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Al-Karak Castle Reviews
The Biggest Crusader Castle in Jordan Jan 11, 2010
Al Karak Castle belonged to Raynald of Chatillon, a Lord of Outremer. From Karak, Raynald harassed the trade caravans and even attempted an attack on Mecca itself. In 1183 Saladin besieged the castle in response to Raynald's attacks. The siege famously took place during a marriage ceremony. In response for receiving gifts from the to-be-weds Saladin ordered his siege engines not to attack the tower where the wedding was taking place. The siege was eventually relieved by the King of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV. Interestingly this is the fact used as basis for the scene from the film ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ when the army of Jerusalem meets Saladin, but battle is not joined. After the Battle of Hattin in 1187, Saladin besieged Karak again and finally captured it in 1189.
Unfortunately my pictures of this splendid castle are not fantastic due to poor weather. In fact during our first attempt to reach Karak from Petra (Wadi Musa) we had to turn back due a snow blizzard! I’ve visited a lot of Crusader sites, but this is one of the best! Take a torch, as there are many dark passages (!) to explore. The town of Karak, is encased in their own city walls and is very quaint. The inhabitants are extremely friendly to the few tourists who make it here. The best view of the castle is from the opposite hill, where Saladin set up his main siege engines. The eight-metre thick turret walls survived the attack. A hidden staircase allows you to reach the top of this tower.
To get to Al Karak, take a taxi from Amman or Wadi Musa for 30 – 40 Jordanian pounds.
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