Shawbak Castle is one of the ruined crusaders castles that can be found in Jordan. It is only 30 mins from Petra and makes for a lovely trip in the late afternoon to catch the late afternoon sunlight which turns the stone walls a golden hue.
Although it is in more of a ruined state than the other well known crusader castle in Jordan of Karak, I actually prefer Shawbak because of this reason. For me it is more authentic and magical wandering around the ruins imaging what it must have been like when it was built nearly 1000 years ago. I also enjoy visiting Shawbak as most of the time you will have the castle to yourself and the gatekeeper is more than happy to just let you go and wander and explore – no pushy guides or touts.
The landscape around the castle is spectacular. It is perched high on a hilltop commanding views in all directions – you would certainly have been able to see anyone approaching either friend or foe.
The strata of the rock on the surrounding hills and the way it swirls and twists is fascinating and makes for a great photo subject. In amongst this rock strata are caves and the ruins of the village that is as old as the castle. The more you look the more remains of houses and other buildings you see.
The castle was built by the crusader King Baldwin I in 1115 AD and was called Montreal (or Royal Mountain). It is known as Shawbak in Arabic which means window. This castle certainly has a view from a window to die for.