Al Karak Travel Guide

  • Madaba mosaic of Kerak Castle
    Madaba mosaic of Kerak Castle
    by angiebabe
  • Al Karak
    by angiebabe
  • Al Karak
    by angiebabe

Al Karak Things to Do

  • Krak des Moabites

    Perched on hill that dominates the surrounding arid countryside, Krak des Moabites is the castle that gave Kerak its name. It was built in 1142 AD by Payen le Bouteiller, a Crusader Lord under King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. The site he chose was once an important city in the ancient kingdom of Moab and remained of some importance during the Roman...

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  • Turkish Coffee in Kerak

    Driving from the Dead Sea to Petra in late December 2010, we stopped for a quick Turkish coffee in the centre of Kerak. The friendly gentleman in the attached photo made us our coffee.

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  • The Castle

    You may decide to wander around the castle.a word of warniing: it is not another Krak de Chevalier in Syria! This site is far smaller because a lot of it has been built on. Much of the modern town perches on the old castle site. As you approach by road stoop your car to take in the huge walls and earthworks. Remember the fantastic view down from...

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  • Crusaders in Jordan

    This is one of a string of Crusader Castles in the region. While not as impressive as the the Crac Des Chevaliers it should not be missed if you have even the slightest interest in Castles.The Castle itself is literally next to the city but unlike the Crac you won't be hounded by wanna be guides than thus have plently of time to wander around...

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  • Castle Kerak

    Despite what the guides by the entrance may tell you, the castle is not that big. You can get around it in an hour or two, and if you are careful, you won't miss a thing. You certainly won't get lost. There are a lot of nooks and crannies. The important parts are all explained with English notice boards.Entrance to the castle is just 1JD.

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  • Passageways, Karak Castle

    From the Norther tip, head back in the direction of the Castle ruins. The path leads to an underground passageway, the begining of vaulted rooms, chambers and underground paths.Tip: Take a headlight or flashlight with you to get the best out of your visit.

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  • Northern End, Karak Castle

    After visiting the museum, continue along the old Castle Walls to the Northern tip. Be careful climbing the stairs to the second level. You'll get spectacular views of the valley and surrounding hills of Karak.

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  • Museum, Karak Castle

    Just past the entrance gate where you purchased your ticket, a path leads downhill to it's Museum. A large plaza opens up to the entrance way. The staircase and plaza are restored with new stones. Admission is included in the ticket price. The museum covers the history of Jordan and surrounding area, it's constant invasions, and timelines.

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  • See Karak Castle

    Kerak is amidst a bustling little town, at the top of its steep hill. Pass by the many shops heading uphill. There is a large plaza in front and restaurants across from it. Cross the bridge to the castle, over its moat, and enter through the main gate. Purchase your entrance ticket for 1JD, a sign maps the layout of the Castle, and its small museum...

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  • Views from the castle

    Up from the castle, if you walk to the upper floors (not necesary to climb up to the top of the walls) you will have great views from the valley and all the surrounding areas.

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  • The Castle

    The castle or fortress is really big. One can easily find it once you're near Karak, as it is in the top of a hill, dominating the whole town. During the byzantin period, the city was the see of a bishopric. And in the year 1140, the building of the fortress began, under the period of the domination of the crusaders. Some years later, the arabs won...

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  • Lower Court

    The Lower Court seems to have been principally dedicated to storage and defence. The most impressive feature of the Lower Court are the underground galleries.

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  • Upper Court

    At the Upper Court you can find the Mamluk Iwan and Mosque. The south end of the Upper Court is dominated by the Keep.

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  • Upper Court

    The castle is built on two levels, corresponding to the Upper and Lower Courts and an Inner Wall separates two courts. The Upper Court contains many of the main buildings of the castle, suche as the Crusader Church...

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  • West Front

    The West Front has got towers at its two corners, and a large West Tower between them. The southwest corner and the tower are protected by a glacis. The principal entrance to the Mamluk castle was through the West Front.

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  • East Front

    The East Front has four towers. A steep masonry slope or glacis runs around the bottom of the outer wall from the middle of the cast front to the south front.

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  • Outer walls

    The massive North Front is strengthened by two corner towers. The entrance which you passed to enter to the castle is modern and, originally the entrance in the North Front was across a wooden bridge spanning the North Ditch, and through a small gate.

