Crusader Castles

Karak Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 22 › view all entries
Wadi Mujib

(This is now the third time I'm writing this enry...the Internet keeps eating my words and finding them not good enough.  The first time this was super hilarious to read, the second it was humerous, this time I think I'll be lucky if it's even readable...thanks for bearing with me)

We started out the day with a debate: How do we get to Petra?  Do we take the bus and save money or do we hire a car again and see the sights along the way?  Thankfully the same French couple that split the car with us yesterday were game o do it again.  Yay!  Some luck!  Only 15 JD a person and three stopsa: Wadi Mujib, Karak Castle, Dana Nature Preserve.

Karak

Wadi Mujib is a huge canyon (or gorge?  I don't really know the difference)  Being summer there was no water flowing but the scenery was lovely.  Topping it all off were the goat herder boys totally ignoring our presence.  They were just messing with animals and donkey (everybody has a donkey here- I love donkeys!).  We stopped at a lookout and walked down the side of a hill for a little bit.  It was a mos refreshing break from the twistiness of the car.

About an hour later we came to the town of Al-Karak, whos skyline is dominated by Karak Castle.  It's a remnant of the Crusades, most famously lived in by Renauld de Chatillion (he's featured in the movie Kingdom of Heaven, as are los of Jordanian sites).  He was famous for his torture techniques- one being when he padded his prisoners heads inside wooden boxes and then threw them off the caslte walls.

Dana Nature Preserve
  They wouldn't pass out from a head wound hanks to the padding and they would die from their wounds...their screams and moans would be heard in the dungeons, which were right above where the prisoners landed.  Nice guy, eh?

Karak castle is much bigger and better than it seems at first.  It was originally 7 stories high, but most of those are now underground.  After the Crusades the castle was used by Saladin's army then the invading Turks.  It was eventually destroyed by an eathquake.

While we were crawling around the ruins (and crawl you can, free as you please) we met an interesing Jordanian man.  He loves Karak Castle and had brought his grandchildren there to play that day.  He gave us a little history of the building and he area and the people who ruled.

finally some solitude
  He had this to say:
"The Turks once ruled all of this <sweeping his hands across the vista>.  They were very strong, big strong men.  Now, though, not so strong- they are sleeping.  Only sleeping..."

Ryan also had his first taste of Arabic coffee at a coffee shop here- he says it tastes like dirt.  Another hour and half drive took us to Dana, where the scenery is unreal.  If I ever come back to Jordan I want to come camping here.  It's like a fantasy landscape or something.

We all arrived in Petra about 3pm.  Our hotel is small and dark but the owner is extremel helpful and nice.  He arranged for us to go to Little Pera, a small (and older) site about 5kms away from "Big" Petra.  The tombs here are cruder, less polished, and mostly cave-like.  At the end of the valley there are some ancient stairs carved into the stone- we followed them up and onto a sortof balconey-type place.  The scenery was magical- and not another soul around. 

After being around my family and other travelers for so many days it was sublime to sit there and soak up the quiet of nature...

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Wadi Mujib
Wadi Mujib
Karak
Karak
Dana Nature Preserve
Dana Nature Preserve
finally some solitude
finally some solitude
Little Petra
Little Petra
top 4 floors of Karak
top 4 floors of Karak
Karak
photo by: vances