Friday, April 24, 2015

Ottoman Fortress at Usfan

The Ottoman Fortress at Usfan.
We were looking to get out of town for a little sightseeing, and we came across a Destination Jeddah article about an Ottoman fortress north of Jeddah as a place to go. So we went, with a couple other folks from the consulate.

From the description of the fortress, we expected to spend about 3 hours there after a long hike up. Our kids packed "light snacks" that probably could have provisioned us for a week. And with more stuff in our vehicle than we'd possibly need, our caravan headed off into the desert...and a sand storm. The sand was blowing across road like snow. And when we got out of the car, we were greeted by the stinging wind.

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Reality vs. Expectation: I suppose we could/should have Googled it to discover that the fortress was much smaller than we'd imagined, about the size of a mini-golf course and surrounded by on-ramps. So much so that on our drive up, our daughter asked "Are we going to actually go there, or just drive around it?
The ladder invites you to climb it.
We came across a hole in the ground that reminded me of the Army of Darkness "Boom Stick" scene.
RRR isn't sure about the ominous hole in the ground
Curious, I ventured down into the hole...


There wasn't much down there except for a 6' x 15' room. But the view going back up the stairs was pretty cool.
View from inside the hole
Inside the fortress.
After thoroughly exploring the interior of the fortress, I walked down around the outside.
Outside the Ottoman fortress near Usfan
Turning around, you could see people walking on the irregularly spaced stairs, fighting the wind.
It's rather windy
And there were also a half dozen laborers carrying bucket after bucket of concrete up the slope, pouring them into forms to make mounts for some future exterior lighting. Remember that sand-laden, stinging wind? I'm not sure how those guys worked there without eye protection. 

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We got back in our car and headed for home. For a bit of perspective, here's what the fortress looks like from the road.
Objects in the mirror are smaller than they appear
Not long after we left the fortress, the lead vehicle in the caravan pulled over. One of the guys got out and came back to ask if we wanted to go somewhere else before heading home. "As long as we're out this way, let's see if we can find Moon Mountain. I mean, what else have we got to do?"

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