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Home Africa & Middle East Jordan Jerash and the north Ajloun castle 360° virtual tour

Ajloun castle 360° virtual tour

Qala’at ar-Rabad castle in Ajloun is a fine example of 12th century Islamic military architecture.

1. History

It was built by Izz al-Din Usama, a commander and nephew of Salah ad-Din (Saladin), in 1184-1188 AD. At that time both Karak castle in the south and Bisan in the west were occupied by the Crusaders and this fortress was built to protect the Muslims from them. After Usama's death, a Mamluk governor named Aibak ibn Abdullah enlarged it by adding a new gate to the south-east corner of the fortress in 1214 AD. Although the castle lost its importance after the end of the Crusades, Mamluk governors maintained it properly. They were to get it restored when Mongol invaders destroyed Ajloun in 1260 AD. The castle was also in use during the Ottoman era with a contingent of 50 soldiers set inside it. Supposedly the first European to visit the castle was Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss traveller who found it inhabited by around 40 people in 1812. Destructive earthquakes struck the castle in 1837 and 1927 but there is an ongoing restoration project sponsored by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.

2. What to see

Today the castle houses a small museum with archaeological finds from excavations in the area. Byzantine glassware, Byzantine and Umayyad coins, interesting Islamic mosaics are on display there. A rare stone door is to be seen close to the entrance of the fortress. It is also worth climbing to the top of the castle to marvel at the stunning views of the valley.

3. When to see

The castle is open between 8am and 4pm from October to April and till 7pm during summers (May to September).

4. Location

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