A desert Castle: Qasr al-Hayr ach-Charqi

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(CC James Gordon)*
The Desert Castle or Qasr al Heir ash-Sharqi in 2005

The Umayyad Caliphs of Damascus (660B.C. – 750 B.C.) built a series of magnificent palaces called “Desert Castle” in the Syrian steppe at the edge of the desert, far from the capital, where they could indulge in hunting and horse breeding. Qasr al-Hayr ach-Charqi has preserved – more than any another castle – the authentic Umayyad characteristics and ensured the continuity of Syrian cultural traditions (Byzantine and Sassanid art), despite the arrival of Islam.

  • The site has been occupied by armed groups since 2013. The castle and the surrounding area have been damaged by looting and vandalism.
  • The visitors' house has been burgled.

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