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  Ajlun 

Ajloun is a town strategically located 73 km north of Amman, and is famed for being home to the spectacular 12th century ‘Ajloun Castle’, also known as ‘Qa’lat Ar-Rabad’. The fortress is situated on the hilltop of Mount Ajloun district and provides a breathtaking view of the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley, the West Bank and Lake Tiberius (Sea of Galilee). The Castle is considered a great example of medieval Arab/Islamic military architecture and was built at the top of Mount Auf in 1184 and 1188 by one of Saladin’s generals, and also nephews, ‘Izz ad-Din Usama bin Munqidh’. It stands on the ruins of a monastery, bits of which were discovered during archaeological diggings.

 

The name Ajloun has been related to a Christian monk living on the hilltop during the Byzantine era.

 

Ajloun Castle was designed to frighten off the Franks from attacking the town of Ajloun and to protect the trade and commercial routes between Syria and Jordan. The castle became an important link in the defensive chain against the crusaders, who spent many decades trying to seize the castle and nearby village.

 

This spectacular castle had four towers; arrow slits merged into the thick walls and was surrounded by a channel averaging 16 meters in width and up to 15 meters deep.

 

The Ajloun Nature Reserve was started in 1988 under the management of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). The Reserve can best be described as an area of hills covered by dense woodlands of evergreen oak, scattered with pistachio, carob and strawberry trees. One of the major attractions at the Reserve is the excellent hiking trails, with a variety of paths suitable for people of all fitness levels. The Ajloun woodlands are a classic example of the typical Jordanian type of forest cover, and have always been of utmost importance for the locals as the forests provide them with food, wood and medicine. It also has several species, foxes, wolves, hyena, woodland birds and herds of wild boar, as well as roe deer. In spring, the grounds are covered with vibrantly colored anemones, rockroses and several other wild flowers.

 

  Anjara 

The ancient town of Anjara is located in the hills of Gilead east of the Jordan Valley. The town is mentioned in the Bible as a place where Jesus, his mother Mary and his disciples, passed through and rested in a nearby cave. The cave, which has long been a Holy place for pilgrims, has now been commemorated with a modern shrine / church of Our Lady of the Mountain. The cave was also designated by the Catholic Churches of the Middle East, as one of the five pilgrimage sites for the Year 2000. The others were Mount Nebo, Machaerus, Tall Mar Elias near Ajlun, and Bethany Beyond the Jordan.

 
If you would like to visit more of Jordan and see the many wonderful sites, click here for options of private programs.
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