Explore the best castles in Jordan

5 of the Most Incredible Castles in Jordan

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Exploring Castles in Jordan

When we were researching Jordan, places like Petra and Umm Qais were at the top of our list of places to visit. Visions of strolling through vast Roman ruins and riding horses along spectacular cliff dwellings filled our minds. This small middle eastern country had so much more in store for us than we expected. One of the attractions that blew us away were all the incredible castles in Jordan!

These incredible structures are dotted throughout the harsh Jordanian landscape and serve as a reminder of the incredible history of the country. Some of the castles were desert homes to the wealthy. Some were battle ready fortresses that housed the Crusaders while others still were luxurious bath houses catering to nobility. We visited as many as possible during our week in Jordan. Here we lay out the 5 of the most incredible castles in Jordan for you!

Qasr Al-Kharaneh

A woman and two young boys walk out of one of the desert castles in Jordan

Qasr (Castle) Al-Kharaneh is one of the most well-preserved castles in Jordan. Located 55 km east of the capital city of Amman, Qasr Al-Kharaneh is a bit of a mystery to those researching it. It sits on a massive plot off of the highway. At first glimpse, we thought it was a well-protected fortress designed for battle. Massively thick outer walls pocked often with what look like archer slots give the castle an intimidating look. The guides at Qasr Al-Kharaneh told us that the thick walls were part of a primitive air-conditioning system. The slots, too narrow to be useful for archers, were for air-flow.

The castle, built around 711 CE was likely built as a place for the region’s leaders to meet. It may also have been a refuge for passing camel trains. While the castle lacks the swashbuckling history of some of the other castles in Jordan, walking through the inside will no doubt transport you back through time.

Qasr Amra

with domed roofs and incredible artwork, Amra Palace may be one of the most important castles in Jordan

At first glance, Qasr Amra harkens thoughts of Luke Skywalker’s homestead on Tatooine. The drab exterior, made from limestone and basalt, with its domed roof had me searching the sky for a second moon.

But this palace, the remnants of what was once a much larger castle hides something truly incredible. Qasr Amra, located 131 km from Amman in eastern Jordan, may be the most important of all the castles in Jordan. After walking past a bath house and well, we passed through the large front doors of the castle.

As my eyes adjusted to the light, I was astounded by the amazing displays of art that covered the inside of the castle from floor to ceiling. This palace houses what is considered one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture.

The inside walls of Amra Castle in Jordan are painted in intricate detail

While traveling through Jordan with kids, Qasr Amra instantly became a favorite for the boys because of the colorful art displays and the friendly, engaging guide who helped to get them involved. He was amazing at explaining all the intricate details of this incredible place. One of the coolest pieces of artwork was on the dome above the bathhouse. This painting is believed to be the earliest image of the night sky that was painted on something other than a flat surface.

Kerak Castle

A young family poses for a photo on the top of the Kerak castle in Jordan.

With one of the most active battle histories of the castles in Jordan, Kerak Castle had to make our list. This massive Crusader Castle located in the town of Al-Karak has been the center of battles and sieges. It was occupied between its inception in 1142 CE all the way up until 1893 when it housed over 1400 soldiers.

Kerak Castle is a maze of a place. Although much of the castle has been destroyed through nearly a millennia of skirmishes, there are still many layers of tunnels to explore. The boys had an amazing time wandering through the arched pathways and partially excavated halls.

Qasr Azraq

A woman and a young boy explore a room in a desert castle that once housed the famous T.E. Lawrence

Not far from the Azraq Oasis is the incredible Qasr Azraq. Protected by tall walls and massive basalt doorways, Qasr Azraq was built by the Romans around 200 CE. It was heavily modified by the different armies that controlled it during its time and eventually acted as an operating base for the famous Brit, Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab revolt.

T.E. Lawrence wrote about the fortress in his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which helped the castle become a major tourist drawQasr Azraq, lying about 100 km east of the capital of Amman, is one of Jordan’s Desert Castles.

Two young boys play a game of stone etched into the floor of one of the castles in Jordan

Kids will love trying to open the black basalt stone doors that still swings properly. Near the entrance, there is also a board game etched into the stone floor by posted soldiers looking to escape the boredom of sentry duty.

Qasr Aljoun

A woman and two young boys climb the stairs of a castle in Jordan

Built on the summit of Mt ‘Auf in 1188, Qasr Aljoun offers incredible views of the Jordan Valley. The castle was in a strategic place for defending attacks from the Crusaders. Aljoun Castle is the most touristy of all the castles on this list. The interior is lit in many places by colorful accent lighting, and the rooms are almost entirely excavated after earthquakes in 1837 ad 1927.

Also, the castle grounds have well-maintained bathrooms. A luxury compared to some of the more remote desert castles. Although you can reach the castle by walking, the climb is very steep. It’s worth the small amount (JD1-2 each way) to catch a taxi to the entrance.

A young boy in a tilley hat stares out a narrow slot in a castle in Jordan

There is so much more to this small nation than meets the eye. Have you ever been to Jordan? What is your favorite castle to visit?

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Kevin Wagar

Kevin Wagar is a creative designer and technology expert living in the Greater Toronto Area. His beautiful wife Christina impressed on him her love of travel and they have made exploring the world an integral part of their life.
With the birth of their two boys, Kevin and Christina have made it their mission to show others that travelling with children isn't as scary as it sounds and that kids can benefit from experiencing the world outside of their front door and beyond.
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  1. Who knew that Jordan had castles?! Not me! Like you said, when I think of Jordan I immediately think of the Petra. The truth is I know very little about the rest of the country so it’s wonderful to discover all these other cool, kid-friendly places there are to see. I love the board game at Qasr Azraq!

  2. Thanks for posting this. I’m considering a revisit to Jordan. Already done Jerash, Petra, Aquaba & Amman, so this list might come in handy. I’m also learning arabic. Lawrence of Arabia style.
    Keep rocking,
    Rik aka tapir tales

  3. I had no idea there were castles in Jordan! Not the place I think of when castles come to mind. My 5 year old is obsessed with castles, I’m sure she’d love this place. Your kids are too cute!

  4. I have heard so much about the castles of Jordan. And they do look stunning. No doubt they are so famous. I would love to visit here as soon as possible

  5. This is breathtaking! Especially the Qasr Aljoun castle is really impressive. I have only spend a short time in Jordan, visiting Petra and Aqaba – but I want to go back to explore those castles now!

  6. These all look so incredible to explore! It’s so amazing the amount of culture and experience you are bestowing upon your children! If schools still offer “show and tell” (I’m very far removed from grammar school-lol.), I’m confident their treasures will wow the other kiddos! Jordan is on my short list for places to visit in the near future, so I’ll be having a look at your other posts. 🙂

  7. I loved the way you showed me the castles with your beautiful pictures. Each castle looks incredible, perfectly. Thanks for picking up the best for me, it’ll be handy when I visit Jordan

  8. I have never been to Jordan and I think I love Qasr Aljoun Castle the most. 🙂 Btw, I only ever heard of Petra and no castles at all, this is totally a new information for me. Love seeing your photos with your kids, too!

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