Desert Castles


qasr arzaq lawrence of arabia jordanqasr amra exterior desert castle jordanUm el JimalQasr Kharana, desert castle

In the North and North-eastern deserts around Amman, Mafraq and Madaba are many castles from various periods in history. Some were important military settlements, others bathhouses and hunting lodges.

azraq in spring


Azraq is famous for being the headquarters of T.E Lawrence before his assault on Damascus during the Arab Revolt. Lawrence’s room is supposedly the window above the main gate.


Qasr Amra a UNESCO world heritage site was thought to be a hunting lodge and bath house. It has a 40m deep well to ensure a steady supple of water and has great examples of mosaics and frescoes. The domed ceiling is one of the earliest representations of the sky at night showing the signs of the zodiac and various constellations.


Qasr Kharana has Syrian and Iraqi influences, the decorative stone work of friezes and domed ceilings can still be seen on the second floor. There is evidence to suggest that this castle was never completed.

umm el jimalQasar_umm el jimal

Um el Maj (Umm El Jimal) was a major commercial and military settlement in Nabataen times. In Byzantine periods it was a Christian centre and a church was added inside. The castle was destroyed in the 8th Century by a major earthquake.

 Where to Stay?

These castles are in the Mafraq area north and east of Amman, it is best to stay in Amman or Azraq lodge and visit these sites on a day trip by car.

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