Qasr al-Mushatta

Now found near Queen Alia International Airport just south of Amman,the most richly decorated of the Umayyads palaces in Jordan was Qasr al-Mushatta.Stone carvings of great delicacy and vitality once adorned it,but today only a few peices still in place bear witness to its original glory,for the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamit II gave them to Kaiser Wilhem II in 1903,and shortly afterwards they were sripped off and shipped to Germany.They can now be seen in the Pergamum Museum in East Berlin.

Qasr al-Mushatta is a great square walled enclosure with round towers at the corners,and five semi-circular ones at regular intervals in each side,except on the south,whose centre is occupied by the gateway.It was around this gateway that the magnificent carvings were originally situated,standing to a considerable height, and adorned with vine and flower tracery,and large rosettes,within a great band of linked upright and inverted triangles.

Inside,the two outer sections are virtually untouched,for the palace was never completed.In the centre,a complex of buildings just inside the entrance led into a spacious central court,beyond which was the royal audience hall and residence-possibly for Walid II,the same caliph who built Qasr al-Tuba,for this palace too is believed to date from 734-54.The audiance hall is fascinating-basilical as you enter from the court,with a trefoil apse which was originally covered by a dome.On either side of it the buildings were covered with barrel vaults, some of which remain.The whole of this part of this palace is constructed on the inside with burnt mud bricks.
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