Eastern Desert, 22 km north of Azraq

3rd Century AD

Residents – FREE
Non-residents – FREE


North 31° 56′ 45″
East 36° 57′ 06″


Qasr Usaykhim

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.


Timeline of Qasr Usaykhim History

1st Century AD

Nabatean Period

Built by the Nabateans in the 1st century AD.
1st Century AD
3rd Century AD

Roman Period

In the 3rd century AD was converted into a Fort by Romans to keep a watch on Qasr Azraq and surrounding areas.
3rd Century AD
21st Century AD

Present Time

Today Qasr Usaykhim can be visited as part of the Desert Castles tour and offers a spectacular desert view from the top of the hill.
21st Century AD

Nearby Attractions

Qasr Azraq is often included on day trips from Amman to the Desert Castles, along with Qasr Kharana and …
Stretching east from Amman is a desert region bewildering in its size and ruthless climate …
In 1978, RSCN established Azraq Wetland Reserve to conserve the uniquely precious oasis located …
Shaumari Wildlife Reserve was established in 1975 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature …
Located on a low basalt bridge overlooking Wadi Uweinid, at the Middle Badia, 15 km southwest …

Roman Forts

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