Karak Crusader Fort
Karak Crusader Castle, Jordan
In 1132 King Fulk, the Crusader king of Jerusalem, made Pagan the Butler Lord of Montreal and Oultrejourdain (the lands east of the River Jordan and the Dead Sea). Pagan made his headquarters at al-Karak were he built a castle on a hill called by the crusaders Petra Deserti – The Stone of the Desert. His castle, much modified, dominates the town to this day.
The castle was only in Crusader hands for 46 years. It had been threatened by Saladin’s armies several times but finally, surrendered in 1188, after a siege that lasted more than a year. Saladin’s younger brother, Al-Adil was governor of the district until becoming ruler of Egypt and Syria in 1199.
The castle played an important role as a place of exile and a power base several times during the Mamluk Sultanate. Its significance lay in its control over the caravan route between Damascus and Egypt and the pilgrimage route between Damascus and Mecca. In the thirteenth century the Mamluke ruler Baibars used it as a stepping stone on his climb to power. In 1389 Sultan Barquq was exiled to al-Karak were he gathered his supporters before returning to Cairo.