Qalat Jabar

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Raqqa, Syria

Qalat Jabar Raqqa Reviews

Paulianthomas Pauliant…
30 reviews
Qalat Jabar Island Fortress Jun 26, 2011
Qalat Jabar

Located on scenic Lake Assad, the route to Castle Jabar has plenty of possible photo stops of lush green valleys and gentle rolling hills. Jabar was built in the 11th century, was briefly held by the Crusaders, and was finally destroyed by the Mongols.

Jabar was once an island, though now a link road ferries tourists to its impressive walls. Effectively two castles sat on top of each other, which in turn is sat on top of a motte and dry moat, which is in turn sat on top of a second motte rising out of a lake. Jabar is BIG. The towers you can see in the photos are eight stories high. To enter the castle, an impressive rock cut cave-like passage must be climbed to the first level. Spectacular views of Lake Assad are afforded from both the first and second level.

The castle has a small museum on site, and the friendly caretakers will open it for you and offer you some Sheesha. Unfortunately the castle is a bit dirty, and not as well maintained as nearby Najm. Huge piles of rubbish and bottles are a common site, and graffiti is on a lot of the castle walls. Climb the hill opposite the castle for a good photograph angle.

The most unusual thing about Jabar, is the huge pit on the top level. It can only be described as the ‘Sarlak Pit’ of Tattooine from Star Wars. Imagine a well, that has collapsed on itself with loose soil leading to a rapid drop of which no amount of leaning can see the bottom. Now imagine the well is as wide as a bus, and at least 50 metres deep. I have no idea why it is there, but perhaps it has claimed a few tourists. It truly is quite terrifying as you edge around the rim to continue the route. I usually joke about and health and safety in the Middle East, but here I was quite concerned.

Qalat Jabar is located near Raqqa and Aleppo, to get there you will need to take a taxi. It is a bit far for a daytrip, so it is better visit Jabar in a loop between Damascus and Aleppo, visiting other sites of interest on the way. Places of interest nearby include Qalat Najm and Resafa (see reviews), which I visited on the way to Aleppo after leaving Palmyra. The site has a small ticket office that sells some refreshments. If you’re shy of your hand being held by other men, and general men-on-men hand holding action then this is a good place to build your confidence.
The causeway is a new addition.
Lower walls.
The size of this lower tower gives…
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1 review