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‘Karak Castle expected to be reopened to visitors next week’

Antiquities director says fortress not affected by gunfire

By Laila Azzeh - Dec 20,2016 - Last updated at Dec 20,2016

Karak Castle is seen in the southern city, about 140km south of Amman, on Monday (AP photo)

AMMAN — The Crusader Karak Castle will likely be reopened to the public next week after the completion of security measures, an informed source said Tuesday. 

Four terrorists were killed in a security operation in the southern governorate of Karak that ended towards midnight on Sunday after 10 people were killed in a terror attack, including four police officers and three gendarmes.

Two civilians and a Canadian national were also killed, while 34 other civilians and police officers were injured when four gunmen stormed the southern city and fired at security and civilians before heading to Karak Castle.

“The castle itself was not affected by the gunfire. The damages incurred were minor,” Khaled Tarawneh, director of Karak Antiquities Department, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

The largest Crusader castle in the Levant, with an area of 24,000 square metres, Karak Castle is a “dark maze of stone-vaulted halls and endless passageways”, according to the Jordan Tourism Board’s (JTB) website.  

The Crusader castle’s best-preserved passageways are underground.

In the Castle Plaza, 19th century Ottoman administrative buildings have been redesigned to house a tourist centre, with restaurants, a crafts centre and other facilities grouped around the central plaza, the website said. 

While the castle essentially dates back to the 12th century, Karak has been a fortress since biblical times. 

Many Jordanian Christian families come from Karak, and some of them trace their origins back to the Byzantines, the JTB said.

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