Information about Karak

Location: Jordan

KarakĀ  is a city in Jordan that is known for the famous crusader castle Kerak. The castle is one of the three largest castles in the region, the other two being in Syria. Kerak is the capital city of Karak Governorate. Karak City is the capital and largest city of the Karak Governorate.

Karak, once a part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, lies 140 km to the south of Amman on the King's Highway. An ancient Crusader stronghold, it is situated on a hilltop about 1000 meters above sea level and is surrounded on three sides by a valley. Karak commands a magnificent view of the Dead Sea. A city of about 20,000 people has been built up around the castle and continues to boast a number of restored 19th century Ottoman buildings, restaurants, places to stay, and the like. The town is built on a triangular plateau, with the castle at its narrow southern tip, but it is undoubtedly Karak Castle which dominates.

The Al-Ghassasneh (Ghassanids) tribe is believed to be the first tribe to inhabit the city of Karak and the largest in terms of numbers. The tribe consists of the families: Suheimat, Dmour, Mbaydeen, Adaileh, Soub, Karakiyeen.
Karak is famous for its traditional Jordanian meal called mansaf.

Al Karak has been inhabited since at least the Iron Age, and was an important city for the Moabites (who called it Qir of Moab). In the Bible it is called Qer Harreseth, and is identified as having been subject to the Assyrian empire; in the Book of Kings (16:9) and Book of Amos (1:5, 9:7), it is mentioned as the place whither the Syrians went before they settled in the regions north of Palestine, and to which Tiglath-Pileser III sent the prisoners after the conquest of Damascus. Evidently it eventually fell under the power of the Nabateans. The Romans conquered it from them in 105 AD. During the late Hellenistic Period, Al Karak became an important town as was known as Kharkha. Under the Byzantine Empire it was a bishopric seat, housing the much venerated Church of Nazareth, and remained predominantly Christian under Arab rule.

Al Karak's greatest importance was during the Crusader and Ayyubid periods which were responsible for most of the architectural remains to date