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Travel topics > Cultural attractions > Historical travel > Desert Castles

Desert Castles

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The Desert Castles of Jordan are in the kingdom's Eastern Desert.

Understand[edit]

The Desert Castles are a series of buildings (not all castles) built by the Umayyads in the desert, east of Amman. They provide a fascinating glimpse of how the Umayyads controlled the unforgiving desert.

Get in[edit]

It is hard to see much of them by public transport.

Get around[edit]

The main castles can be seen in a loop, with some near 1 Zarqa on the main road east of Amman, some near 2 Azraq, and some on the southern road from Azraq to near Amman airport.

See[edit]

  • 1 Qasr Al-Hallabat (the first castle on a clockwise loop, east of Zarqa and just west of Hallabat). A large castle that went through multiple phases of building, showing black rock additions to the original work, plus some large mosaics.
  • 2 Hammam as-Sarah (a few kilometres east of Qasr Al-Hallabat). The baths used by the rulers of Hallabat castle, now undergoing some archaeological work. The gate will be closed but unlocked. Free.
  • 3 Qasr Ussaykhim (Qasr Assekhin), head east from Azraq - there will be a signposted turnoff, but the sealed road ends 1km before the castle. A ruined castle built from the black desert rock, a few arches standing out against the pile of rubble. This is an amazing peaceful place to look out over the rocky desert. Free.
  • 4 Qasr Al-Azraq (Azraq Castle) (5km north of the Azraq t-junction, right next to the road). A large ruined castle in the northern suburbs of Azraq. Good for exploring.
  • 5 Qasr Amra (right by highway 40). Bath complex with spectacular frescos.
  • 6 Qasr Kharana (right by highway 40). A large rectangular building that was likely a meeting place. It stands out against the desert and, unfortunately, the highway and power lines. The courtyard may be cool enough for a quick picnic.
Qasr Kharana
Qasr Amra fresco

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

Eat & Drink[edit]

Larger towns like Zarqa, Hallabat and Azraq will have restaurants but you might want to take your own food and have a picnic.

Sleep[edit]

Azraq may be the best place to stay overnight.

Go next[edit]

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