What a difference 86 years can make. Qa' al Jafr, located c. 50km ENE of Ma'an in Jordan looked the picture of health in 1926 when the Royal Air Force flew over and took this magnificent photograph. A large number of bedouin tents and a small heard of camels can be seen in the landscape, dwarfed by the imposing unfinished 'palace'. The structure was built by Turkish prisoners of war under Auda Abu Tayi, a leader of the Great Arab Revolt who had settled in the region. The location took advantage of a nearby well. The structure, probably inspired by Roman, Crusader and Islamic forts, remained unfinished after his death in 1924.
Today: the outer walls are almost completely invisible and the central enclosure is crumbling rapidly. The ruinous state is surprising considering its relatively young age (under 100 years), but is also a reminder of how the physical remains of the past, even if belonging to a recent era, can decay.
Remains of Qa' al Jafr Fort, October 2011. APAAME_20111013_DLK-0228. Photographer: David Kennedy.