Qasr al-Azraq is a crusader castle situated close to the small town of Azraq. This castle dates back to around 300AD, however; the section of the castle that remains today was constructed in 1237. Qasr al-Azraq is a historically significant castle that was once the home of T.E. Lawrence (more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia) during the Arab Revolt in 1917. Visitors can easily reach Qasr Al Azraq from the town of Azraq which is just five kilometers away.
Location of Qsar al-Azraq
Qsar al-Azraq and the town of Azraq are situated in central eastern Jordan, approximately 80 kilometers from the city of Amman. Azraq is located in the Jordanian desert and is the point where three separate deserts join together and continue into Saudi Arabia. A car journey from Amman to Azraq takes around one and a half hours.
Although it is a notable crusader castle, Qsar al-Azraq was in fact built by the Romans in the 3rd Century AD. Due to its location along the Wadi Sirhan trade route and close proximity to a large lake of water, it was in a convenient position for the Roman military.
Originally constructed from black basalt, Qsar al-Azraq was an important military base during the Byzantine periods and it is thought to have been reconstructed in the early 13th Century. In more recent history the castle was used in World War 1 and was the base for British archaeologist and military officer T.E. Lawrence during 1917 before the final attack on Damascus which resulted in the downfall of the Ottomans.
Things to Do in Azraq
The main thing to do in Azraq is to visit Qsar al-Azraq. This castle is the main draw for tourists to the area and for good reason too. The site has played a significant role in Jordanian military history and visitors can grasp an understanding of this by exploring the remains of the fortress.
There are remains from the original 3rd Century AD building including an altar close to the entrance. Visitors can also visit the room of T.E. Lawrence which was constructed with arrow slits and strategic views. The impressive basalt door located in the western tower was made famous by Lawrence in the book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. There is also a 13th Century mosque and the remains of a prison, kitchen and dining room.
The town of Azraq itself is small and does not offer anything of particular interest apart from the nearby castle. As it is situated beside a large highway, the town is very much affected by loud traffic noise. That said if you wish to experience an authentic Jordanian town then Azraq is a great place to spend a night. It is the only area in the region to accommodate foreign visitors with a number of hotels and guesthouses. Due to its roadside position, there are many places to dine.
How to Visit AzrAq
The main reason that people visit the area is to see the castle. Along with Qsar al-Azraq, visitors can take a trip to the small town of Azraq where there are a number of places to stay. Entrance to the castle costs just 1JD (1.41 USD) and a taxi will usually charge around 2JD (2.82 USD). The castle is open during the hours of daylight and is also included in the Jordan Pass.
The main reason visitors should head to Azraq is the famous crusader castle. Those who do not wish to stay in the town can visit Qsar al-Azraq as part of a day trip from the city of Amman. It is easy to get to and there are many organized tours to the castle from the larger cities.