Friday, April 17, 2015

Qasrs in the Desert

Today's CLO adventure brought us to three desert castles.  "Castle" is a pretty good misnomer for all three.

Qasr Kharana

Qasr Kharana was a waystation.  A place for travelers and caravans to rest after a long trek. A lodging.  Each of those arch topped openings was a general space with bedrooms off to the sides.  Dark, windowless, filled with vermin and and a basilisk or two. The rooms were pitch black there was no telling what was in them.

Kids with Qasr Kharana
Some thought for a while that the building was a fort.  It gives off a "fort" air, no?  Those narrow windows, the curved entry.  The windows are actually ventilation as they are far too narrow and deep for warfare, and the curved entry and corners were decorative only and not watch towers.

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra is nothing like a castle.  Look how tiny it is!  In fact, if Qasr Amra and Qasr Kharana were closer, say spitting distance, they'd be perfect together.  Qasr Amra is a bath house.  Tiny on the outside, even tinier on the inside as it has multiple rooms, each a step in the cleansing process - one for steaming, one for scrubbing, one for cooling, etc.  Putting 4 full-dressed Americans in one of those rooms felt like we were getting far too friendly.  I imagine that back when Qasr Amra was used strangers were much more comfortable getting reeeealy close really fast.  After a hard day out, who cares about personal space.

Wall art in Qasr Amra

Ceiling art in Qasr Amra

Kids with Qasr Amra
Admit it... it belongs on Tatooine.

Qasr Azraq is where Lawrence of Arabia stayed.  That's his window.

Qasr Azraq is in the middle of the town of Azraq.  Even though the town is surrounded by the black rocks of the region, the castle looks like parts have been picked apart for their stones.

Kids in Qasr Azraq.  I can't recall, but I think he bit his lip.
It too is not a castle, this one actually is a fort - with high walls, rooms for lodging, stables, shops, and right in the center a separate mosque building.  The fort has two arched entrances and a lot of collapsed roofs.

Desert castles - check.

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