Mosque Name: Qasr Mushash
City: Desert Castle
Year of construction (AH): unknown
Year of construction (AD): 7th century
GPS: 31°48’47.90"N 36°18’56.93"E
Original Qibla: Petra
Rebuilt facing Mecca: never
This very large Qasr complex and settlement was a caravan station on the route between Amman (Roman Philadelphia) and Wadi Sirhan. Ceramic finds point to an occupation since the 3rd century A.D. (DAI, Dautches Archeological Institute) Research identified the remains of 18 structures built of locally quarried stone. These include the main Qasr or residential building with sides of 26 m, with a central courtyard surrounded 13 rooms and a single entrance in the east wall.
The oldest part of the site is the Qasr itself, in the east, which had occupation since the 4rd century AD, as part of the Roman guard posts in the Arabian Desert. The complex was in further use in Umayyad times, for the same purpose. The sole historical settlement periods represented there are those of the early Byzantine and Early Islamic (Umayyad) times, between the 4th and 7th and the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. The ruins of this large complex (2 sq km) and settlement was once a grand site in the desert steppe, which probably served as a caravan station. The settlement complex had a large number of hydraulic systems in the form of reservoirs, cisterns and dams. The whole site had several separate units: the Qasr, a bathhouse and the water system. There are actually two Qasrs, the west Qasr Mushash and the East Qasr Mushash.
The medieval Arab historian el-Maqdisi mentioned that this was one of the three routes from Amman to the Hijaz in western Arabia used by the Umayyad postal service. (Khouri, 1988)