The delegates of the Welcome to Palestine mission offered themselves a full day of excursion on Thursday, with bathe in the Dead Sea and visited the castle of Ajloun, in north of Amman.
The castle of Ajloun was built in 1184 by a nephew of Salah al-Din (Saladin to Westerners) to defend the land held by the Arabs from the Crusaders. It is almost opposite the Castle of Belvoir on the other side of the Jordan. At that time it was known as Qalat al Rabadh. Originally it was a square castle with a tower at each corner; it was enlarged some forty years later, when another tower was built. Under the Mamelukes, Ajloun was one of the chain of castles which, using heliograph, fire beacons and pigeon post, could transmit messages from Damascus to Cairo within twelve hours. It was severely damaged by earthquakes in the 18th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, and restoration work is proceeding. Alone on its hill, and looking over some magnificent countryside, Ajloun was admirably sited and was never taken by the Crusaders, although the Mongols in the 13th century occupied it for a short time before it was retaken by its original owners.