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.
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
|Names:||Krak de Montreal · Mons Regalis · Shobak Castle|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||30.531495° N, 35.560759° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Shobak Castle|
- Eyewitness Travel Guide to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1st ed.
- The Crusader Castles - Jordan Tourism Board
- Lonely Planet Jordan, p. 184.
- Photos of Shobak Castle - here on Sacred Destinations
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.