A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.


I’ve always been seriously amused by abandoned spaces. There’s a certain charm to them, the charm of a place that was once a person’s warm, loving home. The charm of walls that saw intimacy that outsiders have never seen.

When I pass by an abandoned space, especially in the once very beautiful neighborhoods such as Jabal Amman and Weibdeh, I always stop and try to imagine what it was like when the gardens were green, and a family sat and had coffee in the courtyard.

Yet, most of these spaces are impersonal to me. For the most part, the days of their glory came to pass before I reached maturity. My fascination with them is just that of an outsider, trying to imagine what it would have been like to be a part of that space before it was abandoned.

Then this weekend, we decided to go check out if there is anything to salvage in one of the first houses that my family ever lived in. They bought it sometime in the early-to-mid 80’s and we moved to Saudi Arabia a very, very short time afterwards, leaving the house abandoned to vandalism and insects.

During those early years, we used to spend the summers there, but then sometime in the early 90’s, we switched to spending our vacations at my grandmother’s house instead. It has been completely abandoned since then, and when we moved back to Amman 20 years later, my parents decided to buy our current home, because it is close to my grandmother.

The house has basically been forgotten for the past 15 years. The thing I found most interesting when we went there this weekend is how it’s obvious it was never really meant to be abandoned the way it was. The dishes are still stacked neatly above the kitchen sink to drain, the cupboard in the toilet is still stocked with toothpaste and shaving cream, and the toys are still haphazardly thrown around as if my brothers and I had just finished playing with them.

I remember those toys very clearly, and I remember that we used to love sitting on the stairs while we play. My mother had painted a Snow White mural on our bedroom door because I used to love Snow White. I don’t remember her painting it, but I remember being very proud of them.

It is one thing to walk into an abandoned space that you cannot relate to, and a completely different thing to skip over cobwebs and think, damn, I used to love that spot. It’s as if a moment of my childhood got stuck in time, complete with 80’s logos and 80’s fashion.

Of course, with a lot more layers of dust.


What’s that on the road?


Rainbow Bright


  1. You seem to have such a beautiful fond memory of your childhood, I am sooooo jealous. I wish I have old abandoned house of my past “untouched” to physically walk into… I’m sure it feels surreal.

    Great pictures! Feels very haunting…

  2. Stephen

    Wow that must have felt very surreal! I take it your family still owns the house?

  3. Heba

    The pictures are a bit sad, I do not know why exactly, but looking at things laying in such a lively order, as if the people who used them were planing on using them the next day is a bit surreal. It looks like an abrupt pause. As if they were forced to leave. I do not know how it must have felt to you.

  4. Roba, great post
    I know i might sound ahbal, bass that old 7 up bottle – can you PLEASE get me the label of it? looks good and vintage! would love to have it :D

  5. Bardees

    I totally agree with the previous comments, I enjoyed reading your sweet heart-touching post but it made me feel a little bit sad,and even more sad when I saw the photos :(

  6. this is sad!

  7. khalid jarrar

    i dont think its sad, i think its remarkable, its brilliant, you have achieved what was beleived to be impossable: you went back in time, litteraly, if i had the “post of the month award” in my blog it would have definately been this post. i wish you posted more and more pictures.

    and yes, of course i noticed the 7 up bottle, very strange! and i wish i could have these newspapers to read them and know what people used to talk about back then:) does it talk about the iraq war? does it mention the financial problems of jordan at that period of time? i read somethign about signs of life on marreekh in one of the newspapers in the photo! i am very curious!

    thank you for the post:)

  8. KeKo

    This is simultaneously fascinating, disturbing and heart wrenching! And mostly confusing! I can’t quite get me head around how a home can get left with everything (LIFE) in it for 15- 20 years, its seems only plausible following a tragedy that tears one away from their routes. Yet here it seems nothing more than life, time and progress, for once! Confused!
    PS, loved the way you described things and the Pics too

  9. Brian H

    What city is that house in?

  10. Tab clean it out and rent it mafroosheh :) . The ajaneb would love it. I guess depends on location.

  11. tab why didn’t you sell it?

  12. tab why didn’t you donate the furniture?

  13. I am like that as well. Since I was a kid I loved wondering old and not so old places that had been abandoned for one reason or another. I still love it, although the places here in the DC area tend to not be as old.

    I remember going back to the house where I spent most of my childhood when my father was dying when I had been abroad for years. It was almost like being a voyuer into my own life.

    When my wife’s family moved I helped go through her late father’s items. It is strange looking at the stuff a man put together in his life time and trying to come up with some sort of an idea how what he was like based on them.

    Great post.

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