Crusader Castle Jordan

It was late afternoon and the sun was about to set. A light cold breeze could be felt in the air. Clouds were moving westwards. There was a calm and quiet atmosphere that sometimes was interrupted by the sounds of grazing sheep and goats somewhere far in the distance. I held my camera, standing before a crumbling wall, attempting to capture a moment that had long since passed.

Crusaders gone, Saladin gone, Mamluks gone, Ottomans gone, what remains now in front of me was a big pile of rubble.

Before I could go down further in the past, I heard my taxi driver call out to me from a distance, reminding me that we needed to leave before it grew dark.

As I ventured through the stunning landscapes of Jordan, my journey led me to the remains of a Crusader Castle. Having visited Siq al-Barid (Little Petra – البتراء الصغيرة‎), my taxi driver suggested that we stop by a nearby castle ruin on our way back to Wadi Musa in Jordan. I was staying in Wadi Musa to explore the ancient Nabataean city of Petra.

Shobak Castle is located along the iconic King’s Highway, a mere 118 miles distance from Amman, Jordan’s capital. This site is only a 40-minute drive from the world-renowned historical city of Petra.

Shobak Castle – Montreal

Shobak Castle (قلعة مونتريال / قلعة الشوبك), perched majestically atop a small, conical hill, offers a tranquil setting for exploration. You won’t find many tourists here, or may be a few like myself. This remote and wild landscape, formerly known as Mons Realis or the Royal Mountain, was a world away from the bustling Petra.

Constructed in 1115 by the Crusader King Baldwin I of Jerusalem, this castle was part of his grand vision to safeguard the vital road from Egypt to Damascus. It was the genesis of a line of fortifications that would leave an indelible mark on the history of the region.

Nestled on the eastern side of the rugged Arabah, this ancient fortress beckoned with tales of conquests and forgotten eras.

Shobak was constructed in 1115 AD under the stewardship of Baldwin I, who later fortified Karak. Once known as Mont Realis, the castle was the Kingdom of Jerusalem’s first outpost in Outrejordain.

The castle boasts two churches, a watchtower, catacombs, Christian carvings, and Islamic inscriptions within its ancient remains.
Following its capture, Saladin entrusted the castle to his brother, al-‘Adil, who retained it until his brother’s passing in 1193.

Over the centuries, the castle changed hands numerous times. Raynald of Châtillon, who married Stephanie de Milly – an influential figure in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, took control of Shobak Castle. With it, he launched daring raids on once-untouched wealthy caravans that had previously been allowed to pass unharmed. He even assembled a fleet of ships at this location that was transported overland to the Red Sea to plunder the coastal areas. His constant threat to the route of the passing caravans from Egypt to Syria and to the pilgrims towards Mecca and later, his audacious plans to attack Mecca itself sent shockwaves through the region and drew the ire of the Ayyubid Sultan Saladin.

In 1187, Saladin descended upon the castle, laying siege to it for nearly two arduous years. The fortress finally succumbed to his relentless assault in May 1189, marking a pivotal moment in its storied history.

Shobak Castle history

The turning point in Shobak’s saga came in 1189 when Saladin’s forces triumphed, bringing the castle under Ayyubid rule. The year 1261 witnessed the Mamluk Sultan Baybars storming the castle, firmly bringing it under Egypt’s dominion.
Nestled in the rugged Jordanian landscape, Shobak Castle is one of the six Crusader Castles.

In the centuries that followed, the Mamluks would rebuild the castle in the 14th century, breathing new life to it. And so, the saga of Shobak Castle continued.

Raynald of Châtillon assembled a fleet of ships at this location that was transported overland to the Red Sea to plunder the coastal areas.

During the Ottoman era, the castle found itself occupied by a village for centuries, a testament to its enduring allure. It was only in the 20th century that the village was abandoned, leaving behind the echoes of countless lives lived within its walls.

Despite its historical significance, Shobak remains a treasure largely untouched by excavation, devoid of explanatory signs, and seemingly forgotten.

Yet, amid its weathered stones, pockets of preservation reveal a story that defies the ravages of time, casting an aura of mystery and awe.

Shobak Castle is not just a fortress; it’s a portal to the past, a place where history breathes and whispers its secrets to those who are willing to listen.

As I stood amid the ruins of Shobak, I couldn’t help but admire the history that had unfolded here. The castle may have weathered the test of time, but its tales of valor, intrigue, and conflict still resonate through the ages.

Shobak Castle is not just a fortress; it’s a portal to the past. It’s a place where history breathes and whispers its secrets to those who are willing to listen. In its rugged isolation, I found a connection to a world that once was, and in its ruins, I discovered the enduring spirit of a bygone era.

Jordan historical sites

Nestled in the heart of Jordan, Shobak Castle stands as a testament to a rich and captivating history. This Crusader Castle Jordan is a treasure trove of stories waiting to be uncovered. Its Shobak Castle history is a tapestry woven with threads of conquest, conflict, and intrigue. The castle’s location along the King’s Highway, close to Petra and other Petra neighboring attractions, is significant. It makes Shobak Castle a must-visit among Jordan’s historical sites. Shobak Castle ruins bear witness to its enduring past with the memory of the Shobak Castle Saladin siege in 1189.

Shobak castle jordan Photos and Images

The castle saw the rise and fall of empires, including the Mamluks, who left their mark in the 14th century. As one explores this gem among Middle East ancient fortresses, Shobak Castle’s mysteries begin to unravel. It offers a captivating glimpse into a bygone era that continues to intrigue and inspire.

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Fine Art and Travel Photography by Asif Naqvi

Photography is not just about capturing images; it’s a fascinating journey of exploration and observation that connects us with surrounding realities. It is the art of seeing, exploring, and imagining the world around us through a lens. I strongly believe in the ability of images to stimulate thoughts and evoke emotions. Each frame captures a moment in time and tells a story, allowing the viewer to become immersed in the visual narrative commonly known as storytelling.

It is all about seeing, observing, and making visual notes.

Having ventured into the realm of imagination, I stepped into the real world and discovered a newfound appreciation for nature. Grand landscapes, delicate flora, and fascinating fauna inspire me to see the world anew, with open eyes and heart.

As I make my way back to human civilization, I wander through diverse cultures and untrodden paths. I find inspiration in the essence of each place and its people. Travel photography, for me, is a way to connect with the soul of a destination.

My photography is not just an expression of my vision, but an invitation to see the world from a different angle.

I am always seeking fresh perspectives, hence pushing the boundaries of my art to capture those elusive moments that resonate deeply with my audience. My photography is not just an expression of my vision, but an invitation to see the world from a different angle, to find beauty in the seemingly mundane, and to appreciate the manners of our existence.

Join me on this artistic journey at, where we’ll embark on an adventure through images. They stir the spirit, ignite the imagination, and inspire a deeper appreciation for the marvels that surround us.

With boundless enthusiasm and a camera in hand,

⸻ Aksgar Asif Naqvi

Aks Gar ( عکس گر ): a Persian/Urdu compound word to describe an image maker or a photographer.

Explore the captivating world through the lens of Asif Naqvi with his fine art and travel photography.


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