03 December, 2012

Outside Ajloun Castle

Ajloun Castle
In Ajloun, perched on top of a hill, with an excellent 360° view of the surrounding country side, is the rarely visited Ajloun Castle (Qala'at Ar'Rabad in Arabic). Originally built as a square and later enlarged to a rectangular form, of medieval Arabic and Islamic architecture, this fortress is still as imposing as almost two-hundred years ago when it was built during the glorious reign of Salah ad-Din Al Ayyubi. Once in nearby Ajloun town, you can walk uphill the about 5 kilometers (about 3 miles)  and enjoy the awesome scenery; or take a taxi.

Qala'at Ar'Rabad
At the bottom of the Castle, at the entrance, you can buy souvenirs.
Ajloun Castle
Still at the bottom of the Castle, you have an excellent, breathtaking view of the rolling hills and valleys, filled with forests, down below.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
Note: it is easy traveling from Amman to Ajloun. You can travel by bus or by taxi.
Ajloun Castle
By bus from Abdali Bus Station in Amman: as the buses to Ajlun can be rather unreliable, it is best to leave Amman very early in the morning. There are very few buses, and in the afternoon, you may never find any. The bus will leave you in the sleepy town of Ajloun and then you can either walk, or take a taxi from the town, up to the castle.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
Or take a taxi from Amman or from Jerash to the Ayyubid Castle and let it wait for you as you tour the Qala'at. This will be expensive. But if you are in a hurry, then it's best to take a taxi otherwise you can easily be very delayed or even stranded at the Qala'at. Before taking a taxi, negotiate with the taxi driver what you have to pay; and if the taxi has to wait for you at the Castle, be sure to tell him how long you expect to be at the Castle and negotiate the pay.
Ajloun Castle
How long do you need to be at the Castle? Some people take only minutes (maybe due to their being in a hurry) and some take longer. We spent about three hours at the Castle and I still didn't feel like leaving as there was still much to look at and appreciate.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
In life, there are many kinds of pleasures. All related to the five senses. For the eyes, the Castle itself (outside and inside) and the scenery around it, is worth taking as long as you can - to appreciate.
Ajloun Castle
The walls at the bottom of the Castle, are intricately built. It took very skilled craftsmen to shape such finely made walls, in such a very difficult terrain and location. And with enemies any time expected to attack.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
Once at the top, you will have an excellent view of all the hills and valleys around the Castle.
Ajloun Castle
To have an even better and more wonderful view, you can rent a binoculars at the entrance of the huge fortress (or come with your own). At the top, with binoculars, you can clearly see as far as Palestine (in the West) and Syria (in the North-East).
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
Each and every part of the wall outside, was planned and constructed with battle and defense in mind.
Ajloun Castle
Constructed for battle but every care was taken to give the imposing Castle its aesthetic beauty. The original castle had four towers, arrow slits incorporated into the thick walls, and was surrounded by a moat averaging 16 meters (about 52.5 feet) in width and up to 15 meters (about 50 feet) deep.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
It's a testament to the superb architects and the craftsmen of the Castle, that, to this day, the Qala'at is still standing - solid and very much like the way it was built.
Ajloun Castle
The castle has seen many owners and occupiers. Today, that change of hands can be noticed. Many parts of the walls are recent.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
Down below, spread on the hills and in the valleys, is Ajloun town. Ajlun Castle dominated the three main routes leading to the Jordan Valley and protected the trade and commercial routes between Jordan and Syria.
Ajloun Castle
Where else can you have such a stunning, picturesque view?
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
From inside the Castle, the view below is stunning.
Ajloun Castle
The pine trees and the forests can be clearly seen from above here.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
The past and the present. The old and the new. That's what the Kingdom of Jordan has in abundance.
Ajloun Castle
The soldiers who were posted in this Castle, on top of this hill, would have very little time to appreciate the wonderful scenery all around them.
Qala'at Ar'Rabad
But, we, modern day visitors to this extraordinary place do have the privilege of enjoying this very quiet part of Jordan without having to concentrate or focus on guarding; or thinking of or being alert of enemies and attackers. And we have the added luxury of modern day amenities of buses, taxis, electricity and very advanced communication tools. During Al Ayyubi's time, the most advanced means for communication, the soldiers here used, were pigeons.

Ajloun Map

+ Other Wonderful Places to visit in the Kingdom of Jordan:
The River Jordan
The Dead Sea
The Citadel
The Roman Theater
* Jerash
Petra
Kahaf Ahl Kahf
* Rainbow Street, Amman
* Souk JARA, Amman