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  • Crusader buildings

    Crusader masonery is characterised by the use of large, roughly cut blocks of hard, dark limestone. The Mamluk builders used a soft limestone, neatly cut into rectangular blocks, but with a rough or rusticated outer face.

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  • Construction

    The castle only gradually reached its present form. The two main building phases are Crusader (1142-1188 A.D.) and Mamluk (1263-1517 A.D.). The North and East Fronts and many structures of the Upper Court are predominantly Crusader work. The Keep and the Lower Court are Mamluk constructions, although they rest in part upon Crusader foundations.

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  • Al Karak castle

    The castle was built by crusaders and then reconstructed by Mamelucs. It may be not so imressive as European medieval castles, say Carcassonne, from the outside, but the major thing about Karak are underground galleries, which you can enter and explore. Sometimes, it is useful to have an electric lamp (which I did not have). For more pictures, see...

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  • From the other side

    That's the other side of the castle, the walls are not so high. That's also where was located the main entrance to the castle!

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  • Impressive Landscape

    If only for the lanscape, it makes full sense to climb to the top of the castle..This kind of fortress was always built at the top of something!

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  • the Church

    This is the remaining of the church. It makes sense to have one since the crusaders were Christians!!As a side note, nothing to be proud about "our" holy warriors! Just like the modern islamic terrorists, they were pure barbarians (remember the torture of Renaud de Chatillon at the previous tip?).At this time the Arabic civilisation was much more...

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  • The wall

    Quite impressive from the top!! Even more when you know the torture invented by Renaud De Chatillon, the second owner of the castle...When someone was sentenced to death, his head was first protected with a wooden structure (so that he would be conscient longer) and then thrown off the wall!

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Al Karak Restaurants

  • MiguelMV's Profile Photo

    by MiguelMV Written Jan 22, 2006

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    Situated very close to the entrance of the fortress in Al Karak. This restaurant offers a buffet lunch for 9 dinars (drinks not included). The buffet was not the best that we had during our days in Jordan, but was still ok. If the weather is good, you can take a sit outside, and have lunch with the views of the fortress' walls.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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Al Karak Transportation

  • Getting Here

    By bus or taxi there are two ways into Kerak, via the Desert Highway or the King's Highway. The Desert Highway is faster, but it's flat and boring. The King's Highway is spectacular. Many people use the castle as an hours stop-over on the way to Petra. It's about 2 hours on the Desert Highway from Amman by minibus, and another 2-3 hours to Petra...

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  • Bus to Karak Castle

    The Crusader Castle lies midway between Amman and Petra, the entrance ticket is 1JD. To get there, drive or take a bus from Amman from Wahadat Bus Station downtown.From Aqaba via the Dead Sea, go to the small bus station in the City Centre (next to a Mosque). Start your visit with the earliest bus (7:30am-8:00am), the trip is about 3hrs, and the...

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  • Bus and Taxi

    To get To Karak was got the bus from the capital Amman.We wanted to get from Karak to Petra so wegot the bus from Karak to Tafila. The from Tafila to Petra we got a taxi. It was such an amazingly decorated taxi, there was even carpet in the ashtray! (~_~}

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Al Karak Warnings and Dangers

  • antistar's Profile Photo
    That's a big coin!

    by antistar Written Feb 4, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The coin in the picture is big. Bigger than a 2 euro coin, the biggest European coin. The ant is big. About as big as an Australian meat ant. And probably a couple of centimeters long. They are all over the castle. I sat down for a while before I noticed I was surrounded by them. Thankfully, despite my instant feelings of itchiness, they didn't appear to have entered my clothing.

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Al Karak Favorites

  • Its got a bit of History

    The Karak fortress was refortified and strengthened in the 13th century, But in a later earthquake 3 of the new towers collapsed.In the 1880's thousands of Turkish troups were stationed in Karak due to infighting between the local Christians and Muslims. Many of the Local Christians then moved to Madaba and Ma'in further north

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  • Karak Museum

    I think the only othe Crusader castle I have been to is Nimrods in the Golen Heights. Apparently you could always see one Crusader castle from the other. The line Crusader castles in this area streched from Aqaba in the South all the way up to Turkey.There is also a small museum at the Castle, its down a flight of stairs was you enter the...

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