about 60 kilometers (37 mi) east of Amman and relatively close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Jordan Tour
It is believed to have been built sometime before the early 8th century AD Jordan Tour
It remains very well preserved, whatever its original use.
Since it is located just off a major highway and is within a short drive of Amman,
it has become one of the most visited of the desert castles.
Archaeologist Stephen Urice wrote his doctoral dissertation, later published as a book,
on Kharana Palace, based on his work restoring the building in the late 1970s.
Kharaneh Palace remains an enigma to archaeologists and historians.
Some experts believe that it was a defensive fort, while others maintain it was a caravanserai for passing camel trains.
Building of Kharana Palace
The castle is just south of Highway 40, an important desert road that links Amman with Azraq,
the Saudi Arabian border and remote areas of Eastern Jordan and Iraq.
The building itself is a square 35 meters (115 ft) on each side,
with small projecting corner towers and a projecting rounded entrance on the south side.
It is made of rough Limestone blocks set in a mud-based mortar. Decorative courses of flat stones run through the facing.
On the inside, the building has 60 rooms on two levels arranged around a central courtyard,
with a rainwater pool in the middle. Many of the rooms have small slits for light and ventilation.
Some of the rooms are decorated with pilasters, medallions and blind niches finished in plaster.
A graffito in one of the upstairs rooms has allowed the building to be dated to c. 710.
History of Kharana Palace
The castle was built in the early Umayyad period by the Umayyad caliph Walid l
whose dominance of the region was rising at the time.
Qasr Kharana is an important example of early Islamic art and architecture.
The scholarship has suggested that Qasr Kharana might have served a variety of defensive,
agricultural and/or commercial agendas similar to other Umayyad palaces in greater Syria.
It suffered damage from several earthquakes.
Alois Musil rediscovered it in 1901, and in the late 1970s it was restored During the restoration some changes were made.
A door in the east wall was closed, and some cement and plaster were used that was inconsistent with the existing material.
Stephen Urice wrote his doctoral dissertation on the castle, published as a book, Qasr Kharana in the Transjordan, in 1987 following the restoration.