops. You can watch them as they work, and even get your name or other phrase printed in Arabic on a t-shirt or card for a customized souvenir. In The Nature Shop, you can buy gifts inspired by Arabic calligraphy and Rasun Village, as well as a range of items produced by people living in and around Jordan's other nature reserves.


House of Calligraphy Products Calligraphy Cards

These attractive cards come in two sizes and contain various messages wishing you peace, good health and other seasonal greetings. In the house you can also have custom messages printed on them.

Home Accessories

Adorn your house with these exquisite Ajloun handmade cushions, napkins and table cloths. They are all carefully decorated with Arabic calligraphy text and designs inspired from nature.

Silk-screen T-Shirts

These high quality t-shirts come in different sizes and colors. We have them in three different calligraphy designs: Rasun, Peace, and Blessings. You can also get creative and customize your own design.


The Biscuit House

The Biscuit House located in Orjan village consists of two sections. The first is the kitchen, where Tasali Jordanian delights are created. These products are made by local women employed in the workshop. All of the products are handmade and consist of natural ingredients, some of which are produced by the local community.

In the Bed and Breakfast (B&B), spend a night connecting with nature in this quiet and isolated place. There are two bedrooms (named Rasun and Orjan), a common room, kitchen, and bathroom. All of the furniture here is also made from recycled wood.

Tasali presents a new spirit of Jordanian delights, presenting old Jordanian treats in an updated form and inventing new recipes inspired by traditional and local ingredients.

In the morning, you will be greeted by a tray that bears traditional Jordanian breakfast items, such as Labaneh, white cheese, olives, jam, zeit and za’ater (thyme and olive oil) and eggs in the local style.


The Biscuit House Products Olive Oil Crisps

Rich, local olive oil perfumes our crisps, while sesame and anise seeds, familiar additions to tea biscuits and other regional sweets and savories, give a bite that we are sure you will love.

Ingredients: Flour, sesame seeds, sugar, anise seeds, salt, olive oil, water, egg whites.

Molasses and Tahini Sandwich Cookies

Typically eaten with bread, dibbis (molasses) and tahini (sesame seed paste) is a traditional combination that has been enjoyed for generations.

Ingredients: Flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, (filling) butter, icing sugar & tahini.

Energy Bar

A Jordanian energy bar made in a unique combination from local ingredients

Ingredients: Almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, raisins, dried figs, glucose, honey, cinnamon, cardamom.


Activities

Besides visiting the three Houses, Ajloun offers several trails for guests to explore. The short Roe Deer Trail has scenic views of its own, as well as the chance to glimpse a few of the reserve's native Roe deer. The Soap House Trail leads you from the Visitor Center to The Soap House, while the Houses Trail continues from the Soap House to the House of Calligraphy and The Biscuit House. The Orjan Village Trail, also continuing from the Soap House, meanders through local farms and includes a delicious local brunch. The Rockrose Trail offers exceptional views and the chance to enjoy Ajloun's varied vegetation. You can visit the ruins of Jordan's oldest church at Mar Elias on The Prophet's Trail, and if you are truly brave, continue on to Ajloun Castle on the optional Castle Trail extension.

Main Road Established Reserve Ajloun Forest Reserve

Mafraq Ajloun

Dibeen Forest Reserve

Jerash

Balqa Zarqa

Amman

How to Get There From Amman, the trip to Ajloun is 85 km and takes about an hour and 15 minutes. Go to Jerash, taking the ring road (Jordan Street) out of Amman. Once you reach Jerash, follow the signs to Ajloun. Enter Ajloun City and at the Ajloun circle, go straight toward Eshtafena. 5 km from the Ajloun circle you will find the Eshtafena junction. At the junction, turn left towards Ajloun Forest Reserve. Follow the signs to the site.


Hiking Tips Hit trails early for the best chance of seeing wildlife and to avoid being exposed to the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Weather Ajloun has a mild, Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and cool, damp winters. The hottest period is between June and September, when average temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius, while rain and snow are common from December to February.

What to Bring Warm clothes, cap, sun screen, comfortable shoes & clothes, drinking water, snacks, backpack, flashlight, extra clothes, binoculars, ID, wildlife guides, first aid kit The reserve is not responsible for the loss of any belongings, so you may want to avoid wearing any jewelry or expensive watches.

Stay on trails to avoid injury. To get through a heavy day’s hike, rest at regular intervals and enjoy the views. Don’t overdo it!

Wildlife Ajloun Forest Reserve holds the presence of several faunal species, which is restricted in its distribution to the forested habitats of Jordan such as the Roe Deer, Stone Marten, and the Persian Squirrel. Moreover, other species were recorded in the reserve including the Wolf, Asiatic Jackal, Hyaena, Red Fox and the Indian Crested Porcupine. As well, the reserve is characterized by extraordinary floral contents where several common trees species are present such as Evergreen Oak, Pine, Carob, Wild Pistachio and Oriental Strawberry Tree. Other annual plant species, including Black Iris, anemones, rock roses, several orchids, and wild tulips were recorded in the reserve.


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The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and Wild Jordan Created in 1966 under the patronage of His Majesty the late King Hussein, The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is a non-governmental organization devoted to the conservation of Jordan's natural environment. Wild Jordan is the socio-economic development and eco-tourism division of RSCN that is dedicated to developing viable naturebased businesses for those living in and around RSCN’s protected areas while generating support for nature conservation throughout Jordan.

RSCN Membership

Becoming an RSCN Member is great for both you and nature! For information, contact (+962 6) 4633 684 member@rscn.org.jo

Contact us

For booking and infomration contact the sales department at Wild Jordan Tel: (+962 6) 4633 718 email: sales@rscn.org.jo or contact Ajloun reserve directly at Telfax: (+962 2) 6475 673 (+962 7)9 9062 210

www.rscn.org.jo

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