Thursday, December 3, 2009

Castle Al Karak

Next stop....the Castle of Al Karak. This was one of the crusader castles, built around 1100 ad. Like Petra, it was in a location where they could influence the trade that went on in those days, as well as its role in the crusades.
Getting to the castle was quite a trip - and I was REALLY thankful for all of my experiences with driving in Japan on the sidewalk sized streets. The road roamed around the hill, constantly climbing, weaving between parked cars, stopped cars - they stop here also, where they like, but they don't put on the blinkers so one never knows. We made it to the top of the hill, only to discover there are no parking just find a spot on the hill and stop. One enterprising cafe owner had a table sitting in the street. He immediately saw us, smiled, and moved the table for us. We were, of course, invited to dine at his restaurant once we had finished at the castle - which we gladly did!

The castle is quite extensive - covering the triangular shaped top of a large hill. The castle stands out four stories on the hilltop but underneath there are 3 more stories dug deep into the earth, including, of course, the dungeons! They had small sleeping areas for families as well as barracks for the men, kitchens, and huge bread ovens. While much is still in ruins, you can see where preservation work has been finished or is in process.

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