Jordan’s Umayyad desert castles are beautiful examples of early Islamic art and architecture and stand testament to a fascinating era in the country’s rich history. Take a half-day tour and delve deep into the history of Jordan under the expertise of a professional guide.
The structures are called “castles” because of their imposing stature. The desert complexes once served various purposes as caravan stations, agriculture and trade centers, resort pavilions, and outposts that helped distant rulers forge ties with local Bedouins.
Inside the castles, early Islamic art can be found. The fine mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carvings are inspired by the best in Persian and Graeco-Roman traditions and reveal to us countless stories of the life as it was during the 8th Century.
Alongside the castles you will also visit the black basalt fort at Azraq, which had been in continuous use since late Roman times, and was the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt.
You will meet our driver at the hotel lobby between 8 a.m. – 10 a.m (your exact timing will be provided by the support team, one day before the tour) after the entail greetings, you start your journey toward the desert castles.
Now we head southeast towards the historical desert castles. These beautiful testaments on the greatness of the Islamic architecture were built or taken by the Ummayad Caliphs in the 7th and 8th century. The first fort to encounter is “Kasr El-Kharrana”, which was built for the Caliph Al-Walid 1st but the purpose from it remains a mystery, as the fortified ground floor seems to be a roadside inn but the upper floors are very sumptuous and elegant.
Our next stop is Quseir Amra (which means Amra’s small palace), and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. It consists of three long halls with colorful frescoes and amazing beautiful chambers. After that, we go to Azraq Oasis and Azraq fort where we find the only water in all the eastern desert, and the black basalt rocks that form a strategic position that dates back to the 13th century CE. During the Arab revolt against the Ottoman’s empire, Lawrence of Arabia made the fort his headquarters and stationed there.
after almost a half day exploring desert castles, time to return back to Amman, the drive once again will be around 1.5hrs.