Landmarks in Jordan
Qasr Amra in Jordan
The Qasr Amra is one of the best preserved desert castles in Jordan and is located around 70 km east of Amman. Since it is a relatively small palace, it is also referred to in Arabic as Qusair Amra, meaning small fortress. However, the building from the early 8th century was not a defense castle, but rather a pleasure and hunting palace. In 2012, during renovations, the name of Walid II was discovered without his actual title Khalif. Scientists therefore assume that this Qasr Amra was built during his time as Prince of Umayyad.
According to topschoolsintheusa, the palace was discovered by the orientalist Alois Musil at the end of the 19th century. It stands on what was originally an area of 25 hectares and has two floors. Interesting are the throne or audience hall and the Roman bath with the artistic mosaic floors, which consists of several rooms and is reminiscent of a modern wellness oasis. Since the individual rooms are quite small, the Qasr Amra was probably not permanently occupied, but served as accommodation for short recreational stays, for example during falconry.
The desert castle Qasr Amra is mainly known for its spectacular wall paintings. These are frescoes that show everyday images and actions and were painted in bright colors around 1300 years ago. The representations of acrobats, craftsmen and animals as well as erotic scenes are distributed over all rooms and are a valuable example of early Islamic art. The paintings have no religious character and were created before the prohibition of true-to-life depiction. Due to these paintings, which are unfortunately not in good condition due to vandalism and improper handling, Qasr Amira was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. Particularly noteworthy is the dome of the hammam, which shows a night sky with 35 different constellations.
The Qasr Amra is visited on most study trips through Jordan and is definitely worth a visit.
From the Romans to TE Lawrence
The desert castle Qasr Al-Azraq in Jordan impresses with its long history and ancient charm. It stands in the middle of the strategically important oasis city of Al-Azraq and formed an important stage in the trade routes to and from Persia. No wonder that the castle changed occupiers several times in history and is now a popular sight for study trips from all over the world.
Travel to Qasr al-Azraq
The remote desert town of Al-Azraq is not only one of the rare oases in East Jordan, but also a place where you can find accommodation, supermarkets, restaurants and petrol stations relatively easily. It is a good idea to stay a few days and visit the area, but especially the Qasr al-Azraq Castle. The path usually leads from Amman or Zarqa, around 80km away, into the lower, dry desert region, whereby the change in landscape and climatic zones is already impressive and arouses a touch of oriental romance. In the flat valley around the oasis, basalt stone, flint, limestone and sand from the Arabian Peninsula come together to create unique colors.
Meaning and history of Qasr al-Azraq
Qasr al-Azraq literally means “the blue castle”, but this translation would be misleading. Its walls are made of black basalt and show no trace of blue. The name comes from the oasis al-Azraq, the only permanent water source within a radius of 12,000m², because the caravan traders, according to the legend, delighted their eyes numb from the desert after a long journey to the blue water and therefore gave the oasis its name. Originally the biblical people of the Nabataeans inhabited the area, which fell to the Romans around 300 AD. They recognized the strategic importance and built the castle. This was followed by conquests and extensions by the Byzantines, Umayyads and Mamelukes, until the Ottoman Empire stationed a garrison there from the 17th century.
Fascinating gorge in the mountains of Jordan
Wadi Mujib is an enchanting canyon that rises above the Mujib River and stretches for 70 kilometers. There are plenty of excursions that allow visitors to hike through the water, under the towering gorges, and all the way to the Dead Sea itself. Portions of Wadi Mujib also include the Mujib Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a number of rare wildlife species. Rare cats and goats, migratory birds and around 300 plant species live in the Mujiib Reserve in a dry, rocky desert.
Grand Canyon of Jordan
Wadi Mujib stretches for 70 kilometers of valleys, cities and mountains. The canyon itself is an impressive four kilometers wide and one kilometer high. The entrance to the Mujib Biosphere Reserve is about an hour and 20 minutes from the capital, Amman. A trip to Wadi Mujib is a canyoning adventure like no other and it is arguably one of the best ways to enjoy the Dead Sea of Jordan. Those looking for a unique pit stop along the King’s Highway can take a break in the gorge to take in the breathtaking views.
The terrain of the Wadi Mujib Reserve consists of rugged mountains and fast flowing rivers. Seven tributaries meander through the valley to then flow into the Arnon. The deeply cut sandstone mountains of the Mujib reserve span a height difference of over 1,200 meters: from 900 meters above sea level to 400 meters below sea level.
Adventure playground Wadi Mujib
Mujib is a very rough, warm area and the tours here are also called “adventure hikes”, as they sometimes include swimming and longer hikes in addition to the descent over a 20 meter high waterfall. There are fascinating routes of various lengths and degrees of difficulty, but you have to be able to swim and shouldn’t be afraid of water and heights. Participants should expect to climb rocks against currents of water and jump into pools of water. For adrenaline junkies, there is the popular Canyon Trail, which gives hikers the opportunity to descend a 20 meter high waterfall.