Every corner in Aqaba tells a tale. The Aqaba Fort offers a glimpse into Jordan’s history. It dates back to the region of the Mamluke Sultan Qanswah el-Ghawri (1501-1517 AD). The fort was used and renovated during many historical dynasties from the Mamluks themselves to Ottomans. Situated on the coastline, it would later on serve as vital base for overthrowing the Ottomans Empire.
The fort was part of the pilgrimage stops aligning the Northern Way (Darb Al-Sham).Larger than the other forts, considering its location at the Red Sea. Pilgrims and travelers would flock to the area seeking safety and lodging within the gates of the fort, which offered compartments and accommodation for passers-by.
The fort was designed in a rectangular 56.5m x 58m shape, with towers protruding from the corners, from the middle of the northern side stood the two towered gatehouse. The towers where structured with around internal space, and a polygonal exterior. However, with time they were rebuilt to take an overall rounded structure.
The walls were built to encompass a two story set of chambers that would provide lodging and safety for travelers and pilgrims passing by. At later times, these same chambers where utilized for army accommodation.
Within the fort mosque was built structure by the south wall. The only surviving monuments of this are the Qibla and Mihrab.
The fort was meant to give the impression of being symmetrical, the two towers give the allusion of being of the same size, and the gate seems to be in the middle of the wall joining the two towers. However, one tower is larger than the other and the gate is slightly to the west.
The below grounds of the castle bring originate from early Islamic times, before the Mamluk`s fort was built. However, these remains where obliterated during the Crusaders attack and settlement in Aqaba.
The chambers within the walls would later on be rebuilt and the fortified to serve as khan. However, earthquakes that hit the area would lead to the abandonment of the site. The khan would then serve as a base for caravans passing through.
The building that now survives is attribute to the Mamluk`s, who left an inscription dating back to 1514-1515. The structure was based on the pervious elements and it served as a caravanserai.
During the Ottoman rule, the fort was renovated to serve as station for pilgrims heading to and from the holy lands. During the Arab Revolt, some of the chambers where turned into military barracks.
While walking through the area, one can find the Hashemite Coat of Arms which was inscribed above the main gate of Aqaba Fort.
Sunday –Thursday 08:00 – 17;00
Friday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday –Thursday 08:00 – 16;00
Friday – Saturday 10:00 – 16:00