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Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra (Arabic: قصر عمرة‎), often Quseir Amra or Qusayr Amra, is in the Eastern Desert region and is the best-known of the desert castles. It was built early in the 8th century (probably between 711 and 715) by the Umayyad caliph Walid I whose dominance of the region was rising at the time. It is considered one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture.

The building is actually the remnant of a larger complex that included an actual castle, of which only the foundation remains. What stands today is a small country cabin, meant as a royal retreat, without any military function. It is most notable for the frescoes that remain on the ceilings inside, which depict hunting, naked women and, above one bath chamber, an accurate representation of the zodiac. These have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of four in the country. That status, and its location along Jordan's major east-west highway, relatively close to Amman, have made it a frequent tourist destination.


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