About this place

Plan Your Visit

  • Open Times: 08:00-17:00
  • Prices: 3 JD, but if you are part of an organized tour, the entrance will be included in the tour price. Ajloun Castle is covered by the Jordan Pass.
  • Average Visit Duration: You will need about an hour to explore Ajloun Castle.
  • Popular Times: The castle has areas that are undercover and other areas that are out in the open so it is best not to visit during the hottest time of day. If you want the place to yourself, aim to get there early. 
  • Relevant Tours: The castle can be visited independently or you can join an organized Jordan tour from Israel to see more of the region's historical gems. 

Ajloun Castle (Qal’at ar-Rabad) rises from the pine forests of the Ajloun-Dibbine area in northern Jordan. The 12th-century hilltop structure was built by Muslim rulers to watch over the ancient trade routes that passed by.

Ajleun CastleAjleun Castle (Image source: Fabio Poggi CC BY 3.0)

A small community grew around the castle, and today it is the town of Ajloun. And if you’re wondering about the name, Ajloun was the name of a Byzantine monk who lived on Mount Auf where the castle now stands.

History of Ajloun Castle

In the Byzantine era (324-636AD) a monastery stood where the castle stands today. But very little remains of the monastery because in 1184 Izz al-Din Usama, one of Saladin’s generals (and his nephew) built a castle on the monastery ruins. The castle served an important purpose for the Ayyubids.

As the castle overlooked the road between Damascus and Egypt the Ayyubids could control the comings and goings of Bedouins and Crusaders along this route. The Muslim castle was specifically built to protect north Jordan from the Crusaders who had already occupied the south and built massive castles including Kerak Castle and Showbak.

Ajleun castleThe castle ruins (Image source: Adeeb Atwan CC BY 3.0)

In the 13th century, the castle was enlarged by the Mamluk governor but it was no longer needed to guard the valleys below as the Crusaders had lost their hold on the region. So the castle was used as an administrative center. 

Conflict with the Mongols in 1260 left Ajloun Castle damaged but it was soon restored once the Mamluks beat their opponents. When the Ottomans arrived in the 16th-century soldiers were posted in the castle. And when Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt traveled through Jordan he found the castle inhabited. Burckhardt was also responsible for rediscovering Lost City of Petra and Kerak Castle.

Earthquakes in 1837 and 1927 left the structure in disrepair, and it lay abandoned until the Jordan Department of Antiquities began restoring the site.
Pro Tip: If you’re a nature-lover visit the nearby Ajloun Forest Reserve. The ancient city of Jerash is a short drive from Ajloun Castle.

What to See at Ajloun Castle

At Ajloun Castle you’ll see parts of the original structure as well as rebuilds that have happened over the years. Originally the castle had defensive walls with towers on each corner and a double gate that led into the fortified castle. A 16m-wide and 12-15m-deep moat surrounded the castle. Explore the chambers with their beautiful stone-brick walls and high vaulted ceilings. You can walk along the passageways and climb the towers.

Museum of Ajloun Castle

In the ancient chambers of Castle Ajloun is a small museum that teaches visitors about the site’s history through authentic artifacts, mosaics, and historic weapons.

Ajleun CastleThe AJleun Museum (Image source: D-Stanley CC BY 2.0)

Pro Tip: While you're in the area visit Tal Mar Elias, an archaeological site just 11 minutes from the castle. And just 13 minutes away is Our Lady of the Mountain Church in Anjara. The church is built in a cave and is believed to be a place where Mary and Jesus stopped.

Photo Ops at Ajloun Castle

Apart from some brilliant shots of the ancient structure with its towers and vaulted ceilings, the castle’s elevated location overlooking valleys and lush forests makes it an excellent place for taking panoramic photos of northern Jordan. Walk around the castle or climb one of the towers for views of the Jordan Valley and beyond. 

*Title Image source: D-Stanley CC BY 2.0; Top Image source: Adeeb Atwan CC BY 3.0

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