Shobak and its castle (also sometimes spelled Shawbak) make for an interesting stop on many trips through Jordan, as it is located along the way from Amman and the northern Highlands to the south (Petra, Wadi Rum, etc.). For this reason, our agency often includes it in more comprehensive itineraries, and on this page, we will tell you what to see at Shobak castle and how it can be integrated into your route.
Shobak is a small town in south-central Jordan, belonging to the Ma’an Governorate. Its region is semi-arid, with spectacular light stone canyons but with hits of green in some corners, where water gushes almost miraculously.
There are no large cities around it, but it benefits from being relatively close to Petra (30 km), located on the same road. Therefore, it is often the last stop before reaching that destination from the north, or an excursion from Wadi Musa.
Visit Shobak Castle it is like traveling to an interesting episode in the history of Jordan: that of the struggles between Crusaders and Muslims, in the twelfth century. But this area was already populated long before that. Specifically, around 4,000 BC, since some archaeological sites in the area demonstrate the existence of metal foundries of that period, largely thanks to the copper mines in the area, which gave fame to this region.
Shobak Castle was built at the beginning of that century by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem and leader of the Christian Crusaders, within a network of fortifications that also included that of Karak, further north.
The original name they gave it was Mont Real (Mount Royal), with a strategic location on this important communication and trade route between Syria and Arabia, on which it rises, offering good control of the surroundings.
At the end of the twelfth century it was conquered by the troops of the Ayyubid Saladin, after besieging the fortress for a year and a half. Some time later, the Mamluks took over, who consolidated and expanded the Shobak Castle.
At present, its state of conservation is not as good as that of others in the country (for example,
), but it maintains much of its attractiveness. And with the help of an expert, it will be easy to understand the different spaces of the enclosure and their strategic importance.
Since it is a very small town, what you really have to see in Shobak It is its castle, located about 3 km by road. Once inside the enclosure, the most significant places are:
The visit to Shobak Castle It is not particularly long, so if you have time to do other activities, there are other proposals not far from the area. Lovers of hiking and nature can approach the Dana Biosphere Reserve, where there are routes of different difficulties, from simple to those aimed at experts. Among the toughest is the Wadi Dana Trail, to Feynan, a small village that has its own Heritage Museum.
Both Feynan and Dana have a very genuine rural atmosphere, and during nature routes trees such as date palms or desert acacias, as well as migratory birds, will come to pass. It is also the habitat of mammals such as desert cats, red foxes, caracals or even ibex.
Dana also passes through one of the sections of the Jordan Trail, which connects this nature reserve with Petra. They are about 70 km spread over four days of crossing, with one of the best possible attractions: to reach the ancient Nabataean city, one of the most fascinating goals in the country.
The only way to get to Shobak and its castle It is by car or private bus, with a previously contracted service, since the area lacks a public transport network. These are the distances that separate this town from other points of interest in Jordan, with the respective durations of each journey: