Deep in Jordan, Qusayr Amra, the little castle in the desert, is testimony to the art of the Umayyad Caliphate. We walk in the sandy footsteps of history to discover the story of a very special desert castle and the beauty of Islamic architecture in the Jordan desert.

My name is Hakim and I’m a Bedouin. I’m the keeper of the Qusayr Amra desert castle, built by King Umayyad Caliph Walid I in the VIII century. The king used the castle mainly as residence for his hunting trips and as a place to relax having long steam baths.

Inside the castle there are many water tanks which were used to collect rainwater for everyday use and to prepare baths and steam baths. The castle also has a big water well that used to be activated by camels to channel the water into the bath chambers. The big fireplace beside the water tanks was used to heat up the water and create steam for the sauna.

The steam was channeled into the sauna rooms through a hole under the floor. The small holes on the ceiling of the bath chambers served to let the sunlight in and let the steam out.

The ceiling of the shower room has an accurate representation of the zodiac.

The castle has very rare and valuable interiors. The rooms are entirely decorated with mosaics and frescoes that represent the king and his family, hunting scenes at night, animals, feasts with music and dancing, women in the baths.

The king’s bedroom is entirely decorated with mosaics from top to bottom.

I live beside the castle in a typical Bedouin tent. This is where I like to serve traditional Bedouin coffee, grinding the coffee beans together with cardamom and then cooking them with water on a brazier in the middle of the tent.

The tent is great for having lots of guests. They can sleep here and enjoy peace in the middle of the desert.

Near the castle there was a big river surrounded by pistachio trees. What’s left of it today is just a small water basin that collects rainwater during the winter.

I invite people from all over the world to come visit the Qasr Amra castle and have a taste of the true Bedouin life, and my coffee too.

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