Al-Franj: the Crusaders in the Levant
Saladin in the Holy Land
‘Castles repeatedly changed hands between the Crusaders and Muslims.’
The western areas of the Levant, which played a key role during the Crusader period, are peppered with castles of which those at Karak and Shawbak are fine examples. Castles repeatedly changed hands between the Crusaders and Muslims, and following their success at the Battle of Hittin, Saladin’s soldiers took a number of Frankish citadels, including the aforementioned Karak and Shawbak. Saladin’s Ayyubid successors made additions to these castles, as did the Mamluks, later, during the 7th / 13th and 8th / 14th centuries. Both Frankish and Muslim builders contributed to the fortifications, making it difficult to ascertain who was responsible for which architectural feature. However, it is clear that the Franks brought new military technology to the Levant, and that, in turn, they would have learned about some of the techniques used in Islamic structures.
Karak Castle

Hegira 6th–8th century / AD 12th–14th century
Crusader, Ayyubid–Mamluk
Karak, Jordan
A Crusader castle captured by Saladin's army.