Sean McLachlan returns with an amazing story. He just got back from 17 days in Iraq. That's right, he actually visited Iraq as a tourist. Follow the link to read his fascinating series. Today he's talking to us about exploring an early medieval castle in the desert.
About 50 km (30 miles) southwest of Karbala, there's a mystery standing in the middle of the desert. It's called Ukhaidher ("small green place") Castle and is said to have been built in the 8th century, right at the beginning of the Abbasid dynasty. An oasis stands nearby, hence the name.
Beyond that, little is known about Ukhaidher Castle. Some believe it actually dates from before the Islamic era, to the time of a Christian Arab named Ukhaidher who was expelled from Arabia in 635 AD. Others say it was a Muslim hunting lodge, or a retirement palace for an aged prince.
Whether it has its origins in the pre-Islamic era or not, it was certainly used by the Abbasids and it certainly is impressive. Its walls stand 21 meters (69 ft.) high.
Thanks for having me, A.J.! Besides blogging for Gadling, I run Civil War Horror, dedicated to dark fiction, the American Civil War, and the Wild West. Guest bloggers are always welcome. I'm the author of numerous books including A Fine Likeness, a historical novel set in Civil War Missouri, and The Night the Nazis Came to Dinner, a collection of dark speculative fiction. The electronic editions are both on sale at the moment. You can also check me out on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and my Amazon author's page.