Al-Karak – crusader jewel in Jordan

The castle of Al-Karak in Jordan – الكرك – الأردن  – was visited by my good self in 2013. It is one of the great crusader forts still standing in the region. Unfortunately, three years after my visit, ISIS terrorists attacked the town and the castle. Eleven Jordanians and a Canadian tourist were killed during the horrific assault.

It was built in 1142 on the site of far more ancient fortifications dating back to the Iron Age. The crusader in charge was Payen le Bouteiller, Lord of Montreal. The notorious Raynald of Chatillon stayed at the castle – a character made famous by the movie Kingdom of Heaven.

It’s a fantastic piece of crusader architecture with plenty of tunnels and dark chambers. It withstood Saracen sieges in 1173 and 1183 but finally fell to Saladin in 1188 after a siege of more than a year.