The mountain town of Ajloun is about 75 kilometres northwest of Amman, in one of Jordan's coolest and greenest areas (it snows on these sides in winter), and is renowned for its pine forests, thousands of olive trees that line the hills, and numerous orchards and vineyards.
The wonders of nature and the genius of medieval Arab military architecture have given northern Jordan two of the most important ecological and historical attractions of the Middle East: the extensive pine forests of the Ajloun-Dibeen area and the imposing Ayyubida castle of Ajloun, which helped defeat the Crusaders eight centuries ago. Ajloun Castle was built by one of Saladin's generals (Izz al-Din Usama) - who was also his nephew - in 1184 A.D to control the local iron mines and preventing attacks by the Crusaders, who were then established further south, in the city of Karak.
Two major earthquakes, in 1837 and 1927, destroyed much of the castle, but recently, the (Jordanian state) sponsored a program of restoration and consolidation of the walls, including rebuilding the bridge over the moat. That is why there are many rooms that can be visited today.
In 1214-15 the castle was enlarged by 'In ad-Din Aybak, for Sultan al-Malik al-Mu'azzam, to become one of the many lighthouses and a station for racing pigeons for the transmission of messages between Damascus and Cairo, and in 1219, hosting supplies to be used against the fifth crusade. In 1260 it fell into the hands of the Mongols but was restored by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars the Mercenary.
What we know from that moment on is fragmentary - rebuilt in the 17th century; visited by Burckhardt in 1812, damaged by an earthquake in 1837 and rebuilt by Ibrahim Pasha, recently restored and rebuilt by the Department of Antiquity of Jordan.
In addition to all its historical weight and beauty, the views of the Ajloun region are simply spectacular, the only drawback of the castle is the fact that it is located at a considerable distance from the city of Ajloun, and is not accessible by public transport. We usually start the tour from Amman and combine the visit to the castle with a visit to the historic city of Jerash.
A well-traveled bridge between sea and desert, east and west, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a land of mesmerizing beauty and contrasts, from the Jordan Valley, fertile, ever changing, to the remote desert canyons, immense and still. Visitors can explore splendid desert castles, gaze in awe at the haunting wilderness of Wadi Rum, or bathe in the restful waters of the Red Sea.
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