Ajloun & Ajloun Forest Reserve
The town of Ajloun sits around 70 kilometres to the north of Amman, and only 20 kilometres to the northwest of Jerash. Nearby, the dramatic Ajloun Castle is perched on top of Mt ‘Auf, and the verdant Ajloun Forest Reserve offers some fantastic trekking and opportunities to learn about local industries.
The earth of the Ajloun Forest Reserve is wonderfully fertile, as can be seen from the diverse plants and trees that can be found here, including wild strawberry and pistachio trees, evergreen oaks, pines and carob trees. Whilst the reserve is green year-round, it is at its most beautiful in the springtime, when the forest floor is blanketed with wildflowers. This verdant environment is also a safe haven for a variety of animals, including the crested porcupine and striped hyena.
There are a number of walking trails in the reserve, with options suitable for all levels of fitness. The different routes will take you through the lush forest, passing crumbling ruins, historic monuments and journeying through local villages, where you can learn about traditional crafts and industries.
Ajloun Castle’s elevated location means it can be spotted from miles around, sitting atop Mt ‘Auf 1,250 metres above sea level. The castle was built between 1184 and 1188, and played a key role in the defence against the Crusaders. Geographically, the castle was also strategically important in terms of communication, allowing messages to pass between Cairo and Damascus within a day by using carrier pigeons.