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How To Visit Kerak Castle – Jordan’s Most Impressive Crusader Castle


by Tawsha Griffiths



Welcome to the ancient world of Kerak Castle, one of Jordan’s most impressive Crusader Castles. Steeped in history and perched majestically on a hilltop, this fortified stronghold is a testament to the region’s turbulent past. A visit to Kerak Castle is like stepping back in time, immersing yourself in the trials and triumphs of the Crusaders.


As you explore the towering walls and winding passageways, you will be transported to an era of knights, sieges, and epic battles. From its strategic position, the castle offers captivating panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the sprawling plains and the winding path of the ancient Kings’ Highway.


But Kerak Castle is more than just an architectural marvel. It is a living legend, known not only for its historical significance but also for the stories and legends that have woven themselves into its stone walls. From tales of heroic battles to whispers of ghostly apparitions, the castle’s rich lore adds an extra layer of intrigue to your visit.


Whether you are a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply curious about the past, a trip to Kerak Castle is a must. Get ready to embark on a journey through time as we uncover the secrets and wonders of this remarkable fortress.


Background on Kerak Castle

Kerak Castle, also known as the Crusader Castle of Kerak, is located in the town of Kerak in central Jordan. It was built in the 12th century by the Crusaders during their campaign to establish a foothold in the Holy Land. The castle played a significant role as a regional power center and a stronghold for the Crusader forces.


The construction of Kerak Castle began in 1140 AD under the orders of Paganus, the Lord of Oultrejordain. Over the years, various Crusader lords and Muslim rulers made additions and renovations to the castle, further enhancing its defensive capabilities. The castle changed hands several times during its history as power shifted between the Crusaders and the Ayyubids, a Muslim dynasty.


The castle’s strategic location played a vital role in its military significance. Situated atop a steep hill, it provided a commanding view of the surrounding valleys, enabling its inhabitants to spot approaching enemies from a distance. The fortress itself is a testament to the architectural prowess of the Crusaders, featuring thick defensive walls, underground chambers, and an intricate system of tunnels and passages.


While the Crusader period is the most well-known phase of the castle’s history, it also played a role during the Byzantine and Roman eras. Evidence of Roman and Byzantine architecture can still be found within the castle walls, serving as a reminder of the site’s ancient roots.


Today, Kerak Castle stands as a fascinating historical monument and a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of the Crusaders. Its imposing architecture, rich history, and breathtaking views make it a popular destination for history enthusiasts, tourists, and locals alike.


Getting There

Kerak Castle is located in the town of Kerak, which is approximately 130 kilometers south of Amman, the capital city of Jordan. The castle is easily accessible by both public and private transportation.


If you are traveling from Amman, the most convenient way to reach Kerak is by car. The drive takes around 2-3 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Take the Desert Highway (Highway 15) southbound until you reach the town of Kerak. Look for signs directing you to the castle, which is located on a hilltop overlooking the town.


If you prefer public transportation, you can take a bus from the South Bus Station in Amman to Kerak. Buses run regularly throughout the day, but it’s advisable to check the schedule in advance. The journey takes approximately 2-3 hours. Once you arrive in Kerak, you can either walk or take a taxi to the castle, as it is located within walking distance from the town center.


For those who prefer organized tours, many tour companies offer day trips to Kerak Castle, often combined with visits to other historical sites in the area such as Petra or the Dead Sea. These tours typically include transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and entrance fees.


It’s important to note that while the roads leading to Kerak Castle are well-maintained, the castle itself is situated on a hilltop and involves some uphill walking. It’s recommended to wear comfortable footwear and carry water, especially during the hot summer months.


Once you arrive at Kerak Castle, you will be greeted by the grandeur of the fortress and the magnificent views of the surrounding landscape, making the journey well worth it.


Entrance Fees and Opening Hours

To explore the wonders of Kerak Castle, visitors must purchase an entrance ticket. The entrance fee for adults is around 3 Jordanian Dinars (JD), while children under the age of 12 can enter for free. It’s important to note that these prices are subject to change, so it’s advisable to check the latest fees before your visit.


The castle is open to visitors throughout the year, with different opening hours depending on the season. During the summer months (April-September), the castle is open from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. In the winter months (October-March), the opening hours are slightly shorter, usually from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It’s recommended to arrive early to allow yourself ample time to explore the castle’s many attractions.


