Friday, May 12, 2006

Krak des Chevaliers. Knights' Castle. قلعة الحصن

Here it begins the road to the castle, when it is seen from main Homs-Wadi road.

Krak des Chevaliers (also Crac des Chevaliers, "fortress of the knights" in a mixture of Arabic and French) was the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller in Syria during the Crusades.

The castle is located east of Tripoli in the "Homs Gap (34°46′N 36°19′E)," atop a 650-meter high cliff along the only route from Antioch to Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea. The original fortress had been built in 1031 for the emir of Aleppo. It was captured by Raymond IV of Toulouse early in 1099, during the First Crusade, but was abandoned when the Crusaders continued their march to Jerusalem. It was reoccupied again by Tancred, Prince of Galilee in 1110. Raymond II, count of Tripoli, gave it to the Hospitallers in 1144.

The fortress is one of the few sites where Crusader art (in the form of frescoes) has been preserved. Edward I of England, while on the Ninth Crusade in 1272, saw the fortress and used it as an example for his own castles in England and Wales. T.E. Lawrence believed Krak des Chevaliers was the greatest of the Crusader castles and "the most wholly admirable castle in the world." Today it is owned by the Syrian government, who operates it as a tourist attraction.

1 comment:

Red Rose said...

pretty impressive..I have to visit it soon in summer I hope..