routes in the 12th-15th Centuries. It was first built in 1184 by the nephew of Salaheddin (Saladin), Izzeddin Usama Munqith, to repel the Crusader threats to north Jordan (the Crusaders had already occupied south Jordan, from their massive castles at Shobak and Karak, and were driven out of TransJordan in 1189). The Ajlun castle was expanded in 1214 into its current configuration.
The castle is one of the best preserved and most complete examples of medieval Arab-Islamic military architecture. Among its main features are a surrounding dry moat, a drawbridge into the main entrance, the fortified entrance gate (with decorative pigeon stone carvings), a massive south tower, and several other towers on all sides. Inside, the castle is a labyrinth of vaulted passages, winding staircases, long ramps, enormous rooms that served as dining halls, dormitories, and stables, a total of 11 water cisterns, and the private quarters of the Lord of the Castle (complete with a small stone bathtub and rectangular windows that convert into arrow-slits for defensive purposes).