Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a)
Since 2004 • Cultural
Visited by 4
Most of this archaeological site, which started as a Roman military camp and grew to become a town from the 5th century, has not been excavated. It contains remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods (end of 3rd to 9th centuries AD) and a fortified Roman military camp. The site also has 16 churches, some with well-preserved mosaic floors. Particularly noteworthy is the mosaic floor of the Church of Saint Stephen with its representation of towns in the region. Two square towers are probably the only remains of the practice, well known in this part of the world, of the stylites (ascetic monks who spent time in isolation atop a column or tower). Um er-Rasas is surrounded by, and dotted with, remains of ancient agricultural cultivation in an arid area.
Justification for being a World Heritage Site
Criterion (i): Um er-Rasas is a masterpiece of human creative genius given the artistic and technical qualities of the mosaic floor of St Stephen's church.
Criterion (iv): Um er-Rasas presents a unique and complete (therefore outstanding) example of stylite towers.
Criterion (vi): Umm er-Rasas is strongly associated with monasticism and with the spread of monotheism in the whole region, including Islam.
About the source
Within UNESCO's broad remit, this specialised agency of the UN works towards international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage, designating venues of exceptional value as World Heritage Sites.