Name of Object:

Wall inscription


Aqaba, Jordan

Holding Museum:

In situ at Aqaba Castle

About In situ at Aqaba Castle, Aqaba

Date of Object:

Hegira 910 or 920 / AD 1504 or 1514

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Amir Khayr Bay al-Ala`i.

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Inscribed stone.


Height (above the ground) 140 cm, length: 14 m, width: 66 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Aqaba, Jordan.


A wall inscription that is in situ at Aqaba Castle. The inscription border, in naskhi script, runs along one wall inside the main entrance and continues on both sides in one of the rooms immediately inside the entrance.

The inscription states that the castle was built by Amir Khayr Bay al-Ala`i during the reign of the Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri (AH 906–22 / AD 1500–1516) the penultimate Burji Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, who was preoccupied with maintaining the security of the lands and waterways in Egypt and Syria. The date, which is not clear in the inscription, would have read hegira 910 (AD 1504) or hegira 920 (AD 1514). The inscription states that the castle's builder was Amir Khayr Bay al-Ala`i, whom the contemporary Egyptian historian Ibn Iyas mentions was known as al-Mi`mar (the builder). The stress on the letter 'n' in the word بنّا 'Banna' (Builder), and the word بنِِا 'Bena', meaning building, both written in the same script, but the latter with thestress on the letter (n), confirms that Amir Khayr Bay al-Ala`i was the builder of Aqaba Castle.

View Short Description

A wall inscription that runs along the walls of a room immediately inside the entrance to the Aqaba Castle, and states that the castle was built by Amir Khayir Bay al-Ala’i during the reign of Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri. The date is not clear but would have read 910 (AD 1504) or 920 (AD 1514).

How date and origin were established:

The panel is dated by the inscription that mentions the name of the Mamluk Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri (r. 906–22 / AD 1500–1516).

How Object was obtained:

The inscription panel is in situ at Aqaba Castle.

How provenance was established:

The provenance is well known as the stone inscription is in situ on the wall inside the main entrance and in one of the rooms near the entrance at Aqaba Castle.

Selected bibliography:

المومني. سعد، "القلاع الإسلامية الأردنية: الفترة الأيوبية المملوكية"، عمان، 1987، ص 304-305.

غوانمة. يوسف، " أيلة (العقبة) و البحر الأحمر و أهميتها التاريخية والإستراتيجية، جامعة اليرموك،1984، 131-132.

Khouri, R., Whitcomb, D., Aqaba: Fort of Palestine on the China Sea, Amman, 1988.

Citation of this web page:

Aida Naghawy, Manal Basyouni "Wall inscription" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2022.;ISL;jo;Mus01_H;35;en

Prepared by: Aida NaghawyAida Naghawy

Aida Naghawy is an archaeologist and the Director of Jordan Archaeological Museum. She studied archaeology at the University of Jordan where she gained her MA. She was affiliated to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities from 1974 as a curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. In 1981 she became inspector of Jerash antiquities and co-ordinator of the Jerash International Rehabilitation project. She was also head of the archaeological awareness section at the Department of Antiquities. Aida is the author of numerous publications on Islamic coins. She has carried out excavation work in Jerash and is the founder of Jerash Archaeological Museum and the Islamic Museum of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
, Manal BasyouniManal Basyouni

Manal Basyouni is an archaeologist and Curator at Aqaba Museum at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. She studied at the University of Jordan where she gained her BA in Archaeology. She has been affiliated to the Department of Antiquities as Curator of Aqaba Museum since 1997. She has carried out several excavations in the southern part of Jordan especially in al-Humayma, Wadi Rum and Ayla.

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 75


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