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The Desert Castles

Qaser Amra Click to view gallery
The Desert Castles, which were built mostly under the Umayyads (661-750 AD), stand as an evidence to the beginnings of Arab architectural civilization. They are located east of Amman, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Different assumptions were made about the main function of these original monuments of early Islamic art; residences, weekend cottages, caravanserais, or hunting lodges for the Omayyad rulers, they were also used as the domain of Omayyad princes in the 8th Century. One of the other possibilities of their use is that they used them to control the path from Damascus to Mecca.

The areas where they were built are for the most part flat and the castles are made of a mixture of lava, sandstone, limestone and basalt stones. The closest is al Kharranah, which is about an hour’s drive from Amman. The next one is Amra Castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the last castle in the northeast is Al Azraq castle which is located in the town of Azraq, 20 minutes away from the previous castle. Other castles are scattered throughout the country and almost all have interesting elements of architecture and mystique.
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