Just east of Amman, the historic site of Quseir Amra was built as a royal desert oasis.
Quseir Amra is the best-known of the desert castles located in present-day eastern Jordan.
It was built early in the 8th century, sometime between 723 and 743, by Walid Ibn Yazid, the future Umayyad caliph
Walid II, whose dominance of the region was rising at the time.
It is consider one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture.
The discovery of an inscription during work in 2012 has allowed for more accurate dating of the structure.
The building is actually the remnant of a larger complex that included an actual castle, of which only the foundation remains.
What stands today is a small country cabin, mean as a royal retreat, without any military function.
It is most notable for the frescoes that remain on the ceilings inside, which depict hunting and, above one bath chamber, an accurate representation of the zodiac.
These have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
one of four in the country,
and its location along Jordan’s major east-west highway,
relatively close to Amman, have made it a frequent tourist destination.
The small domes and triple arches of Quseir Amra stand out as the sole ornamentation in the stark and rocky desert east of Amman.
Though the isolated location appears desolate and severe,
Amra is just one of the many desert castles that dot the long caravan route from Damascus,
the ancient capital of the Umayyad caliphate, and Mecca, the holy city of Islam.
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