Desert Castles

Forts and Desert Castles in Jordan

There are several forts and desert castles in Jordan, and many were built during the Umayyad dynasty (661-750 AD). These castles are examples of early Islamic art and architecture with its distinct features. This includes the styles and structures applied; the mosaic flooring, fresco paintings in the forts and castles; the carvings on the stones and walls, and the irrigation and cooling systems implemented in their construction.

Al-Mushatta Palace

Al-Mushatta Palace is an Umayyad desert castle located 32 kilometres southeast of Amman. The palace was built by the Caliph Al-Walid bin Yazid in 744 AD.

Qala'at Al-Rabad (Ajloun Castle)

Ajloun Castle is a fortress built during the reign of Salahuddin Al Ayyubi (Saladin) in the 12th century. It sits 1,250 meters above sea level on Auf mountain in the governorate of Ajloun, 68 kilometres north of Amman.

Qasr Tuba

Qasr Tuba is 140 kilometres southeast of Amman. It is an Umayyad castle built in 743 AD during the reign of Caliph Walid ibn Yazid.​

Qasr Al-Harrana

Qasr Al-Harrana or Al-Kharrana is an Umayyad fortress in Al-Harrana valley 55 kilometres east of Amman.  It was built before the early 8th century during the reign of Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd Al-Malik.  

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra is a small desert castle located 85 kilometres east of Amman. It was built in the early 8th century during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Yazid bin Abd Al-Malik. It was a fortress and a residence of the Umayyad caliphs. It consists of a reception and audience hall and a hammam building (bath building). This castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture. The castle’s walls and domed ceilings are covered with fresco murals, and there are also remnants of mosaics on its floors. 

Qasr Burqu'

Qasr Burqu’ is a desert castle in the governorate of Mafraq. It was built by the Romans to maintain control of the source of freshwater and was later reconstructed and enlarged by the Umayyads in around 700 AD.

Qasr Al-Hallabat

Qasr Al-Hallabat is an Umayyad castle in the eastern desert, 60 kilometres northeast of Amman. The castle was originally a small Roman fortress, then by the orders of Umayyad Caliph Hisham ibn Abd Al-Malik, the fort was demolished and rebuilt into one of the largest Umayyad desert complexes.

Qasr Hammam Al-Sar’h

Qasr Hammam Al-Sar’h, also known as the Eastern Hallabat Palace, is in the governorate of Zarqa, north of Amman. This castle was an Umayyad bathhouse constructed by the Caliph Hisham ibn Abd Al-Malik in the early 8th century.