Sunday, 29 June 2008

The King's Highway and Karak Castle

We went with our regular taxi driver to Petra via the King's Highway. We stopped for a breathtaking view of the Wadi Mujeb. You can see how the road snakes its way into the valley and then up the other side. We felt like we were on top of the world as we looked down to the dam below.

Next, he took us to Karak, one of the Crusader castles in the area. It is 1000 meters above the Dead Sea and had great strategic importance. It was build in 1132 by Baldwin I of Jerusalem. It formed part of a great line of crusader castles between Aquaba (on the Red Sea) and Turkey. It lies between Jerusalem and Shobak. It could not hold out against Salah Eddin, the Muslim leader of the time. He attacked it after Reynoud De Chatillon broke several treaties with him. If you see that recent crusade movie, Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom, it portrays some of these events. The Mamluks refortified the castle and later it was even used by the Ottomans.
The Karak Castle museum had a really nice timeline that told us who controlled the area from the neolithic period up until present times. We enjoyed wandering around the castle ruins. Afterward, our driver took us to his friend's restaurant for some delicious barbecued kebabs. He seems to know everyone in Jordan.