Name of Monument:

Hasa Fortress

Location:

Hasa, Jordan

Date of Monument:

The bridge dates to Hegira 1140 / AD 1730s; the fortress to the time of Sultan Mustafa II (AH 1170–87 / AD 1757–74)

Period / Dynasty

Ottoman

Patron(s):

Sultan Mustafa II (AH 1170–87 / AD 1757–74); Aydınlı Abdullah Pasha, Governor of Damascus (r. AH 1142–5 / AD 1730–3).

Description:

An important station on the pilgrimage route in southern Jordan, Hasa lies about 150 km south of Amman, west of the Hijaz railway. The main components of the site are: a square fortress (24 m x 24 m); a water reservoir (23 m x 23 m); a bridge across Wadi al-Hasa and a section of paved road.
The fortress was built of limestone and basalt. The maximum surviving height is about 10 m. The perimeter walls are provided with small undecorated slit windows at two levels. Machicolations (projecting windows, measuring 2.5 m x 1.5 m) are preserved on the west, south and east walls. The entrance, which has a scroll decoration above it, was placed in the middle of the northern wall; it consists of a shallow arched porch and a vaulted passageway. The gate complex leads to a square courtyard measuring 12.5 m x 12.5 m with a rectangular structure at the centre to shelter a 20-m deep well.
On the ground floor nine rooms were organised around a courtyard. Four of the rooms were iwans with slightly pointed vaults. The remaining five were barrel-vaulted rooms with the one adjacent to the south wall of the fortress being the longest (22 m x 4 m).
Two staircases leading up to the first floor were placed on the sides of the entrance of the south room. On the first floor the rooms are preserved only along the southern wall of the fortress. This side is occupied by seven rooms with barrel-vaulted roofs. The room in the centre was probably the mosque.
Part of the second floor above the mosque is preserved but no complete structure can be identified.

View Short Description

Hasa, about 150 km south of Amman, is an important station on the pilgrimage route. The main components of the site are: a fortress from the time of Sultan Mustafa II (AH 1170–87 / AD 1757–74); a reservoir; a bridge built by Aydinli Abdullah Pasha, Governor of Damascus (r. AH 1142–5 / AD 1730–3); and a paved road. The fortress perimeter walls, built of limestone and basalt, have slit windows at two levels; projecting windows are preserved on three walls. The entrance has a scroll decoration above. It leads to a courtyard with a rectangular structure at the centre to shelter a 20-m deep well.

How Monument was dated:

Mehmed Edib (1926) attributes the bridge at al-Hasa to Aydinli Abdullah Pasha the governor of Damascus (r. 1142–5 / 1730–3), while archaeologists Jaussen and Savignac (1909) on the basis of an Arabic verse inscription, suggest that the fortress and the bridge were built by Sultan Mustafa II (1170–87 / 1757–74).

Selected bibliography:

الكردي.حنان، القلاع الأثرية في الأردن، عمان، 1984، ص 34–36.
Burckhardt, J. L., Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, London, 1882, pp.400–401; 658.
Doughty, C. M., Travels in Arabian Deserts, London, 1926.
Edib, M., Manasik al-Hajj, Istanbul, 1779.
Jaussen, A., Savignac, R. P., Mission Archéologique en Arabie, Paris, 1909, pp.31–2.
Musil, A., The Northern Hegaz, New York, 1926.
Peterson, A., Early Ottoman Forts on the Hajj Route in Jordan, unpublished MA thesis, University of Oxford, 1986, pp.50–63.
Peterson, A., “Early Ottoman Forts on Darb al-Hajj”, Levant, Vol. XXI, 1989, pp.97–117.

Citation of this web page:

Mohammad Najjar "Hasa Fortress" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;jo;Mon01;26;en

Prepared by: Mohammad NajjarMohammad Najjar

Mohammad Najjar is an archaeologist and has been Director of Excavations and Surveys at the Department of Antiquities of Jordan since 1988. He studied archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology in Moscow from where he holds his Ph.D. He was affiliated to the Department of Antiquities of Jordan in 1982 as Curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. He was the Technical Director of Cultural Resources Management (sites development) at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities between 1994 and 1997. He is the author of numerous publications on the archaeology of Jordan.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: JO 26

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