Aqaba Fort goes by a number of monikers. Various sources refer to it as Mamluk Fort and Aqaba Castle, but for practical purposes, it can be easily identified by specifying the fortress situated at the end of the Aqaba corniche. The fort is popular with tourists, and for good reason-several of them, in fact. First, admission to the structure is free. Second, it is not just a piece of the city’s history but also a picturesque location, one where you may safely expect to enjoy your photography session or would-be-adventurer investigations.
The original structure on the site was actually destroyed by several wars. They say that the first structure was a Crusader castle, one most probably erected in the 1300’s. After the destruction of this earlier building, it was reconstructed under the orders of the Sultan Qansah al-Ghouri of the Mamluk Dynasty. This was in the year 1587.
Since then, various other elements have conspired to reduce the fort, little by little. From the elements and time itself to shelling by the British and the Arab Revolt wars, the fort has certainly seen its share of assaulters. It is in remarkably good condition, however, all things considered. Most of it is still nicely preserved, and you can walk around the passages and chambers to see such interesting features as the prison, an execution room, the pigeon coops (where they keep messenger birds), and the like. The second storey is a great place from which to take photos as well, but you should probably keep in mind that there are no railings there. As such, it is not the best place to visit if you have either a fear of heights or very young children with you. Accidental drops are not unlikely.
Take note that there are several other sites worthy of a visit in the general vicinity of Aqaba Fort. For example, the Giant Flag is just a short walk (or cab ride, if you are feeling a little lazy) away, and lots of shops where you can get refreshments or a bit of coffee are near that monument. There are also usually quite a few lads offering to take tourists on camel rides around the area for a fair price. Furthermore, there is a Visitor’s Centre near the fort that is open from 08:00hrs to 14:00hrs from November to March and 08:00hrs to 17:00hrs from April to October. The centre provides information on not just the fort but all major monuments and tourist sites in the city, so it can be a great resource for the traveller. A museum of local antiquities is near the fort too-for precise directions, you can ask the locals, your tour guide, or the people at the Visitor’s Centre itself. If you are coming from downtown, you can actually just walk to Aqaba Fort, as it is only about a quarter of an hour’s walk away. You can take a cab as well: the fare should be fairly cheap from downtown to the fort.