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Kerak Castle (2014)

Kerak Castle (2014)

Alternative name (s): Crac des Moabites
Creation time : 1140s
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: ruin
Standing position : Barons
Place: Karak
Geographical location 31 ° 10 '50 "  N , 35 ° 42' 5"  E Coordinates: 31 ° 10 '50 "  N , 35 ° 42' 5"  E
Height: 1000  m
Kerak (Jordan)

Kerak ( Arabic الكرك, DMG al-Karak , French also Crac des Moabites , Le Pierre du Desert ) is a city in Jordan with 20,280 inhabitants (2004 census). Kerak is the seat of the governorate of the same name .

The place Kerak at the foot of the ledge with the ruins of the crusader castle
The crusader stables in Kerak Castle

In the place are the ruins of a castle of the Crusaders of the Kingdom of Jerusalem . The ruins of Kerak Castle are located on a rocky promontory about 1000 meters above sea level and are surrounded on three sides by a valley.


Street in Kerak (2010)

The place has been inhabited at least since the Iron Age and was an important city for the Moabites and the Nabataeans . In the Old Testament the place has different names: Kir , Kir-Moab ( Isa 15.1  EU ), Kir-Harreseth ( 2 Kings 3.25  SLT ) or Kir-Heres ("Shard City ", Jer 48.31  EU ). The Romans conquered it from the Nabataeans in 105. In the Byzantine Empire it was the seat of a bishopric, under the Arabs it remained largely Christian .

From 1142 Paganus, or Payen le Bouteillier , the cupbearer of King Fulko , had the crusader castle built. The crusaders called them Crac des Moabites . Paganus was also lord of Oultrejordain , Kerak became the center of his rule, displacing the weaker castle Montreal in the south. Due to its location east of the Jordan , Kerak was able to control both the Bedouins and the trade routes from Damascus to Egypt and Mecca .

In 1176 Rainald von Chatillon got after his marriage to Stephanie von Milly , the widow of Humfried III. of Toron , the castle in his hand. From Kerak, Rainald harassed the caravans and even tried to attack Mecca. In 1183 Saladin besieged the castle in response to Rainald's attacks. The siege took place during the wedding of Humfried IV of Toron and Isabella of Jerusalem , and Saladin agreed not to attack the tower where the wedding was celebrated during the festivities - unlike the rest of the castle. The siege was later lifted by King Baldwin IV . Another siege by Saladin in 1184 was also lifted by Baldwin IV.

After the Battle of Hattin in 1187, Saladin again besieged Kerak and finally, after eight months of siege, captured it in 1188. It is alleged that the defenders were forced to sell their wives and children into slavery in order to obtain food (which was also done by the Siege of Montreal is claimed).

Kerak remained a regional seat of power under the Ayyubids and Mamlukes .

Kerak Castle is a well-known example of Crusader architecture, a mixture of European, Byzantine and Arabic styles. For a long time it was a ruin, while the modern city formed around it. In 2008, however, it was largely restored. The castle contains an archaeological museum that exhibits finds from the wider area, ranging from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. The history of the castle and town of Kerak is also presented.

On December 18, 2016, four terrorists killed seven Jordanian police officers and three civilians, including a tourist from Canada, in Qatraneh and the Kerak crusader castle. 22 other people were injured. Special forces stormed the castle, killing all of the attackers.

Kerak inscription

In 1958 a granite fragment with a Moabite inscription was found in Kerak, probably from the end of the 9th century BC. Found, which is a parallel to the Mescha stele . The legible words are: “ … [des K] emosch-Jat, King of Moab, the Di [bonite]Kemosch the looter (or the looted or for burning ) , because… And, behold, I made the / that ... ". The inscription is now in the Jordan Archaeological Museum of Amman .

See also


Web links

Commons : Kerak  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. This castle should not be confused with the better known Krak des Chevaliers in Syria .
  2. Baedeker Jordan, p. 198, ISBN 978-3-8297-1153-1
  3. Baedeker Jordan, p. 199, ISBN 978-3-8297-1153-1
  4. Death toll in Karak attacks rises to 14, including four terrorists. Jordan Times, December 19, 2016, accessed December 19, 2016 .