Architect Zaid Masannat designed this project while working with the USAID/Jordan Tourism Project for the Petra Development Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA). The design covered developing a master plan for this most important touristic site in Jordan, doing the schematic and architectural design for the visitor centre complex with surrounding areas, interior design of the building, including a state of the art interpretation centre with a museum-like display as well as graphic and branding design for the interpretive panels.
The Petra Visitor Center Upgrade project was designed to provide better orientation services to visitors. The old Visitor Center did not offer any interpretive displays and internal spaces were wasted as retail shops. The concept revolved around keeping the existing building and giving it a face lift by literally building a wall around the perimeter of the existing structure to give it more stature and grandeur.
The Petra Visitor Center houses a unique exhibition hall that brings the Nabataean culture to life. The display themes were carefully selected to give visitors a bird’s eye view of the vastness and richness of this culture. Themes covered include: art and culture, history, trade, religious life, water systems, kingdoms and dynasties, rediscovery and much more. The Visitor Center also has a movie room and interactive displays, which will further enlighten the visitor on the stories behind the monuments. Additionally, it functions as a first point of contact and orientation to the visitors of Petra with fully-fledged information and ticketing functions.
The building itself underwent a major transformation to become a world-class visitor center with much needed shaded public areas, a fountain, a plaza and a shopping arcade. The Arrival plaza has become the primary hub for visitors in Petra, second perhaps only to the treasury.