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Qusayr Amra or Qasr Amra is located in present-day Jordan and is an important examples of early Islamic art and architecture. It was built in the 8th century by the Umayyad caliph Walid II as a fortified castle. Today only the foundation of the castle and several smaller structures remain. Indeed, Qusayr Amra is more notable for its frescoes than it architecture. The main entry vault has scenes of hunting and revels, including some erotic scenes. One significant image, known as the “six kings,” depicts the caliph surrounded by the monarchs of neighboring kingdoms above the legend “NIKH” or “victory” emphasizing the caliph’s political and military primacy. The apodyterium, or changing room, is decorated with scenes of anthropomorphized animals. On the walls and ceiling of the tepidarium, or warm bath, are scenes of tropical plants and trees. The caldarium or hot bath’s hemispheric dome is decorated with a detailed depiction of the zodiac and stars, including 35 constellations. It is believed to be the earliest image of the night sky painted on a domed surface. The astrological positions were determined with great accuracy, indicating the advanced state of astrophysical knowledge in the region at the time.

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