Qasr Amra - History and Facts | History Hit

Qasr Amra

Zarqa, Zarqa, Jordan

Qasr Amra is a UNESCO-listed eighth century desert castle in Jordan.

Image Credit: Radek Sturgolewski / Shutterstock

About Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra (Qusair Fortress) is an eighth century desert castle in the Jordanian desert. Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, the square-shaped Qasr Amra is mostly gone, but its country house is extremely well preserved, with many of its walls and even ceilings intact.

History of Qasr Amra

It is not entirely clear who built the Qasr Amra. It is widely thought that it was constructed during the reign of Walid I (705-715 AD) of the Umayyad Caliphate, but some evidence points to it having been built later, perhaps between 743 and 744 AD, during the reign of Walid II.

The remains of Qasr Amra’s country house include a reception room and bath house or “hammam” adorned with murals, which have been restored. Mythology, history and philosophy all play a part in these murals, with depictions of various events and figures, both real and imaginary. These murals are some of the best of their kind, and are a rare example of early Islamic art.

With regard to Qasr Amra itself, visitors can see its foundations. Qasr Amra would have been used both as a garrisoned fortress and as a retreat for the Umayyad caliphs. The remains were rediscovered in the late 19th century, having fallen into disrepair and been largely reclaimed by the desert.

Qasr Amra today

The castle is one of the best of its kind, despite limited parts of it remaining. It’s open daily year-round: there’s a small visitor centre at the entrance, but to be honest, what you’ll want to spend your time looking at are the amazing frescoes.

Getting to Qasr Amra

The castle in the Jordanian desert, about 50 miles east of Amman via Route 40. There’s parking on site. Public transport options are virtually non-existent.

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