THE HOLY LANDS
Karak - Kings Highway
Standing at a strategic location amidst ravines, canyons, and plateaus, the Karak Plateau for long has been home to legendary rulers and magnificent constructions. The Karak Castle, standing tall above the town, is the pinnacle of its history.
For a few thousand years, Karak has been referred to as a walled city, which during the Classical periods was known as the “fortress city of Moab.” As a crucial outpost along the King’s Highway, an Iron-Age road that linked the Red Sea to Damascus, many rulers have vied for control of Karak. Some of the earlier remains from its Moabite rule are less evident, but it’s the medieval period that stands tall, highlighted by the mighty Karak Castle, one of the largest castles found in all of Levant. The perimeter of the castle impresses, but it’s inside the walls that stands it apart from the rest. Numerous chambers and tunnels delve under the main floor plan, with southeast and northwest gates marking the entrance to the subterranean portion.
The majority of the castle was built by the crusaders beginning in 1142. The period of the crusaders holding the fort was relatively short lived though, as only 46 years later the Ayyubids, an Islamic Empire, heralded by Saladin, took control in dramatic fashion. On July 4, 1187, a fierce battle ensued, with Saladin and his Ayyubid army defeating the crusaders, and executing Reynold of Chaltilon - thus ended the rule of the crusaders in Karak. Just a few months later, Saladin gained Jerusalem from crusader hands. Karak under the Ayyubids underwent significant renovations and even became a center of an independent principality. In the 13th century, the crusaders returned. Fearing much bloodshed, a deal was made. The crusaders would regain Jerusalem, but Karak would stay under Ayyubid control. A visit today brings you back into the medieval ages. Wandering the endless tunnels and marveling at the view, it is no wonder Karak has held such high importance since the days of the Moabites.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
We drove from Amman to Karak, traveling mostly along the King’s Highway. It can take as quick as a few hours, or for us, several days as there are endless treasures to explore along the way.
First walking through the underground chambers of Karak and realizing how extensive and well-preserved the corridors are.
Standing atop the Karak Castle and looking in the horizon in all directions. War were fought just to have this strategic viewpoint.
➨ Heart of Edom ~ Read the Story
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
If you thought Karak's might awed you, the next stop along the King's Highway will surely make your jaw drop. It is one of mankind's greatest fusions of craftsmanship with nature. Venture south to the City of Rock, more well known as Petra.