Articles/Asfan Castle: Protector of ancient Hajj caravans

Asfan Castle: Protector of ancient Hajj caravans

قلعة عسفان الأثرية .. شيدت لحماية قوافل الحجاج

14 JUN 2020


Source: Nadeen Al-Wazani

On top of some high hills near not far from Jeddah stands Asafan Castle, built in the early 14th century with basalt. It is one of the most prominent historical landmarks in Asafan city that provided protection for commercial and pilgrimage caravans heading from Jeddah to Makkah and Madinah.


The castle is located on top of the Kathanah hills, rising 20 meters high and situated near a road passing through Asfan in the Jeddah governorate. The castle overlooks the valleys in the area as well as the road to Madinah.


The square-shaped castle is built with a tower on each corner and two additional towers in the walls; the entire building covers an area of 200 square meters. It also features armories and rooms for castle residents, usually seasonal security forces to protect pilgrims. The castle was built from basalt stones brought from nearby mountainous areas.


Some of the walls and towers in the castle are still in relatively good condition, despite standing for centuries. Asfan municipality restored the historic castle in 2015 and rebuilt the fallen columns and stairway to allow tourists to access the site. Restoration efforts have been made to rebuilding the nearby Tafla well constructed centuries ago and introduce souks, restaurants and parking facilities in and around the site.