Exploring Tourism in Jordan
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Places to Visit Details

Qasr Kharaneh/dessert Castles

Azraq, Jordan

This imposing structure is situated about 65 km east of Amman and 18 km west of Qusayr Amra. Kharaneh is one of the best-preserved Umayyad monuments in the Jordanian steppe. It consists of 61 rooms arranged into 2 levels surrounded by a porticoes central courtyard. These rooms are grouped as self-contained units (bayts), each consisting of a central hall flanked on 2 sides by a pair of rooms opening onto the central hall.

A 3-quarter round buttress supports each of the 4 corners, and 2 quarter-round towers line the entrance in the middle of the south side, whereas half-round buttresses occupy the middle of the 3 remaining sides.


The exterior walls are pierced by narrow openings for lighting and ventilation, not arrow slits as sometimes described. On either side of the passageway that leads to the central court, is a long room, which served as a stable and storeroom. Originally, a small water tank stood in the middle of the courtyard to collect rainwater from the rooftops. Additional water was obtained from seep-holes dug in the adjacent valley-bed.

The construction and architectural technique betray Sassanian influences, such as the use of squinches and shallow vaults resting on transverse arches, in addition to carved stucco decorations.

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