Attractions   >   AJLOUN CASTLE

27 km northwest of Jerash, on a beautiful short journey through the pine forested northern hills, lays the stronghold Castle of Ajloun (known as Qala’at el-Rabbad), which is strategically perched on a 1250m high hilltop, formerly the site of a Christian monastery and home to a monk named Ajloun.

For its strategic position and commanding views, the historic castle was built, by the Arabs -Saladin’s nephew Izz al-Din Usama- of the Ayyubid dynasty, as part of Saladin’s defensive chain of forts against the Crusaders in AD 1185, and as one in a chain of beacons. The castle was also a strategic message station for the carrier pigeons which relayed messages between Cairo, the headquarters of the Ayyubid’s dynasty, and Baghdad (Iraq) or Damascus (Syria).

The impressive military castle of Ajloun is a fine example of Islamic architecture. It was once surrounded by a sixteen-meter deep moat with a drawbridge, for defense purposes, along with towers that had narrow arrow slits and gaps in the stonework through which boiling oil was poured on assailants. The castle’s chambers were also filled with boulders for hurling at invaders by catapult. The views from the towers are very rewarding through the entire surrounding countryside.

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