Jordan: Kerak

Kerak castle, Jordan

Leaving Jerash around lunchtime, I head south towards Kerak, known variously as Karak and Al Karak, stopping briefly for a float in the Dead Sea and a distant view of Israel.

It’s already dark when I arrive making it difficult to see much of anything. I am assured that the building in front of me is the castle but it just looks like another hotel at this time of evening. I take dinner in a restaurant right next to the (alleged) castle. They are filming for something and there are eerie bright lights shining through the windows — slightly disconcerting when you know it’s dark out.

When I step out I experience what I first assume to be atmospheric mist created by a talented special effects team for the purposes of the video, but as my hair gets damp I slowly realise that it is, in fact, raining. And not just a light drizzle but enough to get quite wet on the short walk back to the hotel. Not exactly what I was expecting in Jordan, even though it is November.

View from Kerak castle, Jordan

The next morning I rise fairly early so I can see the castle without hoards of other tourists. For something that was started in the twelfth century, albeit enhanced subsequently and restored even more recently, it’s in pretty good shape. The walls are extensive and you can get a solid idea of the various rooms and even something about the physique of the inhabitants — judging by how often I had to duck down to pass through a door they weren’t very tall!

View from Kerak castle, Jordan

However the thing I remember most about Kerak is not the castle but the views from it. They valleys were surprisingly green (I guess that explains the rain) and looked pretty with the white houses scattered up and down the side. The rest of Kerak and presumably the bulk of its twenty thousand inhabitants could be found up-hill a short distance away.

View from Kerak castle, Jordan

I don’t spent a huge amount of time in Kerak because the next stop is Petra, one of the main reasons I came to this area. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype.