The wealthy Umayyad Caliphs, who used to come to Jordan for leisure and in hunting trips, built some beautiful Castle-like Qasers ,”Palaces”, at the heart of the eastern Jordanian desert. In their remote and lavishly decorated desert retreats, princes, caliphs, governors and noblemen indulged in hunting, falconry, racing horses and camels, bathing and eating, and poetry recitals. Most of those palaces were built in the seventh or eighth century.
Those places are known now as “Desert Castles”. Most famous is Qaser Amra, one of the best-preserved castles, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with lively frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colorful mosaic. Others include: Qaser Mushatta, Qaser al – Kharrana, Qaser at -Tuba and Qaser al-Hallabat.
A full day in the eastern Jordanian desert will give you the chance to tour the main desert castles and selected other sites such as Um al-Jimal (a abatean/ Roman/ Byzantine caravan way-station), Azraq Oasis (a Roman fortress, later used as a winter headquarters during the Arab Revolt of the early 20th Century), Azraq Wetlands Reserve or Shumari Wildlife Refuge.