The imposing castle at Shobak was the first to be built by the Crusaders in Transjordan and dates from the early 12th century. Originally called 'Krak de Montreal' it was named in honour of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.
Little remains of the original Crusader fortifications. Although it has never been fully excavated, it is known that there was a set of three walls, which partially remain. The towers and walls are decorated with carved inscriptions dating from 14th century Mameluke renovations, but the inside is in poor condition. The castle is currently being investigated by an Italian archaeological team from the University of Florence.
With its dramatic location on the crest of a hill, and its fascinating history, Shobak is well a detour on the journey down the King's Highway to Petra.