Al-Ukhaidir Fortress

The Fortress of Al-Ukhaidir (Arabic: حصن الأخيضر‎) or Abbasid palace of Ukhaider is located roughly 50 km south of Karbala, Iraq. It is a large, rectangular fortress erected in 775 AD with a unique defensive style. Constructed by the Abbasid caliph As-Saffah's nephew Isa ibn Musa,[1] Ukhaidir represents Abbasid architectural innovation in the structures of its courtyards, residences and mosque. Excavations at Ukhaidir were conducted in the early 20th century by Gertrude Bell, who wrote the first major report on the remains.[2] Ukhaidir was an important stop on regional trade routes, similar to Atshan and Mujdah.[3] The complex comprises a primary hall, a large Iwan, a reception hall and servants quarters.[3] The fortress exemplifies Abbasid architecture in Iraq by demonstrating the "despotic and the pleasure-loving character of the dynasty" in its grand size but cramped living quarters.[4]

Al-Ukhaidir Fortress
حصن الأخيضر
Karbala Governorate, Iraq
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress-Iraq-حصن الأخيضر.jpg
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress near Karbala in Iraq
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress حصن الأخيضر is located in Iraq
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress حصن الأخيضر
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress
حصن الأخيضر
Coordinates32°26′26″N 43°36′08″E / 32.440556°N 43.602222°E / 32.440556; 43.602222
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress/Palace

Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy and Louis Massignon believed that the fortress used to be a pre-Islamic winter palace, built by an Iranian architect for the prince of Al-Hira. Therefore, it could be the renowned Qasr al-Sadir. The current name could be related to Isma'il ibn Yusuf al-Ukhaidhir from Banu Ukhaidhir who launched a rebellion against the Abbasid, then later he became the governor of Kufa with the support of Qarmatians.[5]

World Heritage StatusEdit

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on July 7, 2000 in the Cultural category.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bell, Gertrude (1914). Palace and Mosque at Ukhaidir: A Study in Early Mohammadan Architecture. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  3. ^ a b c The Fortress of Al-Ukhaidar - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  4. ^ Hillenbrand (1999).
  5. ^ Houtsma, M. Th. (1993). E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936. Leiden ; New York : E.J. Brill. p. 994. ISBN 9004097961.


Coordinates: 32°26′26″N 43°36′08″E / 32.44056°N 43.60222°E / 32.44056; 43.60222