Qasr Qastal

 Year AH

Year AD




Original Qibla

Rebuilt facing Mecca





Qasr Qastal


GPS Coordinates: 31°44'45.68"N 35°56'23.24"E

 The Umayyad complex at Qastal has been partially replaced by a residential building. The Qa?r was most likely built by Yazid II, or earlier. The castle complex and external mosque are oriented within 5.21° degrees of Petra. The site also contains one of the oldest minarets in the world. The external graveyard contains some examples of early Umayyad graves, where the deceased were laid on their side facing Petra. Earlier Western writers, calculating from the direction of the feet (281.82°) assumed that the bodies were facing Jerusalem which is 273.14° (a difference of 8.68°.) A number of inscribed tombstones date back to the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, and are currently on display at the Madaba Archaeological Museum.

While the Qastal fortress is often attributed to Yazid II, the site of Qastal was occupied long before the Umayyad era. It is interesting to note that this Qa?r is in line-of-site communication with Qa?r Muwaqqar and later, Qasr Mushatta.

The mosque mihrab was originally rectangular and later converted to the typical semicircular shape. The palace is dated to the reign of Yazid II ibn Abdulmalik (720-740AD) based on a reference to a palace in a contemporary poem to Yazid written by Khthayyir ibn Abdurrahman Azza (644-723AD). However, reference in a later historical account supports the suggestion that it was completed before 744 but the actual time of construction is difficult to determine. Since it faced Petra, one might assume that it was constructed early in the Umayyad period.

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