"Krak des Chevaliers" Qal`at al Hisn by Aitana

Qal`at al Hisn Travel Guide: 38 reviews and 159 photos

During the Crusades, Syria fell into French hands, who erected a series of castles and fortresses in the European style. Krak des Chevaliers (Qal’at al-Hisn) is one of the most important preserved medieval military castles in the world, and one of the few sites where Crusader art (in the form of frescoes) has been preserved.

Krak des Chevaliers was the headquarters of the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. The castle is located in the Homs Gap, atop a hill along the only route from Antioch to Tripoli in the Mediterranean coast. The original fortress had been built in 1031 for the emir of Aleppo. During the First Crusade it was captured by Raymond IV of Toulouse (1099), then abandoned. It was given by Raymond II to the Knights of St. John, who remodeled and developed it.

In 1163, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Nur ad-Din. The fortress was again besieged without success by Saladin in 1188. Finally, the fortress was captured by Baibars on April 8 1271.

The fortress has two separate lines of defense: an outer curtained wall with several cylindrical towers, and the inner curtain, with 25 m thick walls. They are separated by a ditch. The inner fortress was used as the crusader castle. The courtyard between inner and outer gates was rebuilt in a Gothic style. The small chapel was transformed into a mosque by Baibars; a mihrab and three minbars still remain. There are also a meeting hall, a large store and two large stables for hundreds of horses. The Grand Master used to occupy one of the three towers that strengthen the south wall.

  • Last visit to Qal`at al Hisn: Aug 2000
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (2)

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    nice castle, unfortunately I just read in wiki:
    The castle was reported to have been damaged in July 2013 by an airstrike during the Siege of Homs, and once more on the 18th of August 2013 it was clearly damaged yet the amount of destruction is unknown.

    • Aitana's Profile Photo
      Dec 10, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      It is horrible to read about the destruction of Syria. I wish tris war will finish soon.

  • MM212's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    Very nice start. Hope to see more!


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