Arabic: ‘al-karak
Other spellings: Kerak, Al-Karak, El-Kerak

 

 

Karak

Town in west-central Jordan with 75,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), at an elevation of 950 meters.

It is the capital of the Karak Governorate with an area of 3,495 km² and 230,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate). Karak town is the market and administrative center for a sparsely populated region, mainly dealing with agriculture and livestock raising. Tourism is of some importance in Karak.

Karak is linked by secondary roads to other urban centers of Jordan, it lies 35 km west of Desert Highway, the main road north-south in Jordan.

Modern Karak lies largely within the city walls of the old Crusader town, which is dominated by the 12th-century Frankish citadel, built as a Crusader stronghold. It is in an excellent state of preservation. Karak also has the remains of many Byzantine churches.

History
Mentioned in the Old Testament as Kir, Kir Moab, and Kir Heres, one of the main cities of Moab.
9th century BCE: Forces of IsraelJudah, and Edom siege Kir-haraseth, but withdraws after King Masha of Moab sacrifices his son as a burn offer, angering the people of Israel.
3rd century CE: Mentioned as Characmoba.
4rd century: Passes to the Byzantines.
636: Conquered by Muslim Arabs.
1142: Christian Crusaders builds a fortified citadel on the ruins of an ancient fortress.
1188: The citadel falls to the Muslims after 8 months siege, dubbed the Battle of Hattin.
1293: Three of the towers of the citadel collapses in an earthquake.
1834: Egyptian Ibrahim Pasha commands the destruction of much of Karak’s fortifications after the resistance of locals to his troops.
1879: Ninety Christian Catholic and Orthodox families leave Karak and settle in Madaba following a conflict with Muslim tribes.

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