Qal'at el 'Aqaba


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Middle East » Jordan » South » Aqaba
November 16th 2009
Published: November 16th 2009
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First visit just before closing time...



We arrived at Qal'at el 'Aqaba 5 minutes before closing time, so we didn't have long to see the sites. The Aqaba Museum next door was also closing, and rather than pay the JOD 1 fee each, we decided to come back another day. Anyway, we had a chance to take a few photographs and to look around the area.

The following information was provided on a noticeboard at the castle. All grammatical and typographical errors are in the original:

UNIVERSITY OF GENT (BELGIUM)
UNIVERSITY OF LYON (FRANCE)
DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUITIES OF JORDAN

In collaboration with
ANDREWS UNIVERSITY (USA)
UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN (DENMARK)

AQABA CASTLE PROJECT



Prof. Dr. J. De Meulemeester
Director of the archaeological excavations (2000-2008)

The Aqaba Castle Project. New excavation facts



It was probably not until the 1160s that a permanent Crusader military presence was established in Aqaba. Analysis of the historical documents however, shows that the Crusader castle that Saladin captured was on the island of Jazirat Fara’un. The Crusader attack probably gave the final blow to the early Islamic town. Subsequently, in Mamluk times the settlement, called Al-‘Aqaba developed in the vicinity of the present castle. The actual standing structures, have a later Mamluk layout. So the possibility that the fortification to which the Mamluk governor of Ayla transferred his residence around 1320 lay under the actual castle had to be considered.

After 4 seasons of limited excavations, we can conclude that the site of Aqaba Castle has a much longer occupation history than was know; the overall structural phasing of the site may be summarised as follows:

Underground:
• Phase 1 (8th - 12th c.) : traces of buildings, hearths and hydraulic structures
• Phase 2 (second half 12th c.) : 1st fortification (maybe Ayyubid).
• Phase 3 (1320s.) : 1st kahn = rebuilding of the 1st fortification (Mameluk).
• Phase 4 (14th/15th c.) : 2nd khan built to the east of the 1st kahn and rebuilding of 2nd kahn.

Above ground:
• Phase 5 (c. 1515) : 3rd kahn or ‘Castle’.
• Phase 6 (17th - 18th c.) : Rebuilding of the 3rd kahn.
• Phase 7 (1840s) : military fort.
• Phase 8 : 1st W.W. : destruction and rebuilding since 1980s.






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Tot: 0.934s; Tpl: 0.086s; cc: 7; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0325s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.4mb