The Montreal Crusader Castle is located in the town of Shoubak, somewhat to the south of the Dead Sea basin which forms a part of the Jordanian-Israeli border. In Arabic, the ruins of the Montreal Crusader Castle are called Shoubak or Shawbak, named after the town in which they are located.
The castle which sits on the top of a cone-shaped hill was commissioned by Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1115. Today, not much remains of the original castle but it is still nonetheless well-worth a visit, particularly if you are going to be passing through Jordan’s Ma’an Governorate.
Sections which were added later, including towers and walls, still give a clear indication of just how formidable the Montreal Crusader Castle once was. It is also an especially nice place to visit if you have already visited all of the major Jordan tourist attractions and now you want to explore some of the lesser-known ones which are off the main tourist trail.
Montreal Crusader Castle – A Brief History
Baldwin I of Jerusalem ordered the castle to be built in 1115 while he was on an expedition to capture Aqaba on the Red Sea coast, a goal which he achieved the following year, in 1116. Baldwin originally named the castle Krak de Montreal.
The location of the Montreal Crusader Castle, along with its positing on top of the conical-shaped hill, was of great strategic importance to Balwin I of Jerusalem.
Whoever held the castle essentially had full control over the main route between Egypt and Syria. This meant that traders heading in either direction could easily be spotted and subsequently taxed, as could pilgrims traveling to Medina and Mecca.
Montreal Crusader Castle becomes a Part of Transjordan
The Royal family of Jerusalem controlled the Montreal Crusader Castle until 1142, at which point it became a part of the Lordship of Oultrejordain (Transjordan). Shortly after this, the center of Transjordan was moved to a bigger and far more formidable castle at Karak.
At this point, the Montreal Crusader Castle was passed to the first lord of Transjordan. It was later passed on to Raynald of Châtillon who became lord of Transjordan in 1170.
Unlike those before him, Raynald used the castle as a means to attack and tax wealthy caravans which up until then had been allowed to pass without hindrance and without being harmed.
Raynald also started having boats built at the site, and would then have the boats transported to the Red Sea in preparation for a planned attack on Mecca.
Montreal Falls to Sultan Saladin
When word of this got out, Saladin, an Ayyubid sultan, successfully managed to invade the Kingdom and capture Jerusalem. He then turned his focus onto capturing Montreal, an endeavor which proved to be more difficult than anticipated.
Because the Montreal Crusader Castle was perched on the top of a hill, Saladin’s troops were not able to use siege engines, but after two long years, the castle eventually fell into the hands of Saladin and his men.
Many years later, in 1261, the Montreal Crusader Castle was successfully attacked and conquered by Sultan Baybars who was the fourth sultan of Egypt during the Mamluk Dynasty.
Visiting Montreal Crusader Castle
The Montreal Crusader Castle might not be one of the top Jordan tourist attractions, but it is still a great place to visit. It is also in close proximity to Karak Castle which is indeed one of Jordan’s top attractions.
In fact, if you browse through some of our Jordan tours or our breathtaking Egypt and Jordan combination tours, you will almost certainly come across many which include a visit to the nearby Karak Castle.
At Egypt Tours Plus, all our tour itineraries are fully customizable, and can be tailored to meet the exact needs of our clients. If you would like to visit the Montreal Crusader Castle, we can easily add it to any Egypt and Jordan tour itinerary of your choice if it has not already been included.
Our tour specialists are always standing by, ready to help ensure that your vacation is the vacation of a lifetime.