©Jane Taylor/www.janetaylorphotos.com

Qasr al-Abd lies near the center of a well-watered, 75-acre estate known as Airaq al-Amir. During the time of Hyrcanus, waters that drained into the valley supplied a small, artificial lake that surrounded the castle on all sides. The lake’s southern retaining wall is still evident in the prominent bank marked with an arrow at the bottom of the photograph. The limestone cliffs north of the qasr (marked with an arrow at the top of the photograph) contain banks of caves that the Tobiads used for protection, to entertain, and possibly to inter their dead.