Monday, April 28, 2008

Jordan Desert Castles - Qasr Amra

Our next stop on the "Desert Castle Tour" is the site of Qasr Amra. Built early in the 8th century AD, this "castle" (as you can really isn't a castle at all) is in a relatively poor state of preservation - but enough survives to give you a sense of what its function was.

Built by the Umayyad Caliph Walid I - Qasr Amra was apparently used as a "pleasure palace" - or as a hunting lodge. Basically an early Islamic "man-cave". For those of you who don't know what a "man-cave" is - here is a link to a modern day example. Here is MY "man-cave" that I will be missing while I am away.

The complex at Qasr Amra had a bath complex alongside a large central triple-domed room. It is this central room that is the most interesting because it is covered in frescos depicting hunting scenes and even naked women! The sad part about Qasr Amra is the significant damage that has been done to the frescos over the years - particularly grafitti defacing many of the human and animal figures depicted.

Qasr Amra was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1985 which has proven vital to the conservation and preservation efforts of this beautiful building complex. I am sure I will get a chance to revisit this site at some point this summer.

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