Azraq castle

Jordan Tour

overview

Azraq Castle is a large fortress located in present-day eastern Jordan.

It is one of the desert castles, located on the outskirts of present-day Azraq, roughly 100 km (62 mi) east of Amman.

Its strategic value came from the nearby oasis, the only water source in a vast desert region.

The name of the fortress and the associated town came from these.

Azraq Castle where TE Lawrence and Sharif Hussein bin Ali based themselves in Jordan Tour

the winter of 1917–18 during the Arab Revolt against the Turks. Jordan Tour

Lawrence set up his quarters in the room above the southern entrance,

while his loyal followers braved the elements in other areas of the fort.

 Azraq castle architecture 

The Azraq castle is constructed of the local black basalt and is a square structure with 80 meter long walls encircling a large central courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard is a small mosque that may date from Umayyad times.

At each corner of the outer wall, there is an oblong tower.

The main entrance is composed of a single massive hinged slab of granite, which leads to a vestibule where one can see carved into the pavement the remains of a Roman board game , Greek and Latin inscriptions date earlier constructions on the site to around AD 300, coinciding with the Roman occupation.

History

The strategic significance of the castle is that it lies in the middle of the Azraq oasis,

the only permanent source of fresh water in approximately 12,000 square kilometers (4,600 sq mi) of the desert.

Several civilizations are known to have occupied the site for its strategic value in this remote and arid desert area.

The fort was renovated by the Umayyad caliph Walid II,

who used it for hunting and as a military base. Its present form dates to 1237 when it was fortified by the Ayyubids

as a defense against the Crusaders.

The Turks subsequently stationed a garrison here in the 16th century.

In a turn of the tide in 1918, it was from this building that the Arab Revolt launched an attack

on Damascus that proved successful in ousting the Turks from the region.

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