Al Karak, once a part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, lies to the south of Amman on the King’s Highway. An ancient Crusader stronghold, it is situated on a hilltop about 1000 metres above sea level and is surrounded on three sides by a valley. Karak commands a magnificent view of the Dead Sea. A city of about 20,000 people has been built up around the castle and continues to boast a number of restored 19th century Ottoman buildings, restaurants, and places to stay and so forth. The town is built on a triangular plateau, with the castle at its narrow southern tip. It is however, undoubtedly Karak Castle, which dominates the scene.
It is a notable example of Crusader architecture, with a mixture of European, Byzantine and Arab design. The walls are strengthened with rectangular projecting towers, long stone vaulted galleries are illuminated only by narrow arrow and weapon slits and there is a deep moat extending from the west which completely isolates the site.
In the lower court of the castle, is Karak Archaeological Museum. The museum outlines local history and archaeology of the Karak region. Al Karak has been inhabited since at least the Iron Age. Indeed, the roster of peoples who once controlled this ancient hilltop fortress reads like a who’s who of Middle Eastern history: Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Muslim conquerors and the Ottomans were among the successive occupants, as each overran their predecessor. The castle’s heyday was in the 12th century, when it was one of the key fortresses the Crusaders used to protect the Holy Land.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Karak, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Jordan