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Qusayr' Amra (Jordan)


Qusayr' Amra Castle (Jordan)

Qusayr' Amra Castle (Jordan)

Beth Knittle
Definition: Qusayr Amra is an Islamic castle in Jordan, about fifty miles east of Amman. It was said to have been built by the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid between 712-715 AD, for use as a vacation residence or rest stop. The desert castle is equipped with baths, has a Roman style villa and is adjacent to a small arable plot of land. Qusayr Amra is best known for its amazing mosaics and murals which decorate the central hall and connected rooms.

Most of the buildings are still standing and can be visited. Recent excavations by the Spanish Archaeological Mission discovered the foundations of a smaller courtyard castle.

Pigments identified in a study to preserve the the frescoes include a wide rance of green earth, yellow and red ochre, realgar, bone black, and lapis lazuli.


Bianchin, Sara, Umberto Casellato, Monica Favaro, and Pietro A. Vigato 2007 Painting technique and state of conservation of wall paintings at Qusayr Amra Amman – Jordan. Journal of Cultural Heritage 8(3):289-293.

Meloy, John L. 1996. Islamic Civilization. pp. 355-357 in Brian Fagan (ed). 1996. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Alternate Spellings: Qusayr Amra, Castle Amra

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