Jordan Tour Guide: Qasr Abd

Jordan Tour Guide: Qasr Abd Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

This is one of the Kingdom's finest examples of Hellenistic architecture, situated on a grassy plain just 16 miles (26km) from Amman, near the village of Iraq El Amir.

A story (probably apocryphal) is told of a slave who desired the hand of a king's daughter, only to be told that if he wished to marry her, he could do so only if he provided her with a palace. When the king returned on horseback from fighting in a war and crested a hill-top, he was greeted with the impressive sight of the palace, still incomplete, spread out below him.

The truth of this tale cannot be proved, but it is likely that the palace was built during the second century BC and probably re-structured at some point during the Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries). In 365AD, it was destroyed by an earthquake.

At a short distance from the palace is a gigantic rock wall of brown limestone, in which are hollowed out a large group of caves. The precise history of these is not known, but one of the caves has the word "Tobiah" carved deeply into it, in Aramaic.

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