Qasr al-Azraq information
Constructed out of black basalt stone, Qasr al-Azraq was originally three storeys high. Some paving stones in the main entrance have small indentations, carved by former gatekeepers who played a board game using pebbles to pass the time. By the courtyard entrance, look for the carvings of animals and various inscriptions.
Above the entrance is Lawrence’s Room , strategically overlooking the entry and offset with arrow slits for defence. Opposite the entrance, and just to the left, are the remains of an altar , built in the 3rd century AD by the Romans. In the middle of the courtyard is a small mosque , angled as usual to face Mecca – it dates from the Ayyubid period (early 13th century), but was built on the ruins of a Byzantine church. In the northeast corner of the courtyard, a hole with stairs leads down to a well , full of water until about 20 years ago. In the northwest corner are the ruins of the prison .
The northern sections are residential areas with barely discernible ruins of a kitchen and dining room, and nearby storerooms and stables. The tower in the western wall is the most spectacular, and features a huge door made of a single massive slab of basalt. Lawrence describes in his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom how it ‘went shut with a clang and crash that made tremble the west wall of the castle’.