Azraq Oiasis

Azraq is located about 110 kilometers east of Amman at the junction of roads leading northeast into Iraq and southeast into Saudi Arabia. With 12 square kilometers of lush parklands, pools and gardens, Azraq has the only water in all of the eastern desert. The oasis is also home to a host of water buffalo and other wildlife. There are four main springs which supply Azraq with its water as well as its name, which in Arabic means "blue." Over the past 15 years or so, the water level in Azraq’s


swamps has fallen dramatically due to large-scale pumping to supply Amman and Irbid. This has resulted in the destruction of a large part of the marshlands. While Azraq remains one of the most important oases in the Middle East for birds migrating between Africa and Europe, its declining water levels have led many species to bypass Azraq in favor of other stops. The area was once home to numerous deer, bear, ibex, oryx, cheetah and gazelle, many of which have been decimated in the last sixty years by overzealous hunters.
Although the Iraqi border is far to the east, the town of Azraq has the feel of a border town, as there are no major settlements further east. There are a number of cafés and small hotels, along with a Government Rest House, in Azraq.


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