Qasr Burqu

Qasr Burqu is 30km from Ruwaished and is only accessible by a 4x4 vehicle. The harshness of the surrounding landscape, as well as the lack of properly graded roads, has acted as a strong deterrent against vandalism. What makes this place so special is the apparent incongruity of the lake in the harsh desert which stands guard over the silent shores of Ghadir Burqu (Burqu lake).
According to an inscription (700 AD) found in  the palace  it  was restored and enlarged by the Umayyads  and converted  into a watch tower at the edge of the Harra, which is a black basalt desert resulting from the eruption of the Horan volcano in Syria.

Built directly on a small lake, where the northwest-facing wall of the Qasr actually disappears into the lake, It is still the only year round watering place in the northeastern Badia of Jordan. The reason for the lake’s existence is an ancient dam that was constructed by the Romans in the 3rd century as a means of securing water for caravans heading between Syria and Arabia.The originally Roman structure, was restored, reconstructed and improved and became a monastery during the Byzantine period.

It is thought that Walid I restored and rebuilt parts of Qasr Burqu‘ because it is clearly part of the network patrolling the outlets from Wadi Sirhan, and Walid I was in charge of that region in 708 AD, during his father ‘Abd al-Malik’s reign. On this evidence, the larger enclosure with the cistern in the courtyard was added in the Umayyad era. Another Arabic inscription dating to 1409 has also been found on one of the walls of the fort suggesting that it may have been occupied as late as this year.

On the northeast side, the longest room has several inscriptions as well. The small apsidal room on the left which has a pointed arch has left and right niches and may have been the reception hall that has engaged pilasters on two sides, although there is also some speculation that it was a chapel.

The area also has all the makings of a successful wildlife reserve, as it is already home to gazelles, desert hares, foxes, hyenas and even caracals. The lake area itself is home to a number of bird species and for this reason the RSCN has been lobbying to establish Burqu as a protected reserve, which would fit nicely into its plans to develop tourism in the Eastern Desert.