Qasr ibn Wardan (قصر أبن وردان)

Qasr ibn Wardan


Location: 60 km (37 mi) North- East from Hama Map

Constructed: 6th century


Description of Qasr ibn Wardan

Qasr ibn Wardan is a medieval settlement constructed 60 km (37 mi) North- East from Hama in Syria. Qasr ibn Wardan was constructed by the Byzantines in the 6th century during reign of Emperor Justinian I (ruled 527–565) as part of his massive attempt to reinstate Roman Empire as a World Power. In the West his armies took over Italy and North Africa, while in the East he ordered construction of frontier fortresses to defend his empire from the enemy intrusions. Impressive settlement that was erected in the Syrian desert was supposed to impress Sassanid Persians and local Bedouins and deter any possible attacks in the future. This complex consisted of a main administrative building, military barracks for Byzantine soldiers and a beautiful church constructed from two types of stone. In the early medieval period it was covered by a dome with a cross that was visible from a large distance away. Over time fortress was abandoned and many of the structures were left for natural elements. However unlike other Byzantine cities Qasr ibn Wardan was situated in a region with a low population. This preserved many of its structures from looting and quarrying for stone.


Ibn Wardan Palace

The palace is located to the east of the Syrian city of Hama, at a distance of 60 km, where a group of three ancient buildings appear to those approaching them in the distance as if they were the specter of a great city consisting of three building blocks:

the palace
The church is to the west of the palace
The camp is south of the palace.
Architectural style
The palace is characterized by a style called ablaq (i.e. alternating stones in two rows and two different colors during construction). This alternation exists throughout the palace and its walls, in addition to an alternation between rows of brick and mortar mixed with gravel and calcined, and between three rows of basalt stone. The entrances are made up of large pieces of basalt stone, which is made of Historically, it is the culmination of a predecessor Byzantine era and a prelude to a successor Arab and Islamic era.

Architecturally, we can see the rich urban prosperity in each of its sections.


Naming the palace

It is clear that the naming and attribution to Ibn Wardan is purely Arabic and is later than the construction of the palace, and it is not in fact that Ibn Wardan was the owner or executor of the building. Rather, the attribution is to an influential Bedouin figure who was known about three centuries ago (Ibn Wardan), as this figure used the palace as his residence (for comings and goings). It was the Bedouin custom for sites to belong to whoever among them took possession of them, even if for a short period. It is likely that Ibn Wardan is from the Anza tribe.

It is also known as the Monastery of the Arches.


Sections of the archaeological collection

1- A great cruciform palace.
2- A large square, vaulted church.
3- A huge military barracks
The date 562-564 is noted on the upper windows of the church and the palace.

Time of building the palace
The history of the palace dates back to the reign of Emperor Justinian.


The palace

It is the most beautiful of the three facilities, the most prestigious, and the most spacious, with a cruciform shape. Its building occupies an area estimated at 2000 square meters in a square shape, with a square sky courtyard in the middle, with a side length of 25.5 metres.

Southern section
It consists of two floors (large halls - rooms). In the middle of the group of this section is a large iwan, a large hall with two halls on the east and west.

Eastern section
It is a hallway extending to the north and one to the west. Its ceiling is made up of arches and a tunnel roof that opens into the inner courtyard. To the south of this entrance there is an ancient water well.

Northern section
It consists of one row of rooms with two small towers protruding outward.

Western section
It consists of eight rooms and above them is another floor, the supports of which are still there.