On Saturday, we drove an hour and a half south to visit Karak Castle, the largest castle in the Levant (the region of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine, collectively), built by the Crusaders beginning in 1140.
Elise's advice: Never look directly into a World War I-era cannon.
Looking over the entrance bridge into the moat.
It was clear enough on the day we went to see the south end of the Dead Sea. You can just make it out on the horizon in this photo of the back of Peter's peach-colored sun hat.
In 1176 Raynald of Châtillon gained possession of Kerak Castle after marrying Stephanie of Milly. From Kerak Castle, Raynald harassed the trade camel trains, built himself a five ship navy, and even attempted an attack on Mecca itself. He was a particularly brutal ruler; Before throwing his enemies from the castle walls to their deaths, he would put their heads in a box, so they wouldn't pass out before crashing to the rocks below.
At one point, during our visit, a very vocal kitty cat made an appearance. Since he lived in the castle, we assumed it was a prince. Of everyone in the group, it took a special liking to Elise.
Someone is getting ready for lunch.
In response to Raynald's belligerent actions, Saladin attacked the castle In 1183. He and his army arrived at the exact same time as the marriage of Humphrey IV of Toron and Isabella I of Jerusalem. Isabella send plates of food from the wedding feast down to Saladin, and Saladin agreed not to attack the castle until after the wedding was over. The attack led to a one-year siege after which time everyone got hungry enough to let the castle fall.
After our visit, we had lunch at Kir Heres, right outside the gates of the castle. It was a hunting lodge of some fashion, boasting ostrich steaks, but I'm pretty sure, we had the chicken.