It’s worth mentioning that guided tours are available at an additional cost. These tours provide insightful information about the castle’s history and architecture, offering a deeper understanding of its significance. Engaging the services of a knowledgeable guide can enhance your experience and provide a more immersive and educational visit.


Additionally, the castle often hosts special events, such as reenactments, cultural performances, and festivals. These events offer a unique opportunity to experience the castle in a different light and engage in activities that showcase its historical context. It’s advisable to check the event calendar in advance and plan your visit accordingly if you wish to partake in these special activities.


It’s worth noting that due to the age and nature of the castle, access to certain areas may be limited or restricted. Some parts of the castle may only be accessible by stairs or uneven terrain, so it’s important to consider your mobility and physical capabilities while exploring. However, there are usually alternative routes that cater to visitors with limited mobility.


By understanding the entrance fees and opening hours, you can plan your visit to Kerak Castle accordingly and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


Exploring Kerak Castle

As you step through the towering entrance gate of Kerak Castle, prepare to be transported back in time. The castle’s labyrinthine layout, consisting of interconnected rooms, halls, and passageways, offers a captivating journey of exploration and discovery.


Inside the castle, you will find a myriad of fascinating features to uncover. Venture through the Crusader halls, where you can admire the architectural marvels of the vaulted ceilings and intricately carved stone walls. Explore the underground tunnels that once served as secret passages and escape routes for the castle’s inhabitants during times of siege.


Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of the castle’s towers, where breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside await. From these vantage points, you can truly appreciate the strategic importance of Kerak Castle and marvel at the beauty of the Jordanian landscape.


As you wander through the castle’s courtyards, you will come across remnants of a bygone era. Imagine the hustle and bustle of medieval life as you pass by the remains of the kitchen, the stables, and the chapel. Take a moment to admire the details of the stone carvings and inscriptions that adorn the castle walls, providing insights into the castle’s history and the people who lived within its fortified walls.


For those interested in delving deeper into the history and significance of Kerak Castle, a visit to the on-site museum is a must. The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts unearthed during archaeological excavations, including pottery, weapons, and artwork. These artifacts offer further insights into the lives of the castle’s inhabitants and the cultures that once thrived in the region.


Exploring Kerak Castle is like embarking on a captivating journey through time. The combination of well-preserved architecture, stunning views, and historical significance makes it a truly remarkable experience for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.


Highlights of Kerak Castle

Kerak Castle boasts an array of captivating highlights that make a visit to this Crusader fortress an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the must-see attractions within the castle:

  1. The Great Hall: Step into the grandeur of the Great Hall, an impressive space that once served as a gathering place for Crusader knights. Admire the towering vaulted ceilings and intricate stone carvings that adorn the walls.
  2. The Underground Passages: Explore the labyrinthine network of underground tunnels and passages that once played a crucial role in the castle’s defense. These hidden routes provided safe passage during times of siege and are a fascinating glimpse into the castle’s military history.
  3. The Tower of Crusader Cross: Ascend the tower to enjoy panoramic views of the town of Kerak and the surrounding landscape. From this vantage point, you can appreciate the strategic location of the castle and the breathtaking natural beauty of the region.
  4. The Museum: Pay a visit to the on-site museum, which houses a collection of artifacts discovered during archaeological excavations. Marvel at ancient pottery, weaponry, and artwork that offer insights into the castle’s history and the lives of its inhabitants.
  5. The Chapel of St. John the Baptist: Discover the remnants of the castle’s chapel, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Admire the architectural elements and imagine the religious ceremonies and rituals that took place within these walls.
  6. The Viewpoints: Take a moment to step onto the castle’s ramparts and enjoy the stunning views of the Jordanian countryside. Capture the picturesque scenery and witness the beauty of the surrounding hills and valleys.

These are just a few of the many highlights that Kerak Castle has to offer. Each corner of the castle holds its own charm and intrigue, revealing glimpses of the past and providing a deeper understanding of the rich history and significance of this Crusader fortress.


Dining and Accommodation Options near Kerak Castle

When visiting Kerak Castle, there are several dining and accommodation options available in the surrounding area to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay.


The town of Kerak itself offers a variety of local eateries and restaurants where you can indulge in authentic Jordanian cuisine. From traditional kebabs and mezze platters to hearty stews and fragrant rice dishes, you’ll have ample opportunities to savor the flavors of the region. Don’t miss the chance to try Mansaf, a traditional Jordanian dish featuring tender lamb cooked in a flavorful yogurt sauce, served with rice and garnished with almonds and parsley.


