Heading south from Madaba on the King’s Highway, you will come across Kerak, the ancient capital of the biblical kingdom of Moab. Kerak is perched on top of a steep hill and is dominated by the largest and best-preserved crusader castle in the area. Kerak is located 140km south of Amman and approximately 1,000m above sea level. A modern city has grown around the ancient ruins and boasts a population of around 20,000 people. Modern Kerak has many restaurants and places to stay.
The City of Kerak has been inhabited since around the Iron Age and was an important city for the Moabites who called it Qir Al Moab. In the Bible the city is called Qer Harreseth.
The construction of the castle began around 1140 under the rule of King Fulk, who called it Crac des Moabites. After passing from ruler to ruler the Castle finally came under the power of the Ottomans. For the Ottomans, the castle played an important role due to it’s location on the crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Greater Syria.
The castle is located in the southern parts of the plateau, and is a very good example of Crusader architecture, which is a mix of European, Byzantine and Arab designs. Towers that project from the top of the castle strengthen the castles walls, and small slits in the wall illuminate the stone vaulted galleries. The castle also contains a mount to the west which completely isolates the site.
We visit Kerak on all of our tours into Jordan.