Castle of Urwah bin Zubair

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The castle of Urwah (قصر عروة بن الزبير), also known as the Castle of Urwah was discovered and excavated in 2013. The connection between the Urwah ibn Zubair ibn Awaam could not be established, it was merely named after him. The castle, which was built on a mountain, overlooks Al-Aqeeq Valley and its walls and foundations were built with stones cut from the nearby mountains. Its gate was on the southern side and its architectural units spreading around its three courtyards.

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According to tradition Urwah bin Zubair purchased a portion of Khawwat bin Jubair's and converted it into a farm and also built a large fortress on it. Urwah also had a well dug near this complex to water his land for the purpose of cultivation. In 2013, the historical ruins of an Ottoman era castle were unearthed in excavations carried out by a team of archeologists from the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA). Among the discoveries were pottery, glass, tools made of stone, and steatite utensils, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

Modern Excavation and Restoration Efforts

circa 1800 CE

The excavations and restoration works were carried out over two seasons continuously in the valley near the ancient castle named after Urwah Bin al Zubair, grandson of the first Caliph Abu Bakr. The remnants included major portions of the castle, which dates back to the Umayyad era in the first century Hijra, covering an area of 1,200 square meters. The remains of the Umayyad era castle included foundations of eight rooms on an area spreading over 40x30 square meters, and the walls were made of volcanic stones. No archaeological connection between the structure and Urwah could be extablished, the structure was merely named after him after the discovery.

circa 1800 CE

The main construction materials discovered during the third excavation included marble and glass, as well as steatite utensils and ceramics that show how far the Islamic ceramic industry developed during the first and second Hijri centuries. Several pieces of glass utensils and artifacts as well as metal tools apparently used for decoration purposes were also discovered.

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