Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi

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The palace Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi (Eastern al-Hayr Palace or the "Eastern Castle") is a castle in the middle of the Syrian Desert. It was built by the Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in 728-29 CE in an area rich in desert fauna.[1] It was apparently used as a military and hunting outpost.[2] The palace is the counterpart of Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi, a nearby castle palace built one year earlier.[1]

Location[edit]

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharq is 27 kilometres (17 mi) from al-Sukhnah and 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Sergiopolis (Rusafa), near Bishri Mountain near Palmyran Middle Mountains.

Architecture[edit]

The palace consists of a large open courtyard surrounded by thick bulwarks and towers guarding the entrances as well as each corner.[3] The palace consists of two square structures, one with a diameter of 300m and the other of 100 metres (330 ft). The palace(s) contains remnants of rooms, arches and columns which seem to be parts of a huge royal complex. Some of the decorated parts have been moved to the National Museum of Damascus while the gate has been reconstructed in the Deir ez-Zor Museum.[4]

The bigger palace has been several floors, with a huge gate and many towers. Towers were not built as defensive measures. There were also olive yards. The palaces were supplied with water by nearby Byzantine church by a canal 5,700 metres (6,200 yd) long. The palaces contained bathrooms, water reservoirs, mosques and gardens.

World Heritage Status[edit]

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on June 8, 1999 in the Cultural category.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Constable, O.R. (2003). Housing the Stranger in the Mediterranean World: Lodging, Trade, and Travel in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-521-81918-0. 
  2. ^ Un Château du désert: Qasr al-Hayr ach-Charqi - UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
  3. ^ Un Château du désert : Qasr al-Hayr ach-Charqi - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  4. ^ Bonatz, Dominik; Kühne, Hartmut; Mahmoud, As'ad (1998). Rivers and steppes. Cultural heritage and environment of the Syrian Jezireh. Catalogue to the Museum of Deir ez-Zor. Damascus: Ministry of Culture. OCLC 638775287. 
  5. ^ "Un Château du désert: Qasr al-Hayr ach-Charqi - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 2009-03-04. [dead link]

Coordinates: 35°4′26″N 39°4′16″E / 35.07389°N 39.07111°E / 35.07389; 39.07111