One of my favourite places to visit in Eastern Jordan, Qasr Usaykhim seats on the top of the hill just 22 km north of Azraq on Azraq to Safawi road towards the Iraq Highway. A four-wheel drive is recommended (but not necessary) to reach this superbly located fort. It is worth the scramble up the steep slope for the wonderful views, but it cannot have been the nicest place to be stationed – out on the frontier and with no assured water supply.
Built of basalt with rooms around a square courtyard, the entrance is on the east side where the gatehouse and an arch still standing. Internal arches supported the ceiling of the rooms and still stand in the east, south and west centre rooms.
There is no evidence of the second storey of rooms and no inscriptions have been found here, but there are signs of earlier occupation of the site in the form of flints, a boulder wall and kites (pens used in-game hunting) nearby.
Water provision was a difficulty: it seems to have been collected and stored in a hollow on the north side which was blocked by a dam wall. Doubtless, this disadvantage was compensated for by the commanding position and before the Romans Usaykhim may have been occupied by the Nabateans. The fort’s importance was never great, but it would allow a watch to be kept on Qasr Azraq and surrounding areas. If you are set to visit Qasr Kharana, Qasr Amra and Qasr Azraq, drive just a bit further and you won’t be disappointed. The views of the desert are amazing and you feel like you are alone on top of the world.