Name of Monument:

Citadel of Amman (Water Reservoir)

Location:

Amman, Jordan

Date of Monument:

Around hegira 110 / AD 728

Period / Dynasty

Umayyad

Patron(s):

Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (105–25 / AD 724–43).

Description:

Within the Umayyad Citadel to the east of the palatial complex is a round water cistern, 6 m deep with a diameter that exceeds 17.5 m, and which could hold up to 1300 cu m of water. This cistern was the most important source of water at the Citadel. It was fed through inlet channels connected to a system for the collection of rainwater. These channels and the associated settling tank are partially preserved to the west of the cistern. Some earlier architectural elements including columns, shafts and capitals were incorporated into the wall of the cistern as building materials, such as the shaft of a stone column which was placed in the centre of the cistern and re-used as a depth gauge. The base and the walls were covered with a thick layer of hydraulic plaster which can still be seen. Stone steps along the western side lead down into the cistern. This access was necessary in order to clean the interior from the debris collected with the run-off water and to prepare the cistern for the rainy season. A deep well adjacent to the cistern from the north may be part of the water installations necessary to feed water to the bath complex located to the west of the citadel. This round cistern is closely related architecturally and stylistically to the local tradition of rectangular cisterns, despite the superficial similarity to the round Aghlabid cisterns found at Kairouan Tunisia

View Short Description

The water cistern on the Amman Citadel lies to the east of the Umayyad palatial complex. It is round, 6 m deep with a diameter of over 17.5 m, and could hold up to 1300 cu m of water. This cistern, fed by inlet channels connected to a rainwater collection system, was the most important source of water at the Citadel. Some earlier architectural elements were incorporated into the cistern wall, and a column shaft was re-used as a depth gauge. The interior was covered with a thick layer of hydraulic plaster. Stone steps along the western side led down into the cistern.

How Monument was dated:

By way of archaeological excavations within the palatial complex the cistern was dated to around 730 / the first half of the eighth century AD.

Selected bibliography:

Almagro, A., “El Palacio Omeya de Amman”, in La Arquitectura, Madrid, 1983.
Creswell, K. A. C., and Allan, J. W., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, Cairo, 1989, pp.169–73.
Khouri, R. G., Amman: A Brief Guide to the Antiquities, Amman, 1988, p.17.
Koutsoukou, A., et al, The Great Temple of Amman: The Excavations, Amman, 1997, pp.16–18.
Northedge, A. E., Studies on Roman and Islamic Amman, Vol. I., Oxford, 1992, p.152.

Citation of this web page:

Mohammad Najjar "Citadel of Amman (Water Reservoir)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;jo;Mon01;34;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 34

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