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HISTORY & CULTURE

Azraq Castle is one of the historic desert castles. It is located in the village of North Azraq. Because of its strategic location close to the borders of several countries and near a water supply, the site has been occupied by many different civilizations, including the Umayyads, Ayyubids and Ottomans. It was made famous during World War I, when T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, used the castle as his military base during the Arab Revolt against the Turks.

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The entrance to Azraq Castle.

The castle is solidly constructed out of black basalt. Entrance is through an impressive door made of a massive slab of basalt. Carved indentations on the floor were used by former gatekeepers to play a board game with pebbles to pass the time. The second level includes Lawrence’s room, directly above the southern entrance. There is a small mosque in the middle of the courtyard, an old well near the east wall, a prison in the northeast corner and a variety of storerooms and stables opposite the entrance.


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The Oryx, an elegant white antelope, is one of the few mammals indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula. It became extinct in Jordan around the 1920s. The last known wild Oryx in the world was killed by hunters in Oman in 1972.
In 1978, eleven Oryx were relocated in Shawmari. The number of Oryx has now increased to a phenomenal two hundred!

A wide variety of birds stop at the Azraq Wetland Reserve each year for a rest during their arduous migration routes between Asia and Africa.

The word "Azraq" in Arabic means "blue".