The journey to the desert castles of the Umayyad begins south of the Jordanian capital of Amman close to the Queen Alia Airport.
The winter residence of Qasr Mushatta is no more. In spite of its poor condition, this desert castle is exceptional among the former residences of the Umayyad monarchy, as according to the wishes of Al-Walid The Second the Qasr Mushatta, was meant to outshine all other palaces in respect of both size and splendor.
On the southern Azraq Amman Road is the impressive Qasr al-Kharana, the most well-preserved desert castle in Jordan. Some of its architectural features, such as the Mesopotamian walls and decorative elements of the upper section, indicate Persian influence.
Azraq is located a hundred kilometres east of Amman on the edge of a sandy desert. Even today, the Qasr Azraq Castle impresses with its dark basalt stone. It is more like a fortress than a noble residence and is believed to date back to Roman times and Emperor Septimius Severus.
Entrance to the Qasr al Hallabat Mosque was highly restricted and only the caliph and members of his court were allowed to enter. Nevertheless, the Umayyad monarchs were not as religious as they made out. In fact the opposite was true, as their desert castles often featured wild festivities!
Any journey to the ancient and mysterious Ummayad kingdom with its fairy-tale castles and ancient bathing houses is an unforgettable and atmospheric adventure.