Azraq

Azraq is a unique wetland oasis located in the heart of the semi-arid Jordanian eastern desert, one of several beautiful nature reserves managed by the RSCN. Its attractions include several natural and ancient-built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a large mudflat known as Qa'a Al-Azraq. A wide variety of birds stop at the reserve each year to rest during their arduous migration routes between Asia and Africa. Some stay for the winter or breed within the protected areas of the wetland.

The best time to visit Al-Azraq is in late autumn, winter or spring. Winter rains often create pools and marshes over the reserve, which continue to attract many seasonal species of birds. The success of bird-watching visits depends largely on the amount of water that has accumulated in the reserve.


Azraq has long been an important settlement in a remote and now-arid desert area of Jordan. The strategic value of the town and its castle (Qasr Azraq) is that it lies in the middle of the Azraq oasis, the only permanent source of fresh water in approximately 12,000 square kilometres of desert.


The town is located on a major desert route that would have facilitated trade within the region. The Azraq oasis has a long history beginning in the Lower Palaeolithic period. Many Palaeolithic sites have been documented in the Azraq Wetlands Reserve. During the Epipalaeolithic period the oasis was also an important focus of settlement. Nabatean period settlement activity has also been documented in the area. Qasr Azraq was built by the Romans in the 3rd century A.D., and was heavily modified in the Middle Ages by the Mameluks. In the Umayyad period a water reservoir was constructed in southern Azraq. During the Arab Revolt in the early 20th century, Qasr Azraq was an important headquarters for T. E. Lawrence.