Shobak Jordan

Shobak is a Crusader castle perched on top of a small hill in southern Jordan. Once called "Mont Real", Shobak dates from the same period as Karak. Built in 1115 by Baldwin I. of Jerusalem it was strategically located on a hill on the plain of Edom, along the pilgrimage and caravan routes from Syria to Arabia.

It remained property of the royal family of the Kingdom of Jerusalem until 1142, when it became part of the Lordship of Oultrejordain. Along with Kerak, the castle owed sixty knights to the kingdom. It was held by Philip de Milly, and then passed to Reynald de Chatillon. Reynald used the castle to attack the rich caravans; he also built ships there, transported them overland to the Red Sea, planning to attack Mecca itself. The action of Reynald have been the reason for Sultan Salah ad-Din to invade the kingdom in 1187, Shobak fell to his troops in 1189.

The Mameluks later captured and rebuilt the castle, and little remained of the original Crusader fortifications. The castle's exterior is still impressive, with a forbidding gate and encircling triple wall. Inside the fortress are two churches, ruins of baths, cisterns, archways, old Islamic inscriptions and people can follow over 300 steps down in a well.



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