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.
It is hard to see much of them by public transport.
- 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.
Eat & Drink
Larger towns like Zarqa, Hallabat and Azraq will have restaurants but you might want to take your own food and have a picnic.
Azraq may be the best place to stay overnight.