Know you country
First broadcast date
The program describes the palace of Amra where beautiful pictures and paintings which belong to the Umayad era are displayed and described. It also describes the palace itself and the way to have access to it. The palace is composed of a rectangular guest room with three corrridors. The central corrridor leads to two small rooms overlooking two gardens. The rooms and corridor floors are decorated with mosaics representing plants. As to the other rooms, they are covered with marble. There is a three-room- hammam ( bath) next to the guests room; two of them are roofed with a semi-circular dome, and the third with a small dome.
Television - Own production
JRTV - Jordan Television
Tourism and cultural sites
- Landscapes and environment / Geography and landscapes
- Tourism and cultural sites / Urbanism and cities
Credits / Cast
- AL Mayass Ghazi - Author of original work
- Al Moumni Zouheir - Director
- Jordan - Transjordan Plateau - Al Zarqa
Footage of Amra - fresco paintings scattered on the walls .They are over 1400 years .
Knowing one's own country
This documentary shows us an important part of Jordan's cultural and architectural heritage, the site of Qusayr 'Amra. Dating back to the Umayyad period, in fact to the first half of the 7th century, this building was a bath-house for the Umayyad aristocracy. The Umayyad dynasty ruled from 661 to 750. At that time, the caliphs and princes had a conception of power based on mobility, so they only stayed in their capital Damascus for part of the year. Part of this policy was the development of regional administrative centres such as Amman and Aqaba and to establish a significant presence in rural areas. A number of luxury homes were built in the country, known now as Desert Castles. There are eighteen in Jordan, many of which were princely palaces. Their job was as much political, to maintain a close link with local leaders, as economic, to control agricultural production.
The Amra Palace in the north-east Mafraq region of Jordan was rediscovered in the nineteenth century by Alois Musil, a Czech traveller who made detailed drawings of it (Musil, 1902). He published them in one of his books and more recent archaeologists have used them as the basis for their work. The architecture has been preserved exceptionally well, the building being particularly famous for its polychrome murals.
There are two parts to this ancient monument. The first is a large reception area. In this part, divided by arches into three aisles, there is the room now known as the throne room because of its mural. It is on the largest wall and shows rulers whose names are given in Greek and Arabic standing round a prince on his throne. This scene is juxtaposed with a picture of woman in bath and above that a hunting scene. The other part of the building, the hamam (what we would now call a Turkish bath), consists of three interconnected rooms: a room for undressing, the tepidarium and then the caldarium. Painted in these rooms are mythological scenes, animals and plants while the dome of the caldarium shows a starry sky (Vibert-Guigue, 2007).
Since 1989 the site of Qusayr 'Amra has been the focus of important survey work and restorations, carried out by teams of Franco-Jordanian archaeologists. Its murals are the largest known from the Umayyad period and the diversity of the decorations makes this an important Islamic heritage site, highlighted by Jordan's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The number of visitors here however remains quite low when compared to other historical Jordanian sites (88,246 visitors in 2010 according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities).
Aloïs Musil, Ku sejr ʿamra und andere Schlösser östlich von Moab, Vienne, C. Gerold's Sohn, 1902.
Claude Vibert-Guigue, Les peintures de Qusayr 'Amra : un bain omeyyade dans la bâdiya jordanienne, Amman ; Beyrouth ; Damas, Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2007.
Garth Fowden, Qusayr 'Amra: art and Umayyad elite in late antique Syria, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2004.
Garth Fowden, Studies on hellenism, christianity and the Umayyads, Athenes, Research centre for Greek and Roman antiquity national hellenic research foundation ; Paris, De Boccard, 2004.