The Crusades

The Middle Ages were marked by the crusades organized by the Church and the Christian monarchs of the time. The pretext for the first of these military expeditions was the refusal by the Seljuk Turks, who had become masters of Syria and Jerusalem, to allow Christian pilgrims wishing to meditate on the tomb of Christ in the Holy Land to pass.

This first crusade would end with the capture of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem with Godefroy de Bouillon designated as the first king of Jerusalem. However, Godefroy de Bouillon refused this title which thus went to Badouin 1st, brother of Godefroy de Bouillon. Other Christian states were created in the process and were named the Latin States of the East, covering present-day Lebanon, Syria, part of Jordan as well as the territories located in the south-east of Turkey.

Historians have established that there were 8 successive crusades between 1095 and 1270. The military victories being very often ephemeral, the last 7 crusades aimed to defend or retake Jerusalem.

The fortified castles

To consolidate their conquests, the sovereigns at the head of the crusades built many fortified castles in the newly conquered regions. One of the most famous is the Crack of the Knights in Syria. Fort Ajloun is located in present-day Jordan, as is Fort Shobak, named Krach Montreal (see built by the first king of Jerusalem, Baldwin I.

Fort Ajloun

If most of the strongholds in the region were built by the Crusaders, the same is not true of Fort Ajloun.

Fort Ajloun was built by a general of Saladin, first sultan of Egypt and Syria, of Kurdish origin. The fort was built on the ruins of a Byzantine monastery on a hill from which it was possible to control all the roads in the area. The fort was built to control the Bedouin tribes likely to ally with the Crusaders.

Fort Ajloun is one of the only fortifications built by the Ayyubid Muslims to protect their kingdom against cross incursions.

The fortress dominated much of the northern Jordan Valley and controlled the lines of communication between the southern Jordan and Syria. An eminently strategic point therefore.

After the crusades

Fort Ajloun lost its strategic importance after the military successes of the Ayyoubids, culminating in the capture of the Crusader fortress of Karak.

The stronghold was ceded to the King of Aleppo and Damascus and became an administrative center in the 13th century.

Mongol invasions

It was to resume service during the Mongol invasions which partially destroyed it around 1260. It was restored after the victory of the Mamluks over the Mongols.

Then the castle was used as a warehouse and sporadically during local wars.

Current appearance

Fort Ajloun suffered greatly from two earthquakes in 1837 and 1927.


about the place, Fort Ajloun:

Ajloun Fort in Jordan was built in the 12th century by Muslims. It is on a hill and the castle watched over three wadis descending to the Jordan Valley. It was the Ayyoubids who built it in the 12th century and enlarged it a century later by the Mamalouks.



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