Travelstick Kerak Jordan
Kerak or Karak
Although there may once have been a larger selection of hotels in Kerak, when we visited in 2020 it looked like many of them had recently shut down. There was one hotel in the town center close to the castle called the White House Hotel. We paid 25 JD for a night. To get a bus to Kerak from Madaba is possible without going all the way back to Amman. At the Madaba bus station ask for a bus to Al Zizya. This will take you directly east and drop you on the main road (Desert Highway) somewhere near the Queen Alia International Airport. From here you can catch the Kerak bus as it comes by, or if you are lucky hitch a ride.
Long before the Crusaders came Kerak was an important city in the Biblical kingdom of Moab. It is mentioned in the Bible as Kir or Kir Moab. It was later home to the Nabateans, the Romans and the Byzantines. Kerak castle was built in 1142 by the Crusader king Baldwin I of Jerusalem. At the time it was part a series of fortresses stretching between Jerusalem and Aqaba. The Crusaders built strategically; each fort was a day's journey apart and each one lit a beacon at night to inform Jerusalem that it was safe. Kerak Castle resisted attacks by Saladin's troops in 1183 and 1184, but finally fell after a siege in 1189. The Mamluks took the fort in 1263 and made several additions to the structure.
Kerak Castle is a typical example of Crusader architecture with its vaulted rooms and corridors. The Crusader parts of the ruins are mostly on the upper level but below ground are a maze of interesting tunnels and rooms to explore.
Entrance 2JD (2020)