Saturday, May 4, 2013

On the road to Petra

On the road to Petra, we took the time to visit two Crusader castles: Karak & Shawbak

Karak Castle

Karak Castle is one of the best preserved Crusader castle in Jordan. Built after the First Crusade, it held a strategic position overlooking the Dead Sea & the caravan routes between Syria to Egypt & Arabia.

The castle is inextricably linked to the Crusader knight Reynald of Chatillon, a knight from the Second Crusade. Reynald was a nasty piece of work – there are stories of Reynald throwing prisoners from the castle walls. In a twist, he encased their heads in boxes first, in the hope that this would stop them losing consciousness before they hit the rocks below.

What a guy !!

He constantly attacked the camel trains passing by the castle, despite there being a truce between the Crusaders & the Muslim leader, Saladin.

When the Crusaders were defeated at the Battle of Hattin, Saladin spared the king & the Crusader lords, except for Reynald of Chatillon, who he personally decapitated.

The castle was besieged by Saladin & fell in 1188.

Shawbak Castle

Shawbak was built in 1115 by Balwin I. The castle was originally called “Krak de Montreal”.

It held a strategic location, overlooking the pilgrimage & caravan routes between Syria to Egypt & Arabia.

It was besieged by Saladin in 1187 & finally fell in 1189 after the defender sold their wives & children in exchange for food.

No comments:

Post a Comment