I’ve been meaning to share this for a while.  Back in August, H and I took a break from the kiddos and went on a trip to Ajloun Castle, a historic site about an hour and a half north of Amman.

I won’t bore with too many historical details, but the castle was impressive, and I can only imagine what it would have been like to have come over a hill to a view across the valley of this fortification.

It was built in 1184 by Izz al-Din Usama, a commander and nephew of Saladin, founder of the Ayuubid dynasty and the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria.  It’s purpose was to protect the Ayyubid territories from the crusaders to the south and the west, as well as protect the newly developing iron mines in the Ajlun region.  It originally had four towers.  It was invaded and destroyed by the Mongols in 1260, and eventually rebuilt.  To read more on the history, this guy, has a great post on Ajloun.

You can see the castle as you approach from miles away.  I would say we were still a half hour drive through back roads from the castle when we were first able to get a glimpse of it.  I’m no expert, but I can gather that it must have been quite the strategic vantage point.

For me the most exciting part of the trip, perhaps, was when we stepped off the bus and I inhaled the air filled with the scent of pine!  Ajloun is mountainous and dry, and literally covered with pine trees.  Wagonwheel immediately started playing in my head!  I even stole a pinecone to take home.

On the way back we had lunch at the Lebanese House in Jerash.  It has a wonderful open-air dining atmosphere, with beautiful views, where you can feel encouraged to take your time with your afternoon meal.  We’ll go again with the boys at some point because they have a tot play area on the lower level- which means WIN for everyone!

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