KERAK

KERAK

KERAK

The magnificent Crusader fortress of Al-Karak - Crak des Moabites, or Le Pierre du Desert to Crusaders - soars above its valleys and hills like a great ship riding waves of rock. But Al-Karak's origins go back long before the Crusaders; the earliest remains are Iron Age, shortly after the Exodus, when this was a part of Moab. It was known as Kir-haraseth, Kir-heres, or Kir, and its doom was prophesied by Isaiah (16:7), who mentions its 'raisin-cakes', presumably a local specialty. Then it falls out of history until the Byzantine period, when it was important enough to have an archbishop.
It was the Crusaders who made Al-Karak (biblical Church Moab) famous. The fortress, located 124 km (77 miles) south of Amman, was built in 1142 by Payen le Bouteiller, lord of Montreal and of the province of Oultre Jourdain, on the remains of earlier citadels, which date back to Nabataean times. He made Al-Karak the new capital of the province, for it was superbly situated on the King's Highway, where it could control all traffic from north and south and grow rich by the imposition of road-tolls.