Sites Of Jordan

Desert Castles
Desert Castles
Desert Castles

Desert Castles

Soft sand, Sun flare, clear sky, places exist in the present and tells a history. Scattered throughout the desert, east of Amman, the desert castles stand as evidence to the flourishing beginnings of Islamic-Arab civilization. These seemingly isolated pavilions, caravan stations, secluded baths, and hunting lodges, were at one time integrated agricultural or trading complexes, built mostly under the Umayyads (AD 661-750), when Muslim Arabs had succeeded in transforming the fringes of the desert into well-watered settlements. Aside from being widely considered as the most amazing and original monuments of early Islamic art, these complexes also served practical purposes: mainly as residences, caravans and baths.
Major Desert castles are:

Qasr Al Kharana

This impressing structure is situated about 65 km (40 miles) east of Amman. Kharana is one of the best-preserved Umayyad monuments in the Jordanian dessert, it consists of 61 rooms arranged into two levels surrounded by a central courtyard. These rooms are grouped as self-contained units each consisting of a central hall flanked on two sides by a pair of rooms opening into the central hall. The construction and architectural technique betray Sassanian influences, such as the use of squinches and Shallow vaults resting on transverse arches, in addition to carved stucco decorations.

Qusayr Amra

Situated 85 km (53 miles) to the east of Amman is also named the little palace, noted for its extensive fresco paintings which cover virtually all the interior surfaces. The paintings include themes such as hunting, dancing, and musicians, bathing scenes, cupids and personifications of history, philosophy and poetry. These unique paintings prompted UNESCO to include Qusayr Amra in its world Heritage list.

Qasr Al Azraq

The site was of a crucial importance because of its location near the northern tip of Wadi al-Sirhan, the natural migration route between southern Syria and the interior of Arabian Peninsula. It was originally built as a Roman fortress and restored by the Caliphs in 1237 as a Mosque. The main door is one solid slab of stone, and the west tower also has one of these massive portals

Qasr Al Hallabat

It is a Roman Castle in the origin which was rebuilt during the Umayyad period when it was elaborately decorated in Mosaics, fresco painting aand carved stucco, thus transforming the castle into a palatial residence. The Umayyad rebuilding program was accompanied by a remarkable development of the site by adding a new mosque, the agricultural enclosure with an elaborate irrigation system and the bath system.

Qasr Al Mushatta

This extraordinary complex, which rises from the desert not far from the airport of Amman, might have been one of the most interesting of the castles of the Umayyad times due to the extraordinary refinement of its decorations, carved in bas-relief in a porous rosy-hued limestone. Unfortunately, almost the entire frieze that decorated the façade has been removed and is now on exhibit in the Islamic Museum in Berlin. Nevertheless, the few decorative elements still in site succeed in giving us an idea of the high quality of work which is a fusion of the finest Greco-Roman traditions with elements of Persian derivation. Building begun by Caliph Al Walid II in 743 but was interrupted at his death and remained incomplete. What remains today includes stretches of the fortified enclosure, a square of 148 meters per side, the vestiges of an elaborate entrance vestibule and the throne room behind it.

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