Essential Architecture-  Jordan

Mshatta Palace






c. 750






  Relief panel
  Facade of basilical hall
One of the most famous desert castles of the early Islamic period.
The palace of Mshatta is located on the border of the desert in Jordan (about 25 km south-west of Amman). It is generally dated to the late Umayyad period (the reign of Walid II) although an Abbasid date has also been suggested.
The palace consists of a large square enclosure with four semi-circular buttress towers. Outside the enclosure are the remains of a large bath house which has recently been excavated.

The Mshatta Facade is a facade from the desert residential palace of Mshatta from the 8th century, currently installed in the south wing of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. It is part of the permanent exhibition of the Museum für Islamische Kunst dedicated to Islamic art from the 8th to the 19th centuries.

The facade belonged to the Mshatta palace, which was excavated about 30 km south of the contemportary Jordanian capital of Amman. It is part of a winter residence and storage halls from the Umayyad period. The building of the palace probably dates to the era of the caliph Al-Walid II (743-744). After Al Walid was murdered, it had been deserted and later ruined in an earthquake. Unusually for an Umayyad building, the whole structure is built from burnt bricks resting on a foundation layer of finely dressed stone. The name of the place, Mshatta, is a name used by the Bedouins in the area, and the original name remains in fact unknown.

The remains of the palace were excavated and discovered in 1840. The facade was a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II to Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. A large part of it was brought to the then Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (today: Bode Museum) in Berlin in 1903. In 1932 it has been reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum. It was seriously damaged during the Second World War and the bombardment of Berlin. Today, it is one of the most important exhibitions of the Museum für Islamische Kunst in the Pergamon Museum. It was reconstructed to a 33 metres long, 5 metres high facade, with two towers, demonstrating early Muslim art.