In addition to local eateries, you can also find international cuisine options that cater to different tastes. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian pizza, fast food burgers, or a refreshing cup of coffee in a cozy café, the town of Kerak has something to suit every palate.


As for accommodation options, the town of Kerak offers a range of hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfast establishments that cater to different budgets and preferences. You’ll find everything from boutique hotels with modern amenities to more affordable guesthouses with a touch of local charm.


If you’re seeking a unique experience, consider staying in one of the accommodations located within the castle’s vicinity. Several guesthouses and lodges offer the opportunity to spend the night near the castle, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the historical ambiance. Waking up to the breathtaking views of the castle and enjoying a peaceful evening away from the hustle and bustle of the town can truly enhance your visit.


Alternatively, for those looking to explore more options, nearby towns such as Tafila and Dana Nature Reserve offer additional accommodations within a short driving distance from Kerak Castle.


Remember to book your dining reservations and accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability and secure the best deals.


By having a variety of dining and accommodation options near Kerak Castle, you can rest, refuel, and truly make the most of your visit to this historical gem.


Tips for Visiting Kerak Castle

Visiting Kerak Castle can be an exciting and enriching experience. To make the most of your trip, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes: The castle grounds involve walking on uneven surfaces, stairs, and inclines. It’s essential to wear comfortable and sturdy footwear to navigate the terrain comfortably.
  2. Carry water and sunscreen: The castle can get hot, especially during the summer months. Stay hydrated by carrying a bottle of water with you, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  3. Plan your visit in advance: Take the time to research the castle’s opening hours, entrance fees, and any special events or guided tours. Arriving early in the day will allow you to beat the crowds and fully explore the castle at your own pace.
  4. Engage a guide: Consider hiring a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights into the castle’s history, architectural details, and intriguing stories. A guide can enhance your visit and help you appreciate the significance of this historical site.
  5. Be respectful: Remember that Kerak Castle is a historical monument with cultural and archaeological significance. Treat the site with respect by not touching or removing any artifacts, and refrain from climbing or leaning on delicate structures.
  6. Take your time: Allow ample time to explore the castle and its various attractions. Take in the breathtaking views, read the informative signs, and immerse yourself in the rich history of the site.
  7. Check for local events: Keep an eye out for any special events or festivals taking place at the castle during your visit. These events can offer a unique and immersive experience, allowing you to witness cultural performances or reenactments that bring the castle’s history to life.
  8. Capture the memories: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the beauty and grandeur of Kerak Castle. The stunning architectural details, panoramic views, and atmospheric setting make for excellent photo opportunities.
  9. Respect local customs: Remember that you are visiting a conservative country, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, particularly when entering religious sites within the castle, and be mindful of your behavior.
  10. Explore beyond the castle: While Kerak Castle is the main attraction in the area, take the time to explore the charming town of Kerak and its surroundings. Visit local markets, interact with friendly locals, and discover hidden gems in the region.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure a smooth, enjoyable, and culturally sensitive visit to Kerak Castle.



A visit to Kerak Castle is a journey through time, immersing you in the fascinating history of the Crusaders and the rich heritage of Jordan. From its awe-inspiring architecture to its strategic hilltop location, every aspect of the castle tells a story of a bygone era. Exploring the winding passageways, climbing the towers, and taking in the panoramic views, you can’t help but feel a sense of wonder and awe.


The castle is not just a static relic, but a living testament to the past. It’s a place where legends and tales intertwine with the echoes of history. Whispered stories of heroic knights, fierce battles, and a bygone way of life surround you as you wander through its halls.


Beyond the castle itself, the town of Kerak offers dining and accommodation options that cater to every traveler. From savoring the flavors of traditional Jordanian cuisine to choosing a cozy guesthouse near the castle, there are experiences to suit all tastes and preferences.


By following the tips provided, you can ensure a worthwhile and memorable visit. From planning your time wisely to respecting the site and the local customs, these small considerations will enhance your experience and contribute to a seamless journey through history.


Kerak Castle stands as a testament to the remarkable architectural prowess, strategic military importance, and vibrant history of the Crusaders. It invites you to step into the past and immerse yourself in a world of knights, battles, and tales of courage.


So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, lace up your shoes, and embark on a captivating adventure to the mesmerizing Kerak Castle. Uncover the secrets of the past, be captivated by its grandeur, and create memories that will last a lifetime.