Another one of Jordan’s famous crusader castles, Shawbak is as spectacularly breath-taking as it is historically significant. Often known as Montreal Castle after King Baldwin I of Jerusalem (Mont Royal) who constructed the building in the 10th c. AD, Shawbak was an important trade stop on the caravan route from Syria to Arabia.
According to the history of the castle, Shawbak passed hands from King Baldwin to the notorious Raynald De Chatillon, who was later executed by Saladin Al Ayyub for breaking treaties, and the castle put under the rule of Al-Adil, Saladin’s brother.
Shawbak was rebuilt by the Mamelukes in the 14th c. It is these unique characteristics of the Mameluke architecture and symbolism that are the most evident in the ruins that remain today.
Today the castle offers spectacular views over the surrounding sand dunes which shift in colour according to the sun. The castle is located just outside the village of Shawbak, 210km south on the same desert highway leading to Petra and Aqaba.