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Ajloun – Jerash

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Ajloun – Jerash

Ajloun Castle, more formally known as Qal’at Ar-Rabad, towers above the green hills and can be seen from many miles away, betraying its strategic purpose as a military watch post that protected the trade routes in the 12th-15th centuries. It was first built in 1184 by one of Saladin’s generals, Izzeddin Usama Mungidh, to repel the Crusader threats to north Jordan. The Ajloun castle was expanded into its current configuration in 1214. The castle is one of the best preserved and most complete examples of Medieval Arab-Islamic military architecture. The castle boasts a labyrinth of vaulted passages, winding staircases, long ramps, enormous rooms that served as dining halls, dormitories, and stables, a total of 11 water cisterns, and the private quarters of the Lord of the Castle

The history of Jerash is a blend of the Greco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient. Indeed, the name of the city itself reflects this interaction. The earliest Arabic/Semitic inhabitants named their village Garshu. The Romans later Hellenized the former Arabic name into Gerasa, and at the end of the 19th century, the Arab and Circassian inhabitants of the then small and rural settlements transformed the Roman Gerasa into the Arabic Jerash. The Crusaders described Jerash as uninhabited and it remained abandoned until its rediscovery in 1806, when Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, a German traveler, came across and recognized a small part of the ruins. The ancient city was buried in sand which accounts for the remarkable preservation. It has been gradually revealed through a series of excavations which commenced in 1925 and are still ongoing.