The roster of peoples who once controlled this ancient hilltop fortress reads like a who's who of Middle Eastern history: Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Muslim conquerors and the Ottomans were among the successive occupants, as each overran their predecessor. The castle's heyday was in the 12th century, when it was one of the key fortresses that the Crusaders used to secure a hold over their occupied territory in the Holy Land.

Today the castle still boasts an impressive view, as well as a moat, lookouts, a dungeon and a chapel—all in good condition. A small museum holds coins, pottery and other artifacts from the site. Farther south (closer to Petra) is Shobak, another fortress from the Crusader period. 82 mi/132 km south of Amman.

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