Jordan Archaeological Heritage   
• Karak Governorate

A hilly city overlooking the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley, Karak is located some 130km south of Amman.
It is surrounded by Wadi Al Sitt from the east, Wadi Al Firanj from the west, Wadi Al Karak from the north, as well as a trench that has separated the city’s castle from Wadi Al Thallajeh.
Karak first appeared in history under the names “Keir Moab”, “Keir Harsah” and “Karkha” (which means the fortified city). It had a major historical role under the reign of Moabite King Mesha, who invaded the Israelites in 830 AD, before documenting his victory on his renowned stele that was discovered in Thiban.
With the other parts of the Moabite Kingdom, Karak was invaded by the Assyrians (800 – 612 AD), then by the Babylons (612 – 550 AD), then by the Persians (539 – 331 AD), before falling in the hands of the Greeks, who named it “Karha”.
During the Nabatean era, Karak was a major stop on the caravan routes. As the Romans took over the Nabatean capital Petra, they also occupied Karak and their Emperor Hadrian constructed the Roman road from Busra to Aqaba, passing by Maan, Karak and Tafileh.
During the Byzantine era, the city of Karak used to host the headquarters of the Christian archbishop. It was mentioned in the Madaba mosaic map under the name “Moba”, where its castle and the surrounding walls appear.
The city was known by the name “Krak Moab” (or the jewel of the desert) during the crusade campaigns, when Jerusalem was occupied by the crusaders in 1099.
They took advantage of the surrounding castles, including the Karak Castle, which became a major point of surveillance of the moves of Muslim troops.
In 1188, Muslim leader Salahuddin Al Ayoubi managed to take over the city.
It fell under the Ottoman reign in 1510.