QASR AL AZRAQ (قلعة الأزرق)

We drove through dusty Azraq in cloudy and windy weather to the imposing fort where T.E. Lawrence and Sharif Hussein bin Ali based themselves in the winter of 1917–18 during the Arab Revolt against the Turks. Lawrence set up his quarters above the southern entrance while his loyal followers braved the elements in other fort areas. They were holed up here for several months in crowded conditions with little shelter from the intense cold.

Despite the hardships endured during his stay at Azraq, T.E. Lawrence writes fondly about the time spent with his men at arms. In the evenings, everyone would assemble before a great fire in the open courtyard and break bread while swapping stories of war, peace, and love. At the time, the castle commanded sweeping views of the nearby palm-fringed oasis at Azraq.

Qasr Al Azraq was originally three stories high and constructed of black basalt stone. Comparatively, little is known about its history, and there has been little excavation and renovation. Greek and Latin inscriptions date earlier constructions on the site to around AD 300, coinciding with Roman occupation. The fort was renovated by the Umayyad caliph Walid II, who used it for hunting and as a military base. Its present form dates to 1237, when the Ayyubids fortified it to defend against the Crusaders. The Turks subsequently stationed a garrison here in the 16th century. In 1918, the Arab Revolt attacked Damascus from this building, which successfully ousted the Turks from the region.

It was also the first place they wanted to scan our Jordan Pass, but it did not work.

Parking location – Azraq: 31.579573N 36.827764E (🚻)