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Enjoy the best panoramic views of the Jordan Valley.

Ajlun Castle (Qal’at Ar-Rabad) was built by one of Saladin’s generals in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajlun, and to deter the Franks from invading Ajlun.

 

The marvels of nature and the genius of medieval Arab military architecture have given northern Jordan two of the most important ecological and historical attractions in the Middle East: the sprawling pine forests of the Ajlun-Dibbine area, and the towering Ayyubid castle at Ajlun, which helped to defeat the Crusaders eight centuries ago.

Ajlun Castle (Qal’at Ar-Rabad) was built by one of Saladin’s generals in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajlun, and to deter the Franks from invading Ajlun. Ajlun Castle dominated the three main routes leading to the Jordan Valley and protected the trade and commercial routes between Jordan and Syria; it became an important link in the defensive chain against the Crusaders, who, unsuccessfully spent decades trying to capture the castle and the nearby village.

The original castle had four towers, arrow slits incorporated into the thick walls, and was surrounded by a moat averaging 16m in width and up to 15m deep.
In 1215 AD, the Mameluk officer Aibak ibn Abdullah expanded the castle following Usama’s death, by adding a new tower in the southeast corner and a bridge that can still be seen decorated with pigeon reliefs.

The castle was conceded in the 13th century to Salah ed-Din Yousef Ibn Ayoub, ruler of Aleppo and Damascus, who restored the northeastern tower. These expansion efforts were interrupted in 1260 AD, when Mongol invaders destroyed the castle, but almost immediately, the Mameluk Sultan Baybars re-conquered and rebuilt the fortress.

Ten Salah ed-Din soldiers guard the castle every day of the week. They are placed at the castle’s four different gate levels. Two are on the roof where the yellow Mameluk is flying. Siege ladders leaning against the wall add to the war-like atmosphere.

Ajlun is just a short journey from Jerash through pine forest and olive groves and boasts scores of ancient sites, including watermills, forts and villages, all in the beautiful hills and valleys of northern Jordan.

Eco & Nature

The large pine forest that stretches from Ajlun towards the north is a unique environmental resource, for it is the southernmost complete pine forest in the world. The area’s cool forests, beautiful picnic areas, and extensive walking trails attract visitors throughout the April-October season, especially from the Gulf and other warmer regions of the Middle East.

The combination of the invigorating forests, clean air, cool summer temperatures, easy access from all northern Jordan, and a series of major antiquities sites make this a leading tourism destination, for both international and domestic tourists.

The Ajlun Campsite is located at the edge of the forest in the reserve. It occupies a large grassy clearing, enclosed by oak, pistachio and strawberry trees, and offers beautiful views of the reserve and beyond. There are 10 four- person tented bungalows available and nearby showers and toilets. The Ajlun Campsite opens from the 1st of April till the 31stof October.

 

 

Ajlun Nature Reserve

The Ajlun Nature Reserve is located in the Ajlun highlands (North of Amman). It consists of Mediterranean-like hill country, dominated by open woodlands of oak and pistachio trees. The Reserve was first established in 1988 when a captive-breeding programme for the Roe Deer was initiated.

The Reserve (13 sq. km) is located in an area named Eshtafeena. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature has set up two hiking trails and provides a special area for camping.

Ajlun’s woodlands consist mostly of oak trees, interspersed with pistachio, pine, carob, and wild strawberry trees. These trees have long been important to local people for their wood, scenic beauty and, very often, for medicine and food.

The Roe Deer is adapted to forest habitat, and feeds on a variety of trees, shrubs and grasses. The rich Mediterranean-like forests that covered the Ajlun area provided an ideal habitat for millennia. However, deforestation and desertification over the past 200 years led to the decline in numbers of the Roe Deer. Three Roe Deer were introduced to the captive breeding enclosure in Ajlun in 1988, from a similar habitat in Turkey, and their numbers are now increasing.

The Persian Fallow Deer is another species that was once common in Jordan. This animal probably became extinct by the turn of the century although measures are in place to ensure their return to the local countryside. This species of deer derives its name from the old English word “falu,” meaning “brownish-yellow,” which describes the colour of its coat.