"Qala'at Marqab - brooding black basalt castle" Top 5 Page for this destination Syria Things to Do Tip by TheWanderingCamel
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The combination of its position high above the coastal plain, and the dull black stone of its construction, give the Crusader castle of Marqab a forbidding, sombre appearance. The castle dominates the landscape and views from its heights are stunning.
This, like all Syria's Crusader castles, was a serious working machine, able to garrison a large force, and as long as the Hospitallers who held it did just that, it was invincible. But as the Crusades ran out of steam and the number of knights dwindled, the impregnible castle became vulnerable until, in 1285 , Mameluke sappers mined the south tower and the fortress surrendered without a final battle. The conquerers continued to use it as a fortress for many more years but it slowly fell in to disrepair, housing an Arab village for a while, until this was cleared for restoration to begin.
There is a lot to see at Marqab. The donjon, Great Hall, barracks, kitchens, chapel and other areas are in good condition. Fragments of 12th century frescoes can still be seen in the chapel and there is access to a roof area from where the views are quite splendid.
Opening hours are 0900-1800 every day in summer, 0900-1600 and closed on Tuesdays in winter.
Directions: The castle lies about 6km south of Banyas.
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