QASR AL ABED (قصر العبد)

It took us around an hour to climb steep hills and narrow roads from Amman to the small but impressive Qasr Al Abad. It is one of the very few examples of pre-Roman construction in Jordan. Mystery surrounds the palace, and even its precise age isn’t known. However, most scholars believe that the Hyrcanus of the powerful Jewish Tobiad family built it sometime between 187 and 175 BC as a villa or fortified palace. Although never completed, much of the palace has been reconstructed and remains impressive.

The palace was built from some of the largest blocks of any ancient structure in the Middle East – the largest is 7m by 3m. However, the blocks were only 20cm or so thick, making the whole edifice quite flimsy and susceptible to the earthquake that flattened it in AD 362.

Parking location – Iraq Al-Amir: 31.913845N 35.752804E