Located next to Queen Alia International Airport, Qasr Al Mushatta, or The Winter Palace as it is also known, is the closest of the five major desert castles to Amman. This stunning Umayyad castle is also the largest and thought to be the most ambitious of the desert castles, standing as a good indication of the striking grandeur of these palaces and the visionaries behind their design.
The castle itself was never actually completed following the assassination of Caliph Walid II, who commissioned it in the hopes of establishing a large metropolitan city in the area in 743 AD. Today a large part of the castle’s ruins remain in situ and although the striking façade is now in a museum in Berlin, the recent reconstruction project enables the visitor to get a good idea how it would have looked back in the era it was constructed.
What remains of the prestigious castle and its architectural splendour includes the huge exterior wall, some carved facades, the ruins of a mosque at the entrance, the remains of a vaulted audience hall and residences, the ancient toilets and broken columns scattered across the ground. The unique use of burnt fired bricks instead of the usual black basalt stone gives this castle a further impressive edge.
Although the castle is only an hour away from Amman by car, Tania Tours recommends visiting Qasr Al Mushatta on the day of your flight home as it is located beside the airport.