Perched dramatically like a ship on the crest of a hill, the castle at SHOBAK was the first to be built by the Crusaders in Transjordan. In a more ruinous state than Karak castle, and much rebuilt by Mamlukes and Ottomans, it’s nonetheless well worth an exploratory detour on a route between Dana and Petra. In addition, the RSCN is exploring possibilities for a new nature reserve here: a fine canyon trail already leads along Wadi Ghwayr between Mansoura village, about 10km north of Shobak, and Feynan.

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