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5 Most Impressive Crusader Castles

This is a list of impressive castles in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, founded or occupied during the crusades by the crusaders, in the 11th century till the 13th century

1. Belvoir Fortress, Israel

A Crusader fortress in northern Israel, on a hill 20 km (12 mi) south of the Sea of Galilee. Construction of the castle began in 1168. About 50 knights and 450 soldiers lived in Belvoir, along with their families and staff. Though in ruins it is one of the best-preserved Crusader castles in Israel, which has more crusaders castles than any other country.

2. Kerak Castle, Jordan

A large crusader castle located in Kerak in Jordan. It is one of the largest crusader castles in the Levant. Construction of the castle began in the 1140s, under Pagan, Fulk of Jerusalem’s butler. The Crusaders called it Crac des Moabites or “Karak in Moab”, as it is frequently referred to in history books.

3. Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Located in southwest Turkey in the city of Bodrum, this castle was built by the Knights Hospitaller starting in 1402. It currently houses an impressive museum of underwater archaeology, with items excavated from ships that went down in the Aegean Sea as many as 3,000 years ago.

4. Krak des Chevaliers, Syria

The largest crusader castle in the world, and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world, this massive hilltop structure is located in Syria. The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurd. In 1142 it was given by Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, to the Knights Hospitaller. It remained in their possession until it fell in 1271.

5. Citadel of Salah Ed-Din, Syria

Also known as Saladin Castle, this castle is named after the great Molem leader known in the West as Saladin. There had been a fortress here in ancient times and the crusader fortress is just one in a succession of military buildings on this side. The Arabs, the Byzantines, and the Crusaders fought to control this castle. Byzantines fortified it around the year 1000 with 3 walls, 5 meters in thickness. Crusaders later added the eastern moat. With its 24 meters high tower, its small defensive towers, squares, and stables it became invincible. Near the Byzantine, fortifications are the remains of an old church used by the Byzantines, and later by the Crusaders.

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