BAR 38:03, May/Jun 2012
The Origin of the Name “Castle of the Slave”
In Arabic, the name Qasr al-Abd means “castle of the slave (or servant).” No one knows for sure how it got this name. According to local legend, mentioned in the early accounts of both Claude Conder and Howard Crawford Butler,a the story goes as follows:
One day a local prince goes off to participate in the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, and leaves his beautiful daughter in the care of his faithful slave. The slave, of course, falls in love with the daughter, who then agrees to marry him, but only if he builds her a fine castle. In his great zeal, the slave manages to cut enormous stones from the cliffs and uses them to build the beautiful castle. But just as he is finishing and placing the castle’s last stone, he hears the prince on his horse returning from the Hajj. The slave is so frightened and distraught that he drops the heavy stone on himself and dies.