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HELLENISTIC PALACE OF QASR EL-ABED
The ruins of the small but beautiful Hellenistic palace of Qasr el-Abed (Castle of the Slave) lie on a grassy plain near the village of Iraq el-Amir, approximately 22 km west of the capital Amman, and are considered to be one of Jordan’s rare and finest examples of Hellenistic architecture dating back to the second century BC. The fortified palace which was built out of white marble, with beasts of gigantic sizes carved on it, was once surrounded by a wall and is believed to have been enclosed by a large pool or a moat. The setting and the wonderful sculpted lions on the castle’s walls are the highlights today. The palace was badly damaged by a devastating earthquake in 362 AD.
In the village of Iraq el-Amir, about 500 meters from the castle, are eleven rock cut caves known as “Caves of the Prince” with carved doorways leading to a network of rooms, believed to be tombs. Iraq el-Amir Handicrafts Village is part of a community development project, established to regenerate the village of Iraq el-Amir, the Handicrafts Centre has several workshops for hand-made paper, ceramics and weaving along with a food-processing centre where local produce items are prepared.