Citadel - Umayyad Palace, Amman
The most extensive site on the Citadel hilltop is that of the huge Umayyad palace and the Umayyad mosque which lies just outside it. Both can be found in the northerly corner of the hilltop plateau, behind and to the north-east of the archaeological museum.
The palace complex was built in the first half of the 700s, almost certainly acting as a seat of government for the area as well as the luxurious living quarters of the emir in charge. Its construction made use of existing Roman remains, such as the 'colonnaded street' and the foundations of a Roman temple, so its floor plan differs from that which might be expected for the period. I have read that the building's layout also shows a great deal of Iranian influence, though I am not expert enough to give any more detail about that aspect.
The interior of all the rooms would originally, of course, been decorated with both carved stonework and intricate plasterwork. In places you can still see some original decorative stonework, although much worn and eroded by weather, and there is some re-created decorative stonework as well.
I didn't have time to fully explore the complexities of the palace. It really is huge and I was anyway determined to find the Byzantine church before I had to leave the site. So I didn't see the black-and-white floor mosaics which I believe still exist in some of the private quarters.
The dome over the impressive palace entrance is not, of course, the original. It is a reconstruction.
This series of historic buildings can be found behind the archeological museum. The palace, dating 720, was a big complex of royal and normal buildings. The palace was destroyed by an earth quake in 749 and was never totally rebuilt, so its life was not long definitly.
The Umayyad Palace is one of the attractions inside the Amman Citadel besides the temple of hercules, the ruined byzantine church just beside the Umayyad Palace and the Roman Theater just below the Citadel. The Umayyad Palace is actually just the big house of the one of the Governors of the Territory of Jordan during the Umayyad Dynasty but it was also used by the subsequent occupiers like the fatimid, mamluks, etc. The palace is composed of the colonnaded street, a Mosque, residential quarters and entrance hall and is just beside the remains of the byzantine church.
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The Citadel's best preserved structure, the square - now domed - edifice once served as the entrance hall to the Omayyad Palace Complex. It was completed with the rest of the Omayyad buildings in the Citadel, in 720 AD, on the foundation of a Byzantine church, which gave the structure its cruciform plan. The entrance to the hall faces the Omayyad Mosque further south, though the two have different orientations as the mosque had to face the direction of Mecca. While the Palace could just as well have faced Mecca, the fact that it utilised existing foundation made it difficult. The interior of the Entrance Hall has beautifully carved stone walls and a lofty courtyard with four iwans giving it the cruciform plan. Upon the restoration of the building, archaeologists debated whether or not the courtyard was originally covered, but nevertheless decided to build a modern wooden dome to allow the structure to be used more easily for cultural events. Beyond the Entrance Hall lies the Omayyad Palace Complex
Built by the Omayyad dynasty in 720 AD, the Palace Complex housed the governor of Amman and his entourage. The Complex included a mosque, an Entrance Hall, residential and administrative buildings and a water cistern. The mosque was located just outside the complex, and the non-religious section was accessed through the entrance hall where visitors were received. The Entrance Hall (see separate tip) is the best preserved structure in the complex. The rest lies mostly in ruins, but whose foundations are clearly visible. The entire complex lasted only a short period as destruction befell it in the 749 AD earthquake.
The foundation of the fairly large mosque, which served the Omayyad Palace and its quarters, is discernible within the citadel. The structure, built in 720 AD opposite the Omayyad Palace, has only survived in ruins. It was a typical early-Islamic mosque with a spacious courtyard surrounded by colonnaded porticoes, similar to the early construction of the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, or the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As in Old Cairo. The bases of the columns are visible, and a section of the mosque's northern wall has been reconstructed, showing similar carvings as the façade and interior of the entrance hall of the opposite Palace. The mosque was destroyed along with the rest of the citadel in the 749 AD earthquake.
One of the things you can see at the Citadel is the Ummayd Palace, a big palace with several buildings from the early years of arab domination. It is known as Al Qasr. It was built probably between the years 720 and 750, and is one of the last examples of the ummayd dinasty 's art and architechture. It was used as administrative centre and governor's residence. The most remarkable thing is the Auditions Hall, a squared building with a high vault and plentiful decoration. A public square with many columns is also very remarkable
The Omayyad Palace is a structure dating back to around 720 AD and the rule of the Omayyad Arabs. Its exact function is unclear, but the building includes a monumental gateway, cruciform audience hall and four vaulted chambers. A colonnaded street runs through the complex and to the north and east, ruins of the palace grounds are visible.
When you arrive to the Roman Temenos, there is in front of you a small square. Here you can see the iwan, a rectangular lobby with arches. Probably on the floor there was some mosaics that were destroyed years ago. When you pass the arch, you arrive to diwan, the Throne Room, with a Greek Cross shape. On the east of this room you can see many other rooms with the offices of the palace.
Outside the Audience Room there is a large square. In front of you there is a colomnaded street with 13 columns and 14 archces. From its side there are many buildings with many rooms. The street end in one of the entrance of the Roman Temenos.
The most nice building in the Umayyad Palace Complex is the Audience Room. It has got a Greek Cross shape with a wall of 25 metres on each side. Inside you can see many colomns and decorations that nowday are under restoration.
When you pass the Byzantine Church you arrive to the Umayyad Palace Complex. This is the most impressive building of the Citadel and it is known simply as Al-Qaser (the Palace), which dates back to the Islamic Umayyad period around 720 AD. Its exact function is unknown, but the building includes a monumental gateway, cruciform audience hall and four vaulted chambers. A colonnaded street runs through the complex and to the north and east, ruins of the palace grounds are visible.
To be able to figure on the Unesco list, a building should have less than 30% of non-original part. Even more the renovated parts should be clearly identifiable as non original work.
This is why inside the diwan you can so easily make the difference between the original stones and the recently sculpted stones.
The qasr was the Umayyad palace. What is left of it is this “diwan”. This is the room where the calife receive his subjects. Its size and luxury was supposed to impress the visitor.
Originally the diwan was covered with a dome. The actual structure is too weak to support again this kind of weight. During the renovation, it has however been decided to cover it again but with a much lighter structure.
The decline of the city began in the late Byzantine period, around the mid-6th to first half of the 7th century, which aided the Arab Muslim troops, led by Yazid Ibn Abi Sufyan to conquer Amman in 634. The citadel had always been the “symbol” of Amman and thus the governor’s headquarters. It appears obvious that the Umayyad retains this nucleus of the city for their own governor. As a capital of the Belqa, Amman became thus the residence of the governor in the Umayyad period (661-750).
Being already well-placed as a geographical centre and thus as a headquarter, the city was given an additional and important role in the Umayyad period because it became a main stopping point on a major road between Damascus and the holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Madina. This prosperous era was brought to an abrupt end through natural disasters: the epidemic plague and the catastrophic earthquake in 749.