|dc.description||This red limestone palace is located on the edge of a desert oasis, approximately 50 miles east of Amman. It has been asserted that the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid built Qusayr 'Amra between 712 and 715 AD.
Small in scale yet extremely well preserved, it structurally contains two main components: an audience hall and a bath. One enters the building from the north into the rectangular audience hall. Across from the main entrance stands an alcove with two little windowless rooms to either side, admitting light strictly from their entryways and reflections from the floors cemented in glass mosaics. The three rooms that make up the bath -- presumably the apodyterium, tepidarium, and caldarium, respectively -- are situated to the east of the hall's main entrance: one of which is tunnel-vaulted; another that is cross-vaulted and the third contains a dome. (Please see the plan.) To the east of the caldarium, a tunnel-vaulted passageway extends into a rectangular enclosed space that remains uncovered. Architecturally, Qusayr 'Amra's most impressive characteristic is its vaulting system, specifically in its use of pointed transverse arches. The incidence of such features demonstrates a strong eastern influence, as there are no known western examples of these arches until at least the end of the eleventh century.