Qasr Kharana

قصر الحرانة

( Qasr Kharana )

Qasr Kharana (Arabic: قصر خرّانة), sometimes Qasr al-Harrana, Qasr al-Kharanah, Kharaneh or Hraneh, is one of the best-known of the desert castles located in present-day eastern Jordan, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) east of Amman and relatively close to the border with Saudi Arabia. It is believed to have been built sometime before the early 8th century AD, based on a graffito in one of its upper rooms, despite visible Sassanid influences. A Greek or Byzantine house may have existed on the site. It is one of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture in the region. Its purpose is hard to ascertain with any degree of certainty.

The castle was built in the early Umayyad period by the Umayyad caliph Walid I whose dominance of the region was rising at the time. Qasr Kharana is an important example of early Islamic art and architecture.[citation needed]

In later centuries the castle was abandoned and neglected. It suffered damage from several earthquakes. Alois Musil rediscovered it in 1901, and in the late 1970s it was restored. During the restoration some changes were made. A door in the east wall was closed, and some cement and plaster was used that was inconsistent with the existing material.[1] Stephen Urice wrote his doctoral dissertation on the castle, published as a book, Qasr Kharana in the Transjordan, in 1987 following the restoration.[2]

Interior of Qasr Kharana, showing Sassanid influence
^ Cite error: The named reference Ilayan was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Urice, Stephen K. (1987), Qasr Kharana in the Transjordan, Durham, N.C.: American Schools of Oriental Research, ISBN 0-89757-207-6.
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