Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Sharqī

Qasr al Hayr al Sharqi syria

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi is an early Islamic palace in the Syrian desert, 97 km northeast of Palmyra. English names: Eastern al-Hayr Palace, Eastern Castle

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi History

Qasr al Hayr al Sharqi entrance

The remains of the palace were excavated between 1964 and 1972 and consist of an outer enclosure with sluice gates and surrounding an area of about 7 sq. km, two square fortified enclosures with regular half-round towers, as well as a bath, a minaret, and a mud-brick settlement.

The Lesser Enclosure is finely built of ashlar masonry and brick, with rooms on two stories around a court. It resembles the typical fortified residence erected in the Syrian desert by the Umayyad caliphs but lacks the fine decoration typical of these buildings.

The Greater Enclosure is built of ashlar masonry and mud-brick and comprises an arcaded court surrounded by seven courtyard houses, an industrial unit, and a mosque. The bathhouse lies between the two enclosures and has a columned hall and a three-room suite similar to that at Qusayr Amra.

Qasr al Hayr al harqi ruins

Grabar interpreted the Greater Enclosure as a ‘city’ in the sense of a small artificial urban settlement and the Lesser Enclosure as a caravanserai.

An alternative view would see both as part of a single settlement, the houses and mosque of the Greater Enclosure added at a later date to the princely residence of the Lesser Enclosure, to form a unit parallel to that found at Anjar and the citadel at Amman.

After abandonment in the 9th century, both enclosures were reoccupied in the 12th and 13th centuries as a caravan stop on the route from central Syria to the Euphrates River. The square stone minaret dates from this reoccupation, as does a large quantity of fine pottery and other finds.

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi Location

Approximate Geographical Coordinates: Long: 35.18333, Lat: 39.15. See below the location on the map:

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi Map

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