Facts and Data
Official Unesco Page
Unesco World heritage since: 1985
Size of heritage:
Built in the early 8th century, this exceptionally well-preserved desert castle was both a fortress with a garrison and a residence of the Umayyad caliphs. The most outstanding features of this small pleasure palace are the reception hall and the hammam, both richly decorated with figurative murals that reflect the secular art of the time.
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Quseir Amra: A Glimpse into Jordan's Rich History
Located in the Eastern desert of Jordan, in the Az Zarqa' Governorate, lies the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quseir Amra. This remarkable desert castle offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's rich history, showcasing the architectural and artistic achievements of the early Islamic period.
Quseir Amra was built during the early 8th century by the Umayyad caliphs, who ruled over a vast Islamic empire stretching from Spain to Central Asia. The castle served as a retreat for the caliphs and their entourage, providing respite from the political and administrative affairs of the capital.
The site's historical significance lies in its unique frescoes and inscriptions, which offer valuable insights into the cultural and social life of the Umayyad dynasty. These vibrant paintings depict scenes of hunting, bathing, and music, as well as portraits of rulers and their courtiers. The inscriptions, written in Arabic and Greek, provide further details about the castle's purpose and the people who inhabited it.
Despite its age and exposure to the harsh desert environment, Quseir Amra has remarkably survived the test of time. The castle underwent extensive restoration efforts in the 20th century, ensuring its preservation for future generations to appreciate.
Today, visitors can explore the castle's various rooms and courtyards, each offering a unique glimpse into the past. The central hall, adorned with its iconic dome, is particularly impressive. Its ceiling is adorned with intricate frescoes depicting celestial scenes, zodiac signs, and mythological figures.
While the castle's exterior may appear modest, its interior reveals a stunning display of art and architecture. The hammam, or bathhouse, is a testament to the Umayyad's sophisticated engineering skills. It features a domed ceiling with small openings that allowed sunlight to filter through, creating a mesmerizing play of light and shadow.
Quseir Amra's location in the Eastern desert adds to its allure. Surrounded by vast stretches of arid landscape, the castle stands as a testament to human ingenuity and resilience in the face of challenging conditions.
Recognizing the historical and cultural significance of Quseir Amra, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage site in 1985. This designation has helped raise awareness about the site's importance and has led to increased efforts to protect and preserve it.
Conservation measures have been implemented to safeguard the fragile frescoes and prevent further deterioration. Climate control systems, regular monitoring, and limited visitor access are some of the strategies employed to ensure the long-term preservation of this invaluable heritage site.
Quseir Amra stands as a testament to Jordan's rich history and cultural heritage. Its unique frescoes and architectural features provide a window into the past, allowing visitors to appreciate the artistic achievements of the Umayyad dynasty. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Quseir Amra continues to captivate and inspire visitors from around the world, ensuring that its legacy endures for generations to come.
Large airport - 35 mi (57 km) Amman-Marka International Airport
Medium airport - 37 mi (60 km) King Hussein Air College
Small airport - 43 mi (69 km) Guriat Domestic Airport
Medium airport - 49 mi (79 km) Bar Yehuda Airfield
Medium airport - 78 mi (126 km) Ben Ya'akov Airport
Medium airport - 101 mi (163 km) Ben Gurion International Airport
Large airport - 101 mi (163 km) Damascus International Airport
Large airport - 111 mi (180 km) Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport
Large airport - 153 mi (247 km) Ovda International Airport
Large airport - 162 mi (261 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Al Ghariyah
- Al Hashimiyah
- Al Jizah
- Al Jubayhah
- Al Juwayyidah
- Al Khalidiyah
- Al Khalidiyah
- Al Mafraq
- Al Muwaqqar
- Al `Abdalli
- Ar Rusayfah
- Az Zulayl
- Busra ash Sham
- Dayr al Kahf
- Muthallath Jami`at Al al Bayt
- Muthallath Sabha
- Muthallath al Azraq
- Rujm ash Shami al Gharbi
- Umm al Basatin
- Umm al Jimal
- Umm al Qittayn
- Umm ar Rasas
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Al Aratayn
- Al Ashrafiyah
- Al Azraq ash Shamali
- Al Bishriyah
- Al Falij
- Al Khalidiyah ash Sharqiyah
- Al Khan
- Al Khirbah as Samra'
- Al Mabrukah
- Al Manarah
- Al Mashrafah
- Al Mujaddil
- As Sa`adah
- Bani Hashim
- Dahiyat al Husayn
- Iskan al Qa`idah
- Manshiyat az Za`tari
- Musattarat al Falij
- Qasr al Hallabat
- Rahbat Rakkad
- Rawdat al Amir Hamzah
- Uraynabat an Na`imat