Iraq Al Amir Jordan

Close to the village Iraq Al Amir, 17 km distant from Amman, lies Qasr Al-Abed (Castle of the Slave), one of the few Hellenistic sites in Jordan. About 500 meters from the Qasr several caves can be found known as Iraq Al-Amir, the "Caves of the Prince".

Qasr al Abd dating from approximately 200 BC, is widely believed to have been built by Hyrcanus of Jerusalem, head of the powerful Tobiad family and governor of Ammon. Credence for this theory is gained from the fact that the word 'Tobiad' is engraved (in the Aramaic language) in one of the nearby caves of Iraq al Amir. The purpose of the castle is not determined, it is interpreted as fortress or as a country pleasure palace. The building was unfinished, when Hyrcanus commited suicide in 175 BC. The palace was badly damaged by a great earthquake that hit the region in 362 AD. The two-storey, stone structure, decorated with lions, is built from some of the largest single blocks of any building in the Middle East, with the largest block measuring seven by three metres.


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