The facade of Qasr Mushatta now located in Berlin at the Pergamon Museum
|Location||Jordan, near Queen Alia International Airport|
|Construction started||743-744 CE|
|Client||Caliph Al-Walid II|
|Diameter||144 X 144 meters|
|Floor area||20,736 meters squared|
Qasr Mshatta (Arabic: قصر المشتى, "Winter Palace") is the ruin of an Umayyad winter palace probably commissioned by caliph Al-Walid II (743-744). The ruins are located approximately 30 km south of Amman, Jordan, north of Queen Alia International Airport, and are part of a string of castles, palaces and caravanserai known collectively in Jordan as the Desert Castles. Though much of the ruins can still be found in the Jordan the most striking feature of the palace, the Mshatta Facade, has been removed from the site and is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The complex was never completed.
The ruins of Qasr Mushatta consist of an outer wall made up of 25 towers as well as a small central tract of rooms. These rooms included a throne room, courtyard and mosque. The rooms occupy a central tract within the walls. The southern side contains the entry hall and mosque which was situated to face Mecca. The southern side contains another small gate that leads to the courtyard. The north side of the central tract contains the residential section of the palace. The residential building was a three-bay hall which led to the domed throne room. Surrounding the throne room are a group of apartments covered by wagon vaults and ventilated with concealed air ducts. The main gate of the palace faced south and had a carved stone facade now known as the Mshatta Facade. While the facade has now been removed the rest of the site can still be visited in Jordan, though little of what were probably once lavish decorative schemes remain.
There are a large number of castles and palaces in Syria and Jordan that date of the Umayyad dynasty. In 1964 a brick was found at Mshatta with an inscription on it written by Sulaiman ibn Kaisan. Kaisan is known to have lived between 730 and 750 CE which lends further evidence to the theory that Caliph Al-Walid II commissioned the construction. His was the first of four short reigns of Caliphs between 743 and 750, after which the Abbasid dynasty came to power and moved the capital from Damascus, near the palace, to Bagdhad. If work had not already been abandoned, it no doubt was at that point.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Palace of Mshatta.|
- UNESCO World Heritage status of Qasr Mushatta
- Archnet entry for Qasr Mushatta with pictures and architectural plans
- Enderlein, Volkmar Mshatta-A Caliphs Palace The Pergamon Museum Information leaflet No. ISL I, Berlin, 1996