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Home Africa & Middle East Jordan Desert castles Qasr Azraq 360° virtual tour

Qasr Azraq 360° virtual tour

Qasr al-Azraq is a well-preserved Roman fortress about 100km east of Amman, one of the frequently visited desert castles. For most visitors, the link to TE Lawrence and the Arab Revolt is the major draw to come here.

1. What to see

Greek and Latin inscriptions date the first constructions around the site about 300AD. Compared to other desert castles, this fortress remained in use during the later centuries. First it was renovated by the Byzantines, then Umayyad caliph Walid II used it as a military base. Probably this was the time when a mosque was built in the middle of the courtyard. The fortress assumed its present form after an extensive renovation and expansion by the Damascus-based Ayyubids in 1237, using locally quarried basalt which makes the castle darker than most other buildings in the area. Later, it was used as a garrison by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century. During the Arab Revolt against the Turks, this fortress served as the headquarters of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and Sharif Hussein bin Ali during the winter of  1917-18. Office of Lawrence was in the room above the entrance gatehouse. Lawrence described his experiences regarding the revolt in his famous autobiographical account, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. At that time  Qasr al-Azraq was in a much better condition to be ruined by an earthquake in 1927.

Since this building has always been used as a fortress and not as a palace, don't expect any fine mosaics, carvings or frescoes. Probably the most interesting items are the original Roman stone doors and roof stone panels. Visitors can peek into the mosque or climb up the gatehouse for the room of Lawrence. All in all, 20 minutes should be enough to look around.

2. When to see

There are no specific opening times for this monument. It has a ticket office and a caretaker who can unlock it if visitors arrive. It was our third stop on a half-day trip from Amman to discover the desert castles and thus, we have no information if it could be open late in the afternoon.

3. Location

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