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Qusayr ‘Amra - A view from our expert author
Built in the 8th century, this is the most famous of all the Desert Castles.
With its soft, sandy-coloured limestone and basalt façade and its architectural design that makes it stand out against the blue sky and the flat, barren landscape, the Qusayr ‘Amra is the most famous of all the Desert Castles. It was built in the 8th century AD, almost certainly in the year AD710, on the instructions of the ground-breaking Umayyad caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, better known as Al-Walid I, who liked to take recreational time in the desert.
Structurally, the Qusayr ‘Amra it is one of the best preserved of all the desert fortifications, but more importantly it also has a magnificent collection of Umayyad frescoes that are in such good condition and of such important historical interest that the castle has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The frescoes, and indeed the architecture, are considered some of the earliest forms of Islamic art. Painted in terracotta, cream, blue and green shades, the frescoes can be seen on walls and ceilings throughout the castle.