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Desert Castles

Desert Castles

Jordan’s desert castles, beautiful examples of both early Islamic art and architecture, stand testament to a fascinating era in the country’s rich history. Called castles because of their imposing stature, the desert complexes actually served various purposes as caravan stations, agriculture and trade centers, resort pavilions and outposts that helped distant rulers forge ties with local Bedouins

Qasr Amra, one of the best preserved monuments, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with lively frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colorful mosaics.

Qasr Al-Mushatta includes an entrance hall, mosque, an audience hall, and residential quarters. A product of the late Umayyad period, it is speculated by several scholars that the Umayyad caliph al-Walid II built Mshatta during his brief reign (743-44) in an effort to commemorate his authority.

Qasr A-Kharana is one of the best-known of the desert castles. It is believed to have been built sometime before the early 8th century AD, based on a graffito in one of its upper rooms, despite visible Sassanid influences.

Qasr Al-Hallabat this castle was rebuilt during the Umayyad period when it was elaborately decorated in mosaics, carved stucco, and fresco paintings, thus transforming the castle into a palatial residence. There are about 150 inscriptions within the castle, mostly in Greek.

The black basalt fort at Azraq, in continuous use since Late Roman times, was the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt.