Discover Perta, The lost City for centuries to the outside world
The Desert castles consist of a number of minor castles and fortresses scattered over the desert in eastern Jordan. Most of the remaining castles are situated east of the capital Amman. The castles were built between the 7th century and 8th century, roughly between 660 and 750, under the caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty who had made Damascus their new capital (in 661).
The majority of the castles lie on the ancient trade routes towards Medina and Kufa. The castles are partly rebuilt from earlier remains and partly new constructions. The function and use of the buildings are yet today not quite determined, scholarship has suggested that they might have served a variety of defensive, agricultural and/or commercial agendas.
Can be visited on one day loops from the city
Stand testament to a fascinating era in the country's rich history. Their fine mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carvings and illustrations, inspired by the best in Persian and Graeco-Roman traditions, tell countless stories of the life as it was during the 8th century. Called castles because of their imposing stature, the desert complexes actually served various purposes as caravan stations, agriculture and trade centres, resort pavilions and outposts that helped distant rulers forge ties with local Bedouins. Several of these preserved compounds, all of which are clustered to the east and south of Amman, can be visited on one - or two-day loops from the city.
There are different theories concerning the use of the buildings, they may have been a fortress, a meeting place for Bedouins (between themselves or with the Ummayyad governor), Badiyas (retreats for the nobles) or used as a caravanserai. The castles represent some of the most impressive examples of early Islamic art and Islamic architecture.