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  The Desert Castles 

Requiring a brief detour from Jordan’s main north-south tourist axis, the Desert Castles that emerge from the yellowplains to the east of the capital offer a unique glimpse into the earliest Islamic civilisation in Jordan.

Early Islamic architecture at Hraneh: Designed like a traditional Syrian house, Hraneh is built around a central courtyard, with the use of narrow slits to control air flow and therefore the temperature. The Islamic touches are found in the positioning of larger windows on the inside than the out.

Amra’s frescoes: Dating from before the Islamic prohibition on depicting human and animal figures, the walls of the barrel-roofed QusayrAmra are covered from floor to ceiling in lavish depictions of a garden paradise – which must have provided welcome respite from the desert outside.

Azraq Oasis: Now a protected area, Azraq’s wetlands are a wildlife-rich expanse of lakes and marsh that are fed by a profusion of underground springs. It is a main stopping-off point for birds seasonally migrating up and down the Great Rift Valley.



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