Written by By Caroline Mckenzie, CNN
With half the world’s refugees flowing through Jordan and the majority of them being children, the country finds itself suddenly in a state of crisis.
International aid of 600 million Canadian dollars (US$410 million) since the Syrian conflict began in 2011 has been allocated as food, shelter and health care, but in recent months, Jordan’s King Abdullah II has made headlines for privately spending more than 50 million Canadian dollars on real estate and collecting more than $1.5 million in overseas artworks.
The priciest property is on Casa Abdullah, which according to Forbes Media is worth $15 million.
King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan’s sprawling estate is said to be worth around $15 million. Credit: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In 2014, King Abdullah II acquired a villa at Amman’s Faisaliah Gardens for $1.2 million. It includes four bedrooms, four living rooms, and eight bathrooms. On his first visit to the property in 2015, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour found that there was a very loud drum roll and low hum — loud enough for a person to hear through their earphones — emanating from the villa, as it was built with a carpet of limestone from Nepal.
The king’s estate at Faisaliah Gardens boasts five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Credit: Alba Karighel/Getty Images
Another house, previously occupied by the Shah of Iran’s art collector, Zahi Hawass, is currently for sale for $13.5 million. The hand-painted frescoed main floor, featuring flowers and geometric patterns, is framed by a five-tier gold and marble entrance.
The King of Jordan’s property outside the Faisaliah Gardens is listed for $13.5 million. Credit: DABIYA RIBABIYAT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The property’s gold and marble entrance. Credit: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The King of Jordan’s home sits in Faisaliah Gardens. Credit: POOL/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
More recently, the Saudi-born monarch purchased five apartments in Grand Park in downtown Dubai, a project designed by acclaimed British-American architect Norman Foster.
Foster’s designs won a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2015, describing the site as “one of the most anticipated new-build developments in the Arab world.”
The king purchased apartments on an iconic building designed by Norman Foster. Credit: Home of Jean Sauvage/Getty Images
Another design by Foster, a chapel in Toronto, was demolished last week. Credit: Terrence Lo
The Dubai apartments were built for only $32 million and not included in the $96 million payout paid by the government of Canada in 2015 to the kingdom following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They are also inside a 17-story tower designed by former Siemens CEO Peter Löscher, who resigned in the wake of a Chinese industrial espionage scandal.
The king is making headlines for his collection of privately purchased artworks, too. Credit: CORBIS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Before the attention, this year, King Abdullah had been criticized for not abiding by a UNESCO resolution ordering the Jordanians to desegregate their refugee camps, where a third of Jordan’s population of six million is currently housed.