Hisham's Palace

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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Hisham's Palace (قصر هشام‎, Qaṣr Hishām), also known as the Khirbat al-Mafjar (خربة المفجر) is an important early Islamic archaeological site of the Umayyad dynasty from the first half of the 8th century CE. It is located five km north of the town of Jericho, at Khirbat al-Mafjar in the West Bank.

Spreading over 60 hectares (150 acres), it consists of three main parts: a palace, an ornate bath complex, and an agricultural estate. Also associated with the site is a large park or agricultural enclosure (ḥayr) which extends east of the palace. An elaborate irrigation system provided the complex with water from nearby springs.


circa 710 CE


circa 710 CE


circa 710 CE

Bath Complex
The bath complex is located just north of the palace across an open area. This free-standing structure is approximately thirty meters square, and three of its sides feature round exedrae which project out from the building. The east face of the bath had an ornate entrance in its center, flanked by exedrae. Inside the main square hall was a pool. The entire interior floor surface of the bath complex was paved with spectacular mosaic decoration. A special reception room, or diwan, was entered from the northwest corner. The floor of this room was paved with the famous "tree of life" mosaic, depicting a lion and gazelles at the foot of a tree. The actual bathing rooms were attached to the northern wall of the complex, and were heated from below the floor by hypocausts.


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