Our next and last destination for the day was Ajloun(Ajlun) Castle, located to the west of Jerash.  Ajloun Castle, also known as  Qa’lat ar-Rabad, is an important destination in the historical journey of Jordan. The castle was built in AD 1184-1185 by  Izz al-Din Usama, a commander and nephew of Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi,  to protect the Arab land from the Crusaders.

Ajloun Castle

The Castle originally had four towers around its square boundary, and later in 1214 one more tower was added.  Located on top of the hill,  the fortress controlled a wide stretch of the northern Jordan Valley’s  three main passages that led to it (Wadi Kufranjah, Wadi Rajeb and Wadi al-Yabis), and protected the communication routes between southern Jordan and Syria.

Like most places in Jordan, the earthquakes of 1837 and 1927 harmed the castle the most.  Recently, the Department of Antiquities of Jordan has sponsored a program of restoration and consolidation of the walls and has rebuilt the bridge over the fosse The castle is quiet ordinary from the outside but the interior is full of rambling walkways and staircases.  There is haunting beauty about the lighted corridors and dark balconies. There used to be a water body around the castle to protect from invaders. The only entrance to the castle is through a bridge.

Ajloun Castle 2
Ajloun Entrance

Inside the castle, there is a main room which could have been the waiting room in the olden days. The room has stone benches were people were sitting to rest after a long day. Beyond this on the left is the remarkable Ajlun Archeological Museum, displaying pottery and ceramics as well as other warfare displays and artefacts from the region and on the right there is staircase leading to the upper levels.

Ajloun Sitting
Ajloun Corridors
Ajloun Museum
Ajloun Balcony
The castle offers a splendid view of the neighbouring lands. On the upper level of the castle, one can get a panoramic view of the Jordan and Syria all the way to Jerusalem. Its is here that one can understand the vantage point the castle would have offers to the kingdoms in power to keep an 360 degree watch on the region.
Ajloun3
Ajloun view from top
Ajloun Ruins
Ajlounpanorama
It was fascinating to experience the history of Jordan first hand. Our day ended with a superb cup of Jordanian mint tea and Arabic coffee just outside the castle. The vendor had some unique jugs in which he kept the steaming hot beverage. The tea tasted quite good and different than the tea we fine in India. Happy with the day we boarded the bus to go back and relax at the luxurious Le Royal. Our dinner was at Tawaheen Al Hawa located near Jubilee Gardens,Amman. Again we enjoyed some Jordanian delicacies. Though the options for vegetarians seems limited but the food is cooked with fresh veggies and tastes really good. I loved the hummus and baba ghanoush with pita. The desserts were always a highlight after any meal. Here we were served some sweet balls which tasted like jalebi. All in all it was a fantastic end of a even fantastic day!
Tea vendor