Karak Castle & Dana Village

Nothing beats experience.  No amount of classroom time in Boston can match putting students into a place where they can see, hear, touch, smell, taste, or otherwise acquire first-hand knowledge in the field itself. 
In this picture, students were visiting Karak Castle, originally built as a Crusader castle in 1132 AD/C.E.

The castle fell to Saladin’s army in 1188, after which time it took on major changes, the basic form of which we still can explore in the 21st century.  Today, we see the differences between the rough and dark Crusader masonry and the lighter, softer limestone used by the Muslims, as well as some Ottoman additions from the late 19th Century. 

Here, our students climb up to a lookout position in the upper court.  I believe none of these students had ever explored a Crusader or a Muslim castle until this visit.  They learned from us a bit about the history of the Crusades and the Muslim responses to that Christian Holy War originating in Europe. 
Moving on to Dana Village, our Bedouin guide tells us about efforts to restore the village to its ancient historic beauty, both in terms of the stone buildings as well as the natural beauty surrounding it.  Our guide, Mr. Ahmed, made special note of the fact that the US government provided $3 million in restoration funding for the village, which now is near to its goal of self-sustainability through tourism and trade in organic products.  


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