Shobak Castle

Shobak Castle is an early 12th-century Crusader castle in barren surroundings. It is perched on the side of a rocky, conical mountain at 1,300m (4,265ft) above sea level, looking out over fruit trees below. Although not so well-preserved or visited as Kerak Castle, its isolation from the nearest town makes it more atmospheric.

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History of Shobak Castle

Shobak was originally called Krak de Montreal or Mons Regalis. Built in 1115, it was the first of many fortifications built beyond the Jordan by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem to guard the road from Egypt to Damascus. It successfully resisted a number of sieges until it fell to Saladin's troops in 1189.

What to See at Shobak Castle

Much of what remains of Shobak Castle today are reconstructions and additions from the Mamluk period, but there are numerous original Crusader features as well. The northeast corner of the castle has a keep with Quaranic inscriptions in Kufic script, possibly dating to the time of Saladin. There are two churches in Shobak Castle. The first one, near the entrance, and has an apse, two smaller niches, and a baptistery off the west side. The second church is near the southeast corner of the castle (next to a Mamluk watchtower with more Kufic script), with a Crusader cross carved in the east wall. Beneath the church are catacombs, which contain Islamic tablets, Christian carvings, big round rocks used in catapults, and what is claimed to be Saladin's throne.

Quick Facts on Shobak Castle

Site Information
Names:Krak de Montreal · Mons Regalis · Shobak Castle
Categories:castles; ruins
Styles:Romanesque
Dates:1115
Status: ruins
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:30.531495° N, 35.560759° E
Address:Jordan
Lodging:View hotels near Shobak Castle
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Eyewitness Travel Guide to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1st ed.
  2. The Crusader Castles - Jordan Tourism Board
  3. Lonely Planet Jordan, p. 184.

More Information

Map of Shobak Castle

Below is a location map and aerial view of Shobak Castle. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.