Hegira 937/ AD 1531
Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent (r. AH 926–74 / AD 1520–66).
An important station on the pilgrimage route in Jordan, Qatrana lies about 90 km south of Amman along the desert highway to the west of the Hijaz railway. The site comprises a small rectangular fortress (22.2 m x 17.35 m) and a large water reservoir (70 m x 70 m). The average height of the fortress is 10 m from ground level. All four of the walls are crenellated, provided with arrow slits of two types and machicolations (projecting windows); the external dimensions of the latter structures are 2 m x 2 m, projecting 50 cm from the face of the walls, with that above the gateway having an arched window and two slits on the sides. The remaining machicolations have three regular arrow slits each.
The gateway is located at the centre of the south wall. It consists of a shallow porch, a vestibule with a cross vaulted roof, and a passageway that leads to the courtyard, which is roofed with large basalt beams. Eight rooms are organised around the rectangular courtyard that measures 18.6 m x 4.1 m with the longer side running from east to west. On the east side of the courtyard a flight of steps leads to the first floor where seven rooms are organised around the courtyard with a narrow walkway to provide access to the rooms. A flight of steps on the east side also leads to the roofs of these rooms.
Two different types of stone were used to construct the fortress: limestone and basalt. Both the interior and exterior walls were plastered.
Qatrana, an important station on the pilgrimage route in Jordan, lies at about 90 km south of Amman. The site comprises a small rectangular fortress and a large water reservoir, built together with other forts in AH 937 / AD 1531 specifically for the protection of the new pilgrimage route established by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The fortress walls are crenellated, provided with arrow slits and projecting windows. The gateway consists of a shallow porch, a vestibule with a cross-vaulted roof, and a passageway that leads to the courtyard, which is roofed with large basalt beams.
The fortress built in 937/ 1531 was, in common with the forts of Dhab'a and Ma'an, built specifically for the protection of the newly established pilgrimage route established by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent during his reign (926–74 / 1520–66).
الكردي.حنان، القلاع الأثرية في الأردن، عمان، 1984، ص 37–38.
Burckhardt, J. L., Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, London, 1882, p.658.
Doughty, C. M., Travels in Arabian Deserts, London, 1926, p.58.
Peterson, A., “Early Ottoman Forts on Darb al-Hajj”, Levant, Vol. XXI, 1989, pp.97–117.
Mohammad Najjar "Qatrana Fortress" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;jo;Mon01;27;en
Prepared by: Mohammad NajjarMohammad Najjar
Mohammad Najjar is an archaeologist and has been Director of Excavations and Surveys at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan since 1988. He studied archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology in Moscow from where he holds his Ph.D. He was affiliated to the Department of Antiquities of Jordan in 1982 as Curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. He was the Technical Director of Cultural Resources Management (sites development) at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities between 1994 and 1997. He is the author of numerous publications on the archaeology of Jordan.
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: JO 27
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)Pilgrimage | Pilgrimage Routes and Holy Sites Along the Way Western Influence in Ottoman Lands | Jordan
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