Eastern Desert, 20 km east of Amman

8th Century AD

Residents – FREE
Non-residents – FREE

NO

North 31° 48′ 45″
East 36° 06′ 12″

4/5

Qasr Al-Muwaqqar

Some 20 km from Amman en route to Qasr Kharana and Qasr Amra, the large reservoir at Al-Muwaqqar lies just south of Hwy 40 and is still in use. It probably served caravans passing through the area, as well as the local inhabitants. Not much is known about the former Umayyad complex above the hill, one of the Desert Castles, as its remains are fairly decrepit.

Today these remains are used as livestock pens by residents. Rubbish is also dumped on the site. Sandstone columns and a regularly paved floor attested to the Qasr’s former glory. Capitals have been found incorporated into modern houses across the whole modern town, some had been destroyed or stolen and are only associated based on literary and epigraphic evidence with the Caliph Yazid II.

A few remains still existed at the turn of the previous century when the site was visited by early travellers and orientalists such as Alois Musil. When the architectural historian K.A.C. Creswell visited the site during the early 1960s, much of what the early visitors had seen had been destroyed, except for a few subterranean vaulted structures that have survived until today: some low walls and some paving between the village houses.

A few capitals have been salvaged from the site and moved to several museums. One of these capitals, today in the Archaeological Museum on the Amman Citadel, is of considerable importance. This capital belongs to a column, part of which has survived, that was once used to measure the water in the reservoir. The capital bears a Kufic inscription revealing that the reservoir was built by order of the caliph Yazid II from 103/722-104/723. It was found in May 1943 in a yard belonging to a private house located within a few hundred meters of the ruins of the palace. It was broken into two pieces which fit together neatly.

Close to the palace, are even more archaic ruins of a Byzantine settlement which has been partially excavated. A double wall is evident on the surface running off diagonally from the south-western corner of the structure to the north-west. Fragments of mosaic flooring and a few decorated lintels have been unearthed.

A stone column capital, one of 18 capitals that belong to the water reservoir at the Umayyad palace at al-Muwaqqar, with an inscription that reveals that the reservoir was built by order of the Yazid II (r. AH 101–5 / AD 720–24). It was found in May 1943 in a yard belonging to a private house located within a few hundred meters of the ruins of the palace. It was broken into two pieces which fit together neatly.

Three sides of the capital are decorated with a row of acanthus leaves separated by paired volutes. One side contains a ten-line Arabic inscription that stands out in relief from a plain background. This inscription reads: ‘In the name of the most merciful God. Has ordered the building of this pool the servant of God, Yazid Commander of the Faithful, may God favour him and prolong his life and happiness and bestow upon him blessings and bounties in this world and the next. It has been built in the care of ‘Abdallah the son of Sulaym.’ Between the eighth and ninth lines of the inscription, three words are incised in smaller characters, they read: ‘Khamsat Ashara dhira’ (15 cubits). The drums of the column, upon which this capital once sat, would have been immersed in the pool; each drum with other incised words indicating the number of cubits; thus forming a water gauge. The highest measurement is on the capital itself, being 15 cubits.

SHARE

Timeline of Qasr Al-Muwaqqar History

5th Century AD

Byzantine Period

Close to the palace, are the ruins of a Byzantine settlement which has been partially excavated. Fragments of mosaic flooring and a few decorated lintels have been unearthed.
5th Century AD
8th Century AD

Umayyad Period

Not much is known about this former Umayyad complex – it probably served caravans passing through the area, as well as the local inhabitants.
8th Century AD
21st Century AD

Present Time

Today these remains are used as livestock pens by residents. Many design elements have been stolen or destroyed and some have even been incorporated into modern houses in the village.
21st Century AD

Nearby Attractions

60 kilometres East of Amman on highway 40 in an arid part of the Syrian-Jordanian desert, Qasr Kharana welcomes tourists as …
Although this rather large Umayyad settlement was once a grand city in the desert, today Mshash sadly lies in …
Qasr Al-Mushatta (Winter Palace), the largest and most ambitious of the Umayyad palaces in Jordan, sits some 30 km south of the capital Amman …

Desert Castles

Available Tours

We offer private, small group (1-3 travellers) tours to selected destinations in Jordan from Amman. At the moment, we do not have any available tours to [page_title]. If you are interested in visiting [page_title] and the area, please send us a message below for a custom quote.

Qasr Al-Muwaqqar Reviews

PHOTO Gallery