Name of Monument:



Muwaqqar, Jordan

Date of Monument:

Hegira 104 / AD 723

Architect(s) / master-builder(s):

'Abdallah ibn Sulaym, was in charge of the construction of the complex.

Period / Dynasty:



Yazid II (AH 101–5 / AD 720–4).


The monument was in a very bad state of preservation even in 1889 when it was visited by the Austrian travellers and researchers R. E. Brunnow and A. von Domaszewski; in 1901 it was revisited by another Austrian traveller Alois Musil. Further destruction of the complex was documented by the American scholar K. A. C. Creswell in 1968. The description of the palace complex is based mainly on the observations of travellers and scholars who examined the site. An additional, although limited, source is the small-scale archaeological investigations conducted by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan in the 1980s.
The palace complex comprises a rectangular enclosure about 65 m long and 39 m wide. This complex was built on a well-defined natural elevation (910 m above sea level) that slopes towards the east so that its eastern part rests on an extended artificial terrace formed by eight barrel vaults. The average width of the vaults is 3.72 m, and their preserved length is around 6 m but it is obvious that they were longer. The curtain walls were articulated at the corners by three-quarter circular towers with semi-circular intermediate towers between them. Of the internal layout of the monument, aside from the paved terrace, only a 1 m thick transverse and eight rooms that were adjacent to it were preserved. This wall divided the interior into two unequal halves. Numerous architectural elements including 18 column capitals with floral ornamentation were found in the debris. One of these capitals and part of a drum that were rescued from the mud in the water reservoir bear an inscription in kufic script and some markings to measure the depth of the water in the reservoir.

View Short Description

Muwaqqar palace complex, to the southeast of Amman, comprises a rectangular enclosure of about 65 m x 39 m built on a well-defined natural elevation, with an extended artificial terrace formed by eight barrel vaults. The palace is poorly preserved, although numerous architectural elements including 18 column capitals with floral ornamentation were found in the debris. A capital that was rescued from the mud in the adjacent water reservoir bears an inscription in kufic script stating that it was built by ‘Abdallah ibn Sulaym in AH 104 (AD 723), under orders from the Umayyad Caliph Yazid II.

How Monument was dated:

The palace is contemporaneous with the water reservoir that was dated by an inscription found in 1943. The inscription reads as follows: 'Bismillah [in the name of god …] has ordered the building of this pool the Servant of God, Yazid, the Commander of the Faithful … It has been built by the care of 'Abdallah ibn Sulaym in 104' (AD 723).

Selected bibliography:

النجار' محمد واخرون "تقرير أولي عن نتائج التنقيبات الأثرية في بلدة الموقر "، حولية دائرة العامة ألاثار ' العدد33 (1989)ص 5–12.
وهيب' محمد . "ألموسم الثاني للتنقيبات الأثرية في الموقر. تقرير أولي " . حولية دائرة العامة ألاثار ' العدد 37 (1993)، ص 5–12.
Brunnow. R. E., and Domaszewski von A., Die Provincia Arabia, Strasburg, 1904–9, II, pp.182–9.
Creswell K. A. C., and Allan J. W., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, Cairo, 1989, pp.131–4.
Hamilton R., “Some Eighth-Century Capitals from al-Muwaqqar”, Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine, XII, 1948, pp.63–9.
Musil A., Kusejr 'Amra, Vienna, 1907, pp.27–9.

Citation of this web page:

Mohammad Najjar "Muwaqqar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2023. 2023.;ISL;jo;Mon01;13;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 GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: JO 13


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