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Jordan: Wadi Seer

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Wadi Seer > Jordan > Asia

[Visited: December 2003]

It all sounded easy enough: take a minibus to Suweileh, change to a minibus to Wadi Seer, and from there catch a taxi to Araq al Amir. Somehow, however, we ended up in another village. The busdriver pointed to the two seats behind his own, and took us back to the crossroads where we had been before. From there, it was a short walk to a bus stop and a short hop to Wadi Seer, where another minivan took us to the ruins, but not until it was completely full with passengers. As we continued, we left the cold of Amman behind and entered a lovely valley, with a river running through it, friendly green vegetation on the slopes of the hills.

Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Lion sculpture at Qasr al-Abd

We descended the bus, and from a small shop an old man in traditional clothes walked ahead of us to the gate of Qasr al-Abd, or the Castle of the Slave. This castle was probably built by a Hyrcanus of the Tobiad family, to escape from the jealousy of his brothers. Indeed, the castle was built in such a way that it was very difficult for invaders to perform a surprise attack. Once upon a time, it was decorated with enormous sculptures of animals on its outside. Although huge slabs of stons were used, an earthquake destroyed the castle completely. A French archaeologist spent ten years to put large part of the ruins together. This is not a place on many itineraries: the previous visitors were here one week before us.

Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Qasr al-Abd: looking through window

On one side, you can still see an example of one of the animals which were all around the outside walls: a lion guards the northern entrance. When you give it a closer look, you can discern the remains of other animals on the other corners. Walking a little up the road, you can enter the Araq al-Amir (Cave of the Prince) caves. These natural caves were used as stables, and some of them are so big they could easily house a good party. On the right of the entrance to one of the caves, you can find the Aramaic inscription for Tobias in the face of the rocks. From the gallery right in front of the caves, you can enjoy a great view over the valley, the bare mountains surrounding the castle, and the friendly salutes of passers-by on the road below.

Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Wadi Seer valley, near Amman
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Qasr al-Abd castle: one of the walls
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Remaining pillars of Qasr al-Abd
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Southern side of Qasr al-Abd
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Pillar of Qasr al-Abd castle
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): View on Qasr al-Abd castle
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Araq al Amir caves in Wadi Seer
Picture of Wadi Seer (Jordan): Entrance to Araq al Amir cave, Aramaic writing

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