Qalaat Mehelbeh قلعة المهالبة

Like many of the sites later fortified during the Crusades, this defensive outpost began as a Byzantine fort. Under the Crusades it was a dependency of the Lord of Saone (now the Castle of Saladin) but fell to Saladin in 1188. كانت هذه القلعة حصناً دفاعياً متقدماً للبيزنطيين، وفيما بعد أثناء الحروب الصليبية كانت تابعة […]

Qalaat Ollaiqa قلعة العليقة

This relatively small castle of the Crusader era had an unusual history — it was ‘traded’, i. e. sold to the Ismaelis by the Crusaders in the 1180s. The site was probably originally a Byzantine fortified position surveying the deep gorge of the Nahr Jobar. The castle is discussed on page 238 of Monuments of […]

Qalaat Maniqa (Qalaat al-Maniqa قلعة المنيقة )

Little remains within the enclosure of this Ismaeli castle taken from the Crusaders by Rashid al-Din Sinan (‘the Old Man of the Mountain’ of Crusader legends) after 1160. Externally, the circuit walls survive in part on the northeast and northwest. For description, Monuments of Syria (third edition, I B Tauris, London 2009), page 231.  منشآت […]

Qalaat al-Khawabi قلعة الخوابي

The Ismaeli castle at Qalaat al-Khawabi lies approximately 20 kms northeast of Tartus in the Syrian coastal mountains. One of the Ismaeli strongholds of the Crusader period, the castle was re-fortified by Rashid al-Din Sinan, the Ismaeli leader, after 1160. The castle surrendered  to the Mamluks under Baybars in 1273. The castle hosted a village […]

Tartus طرطوس

 Tartus is Syria’s second major port city. Remains of the medieval fortress of Tortosa, the headquarters of the Knights Templar, lie within the modern city, slowly being released from the clutter of the once-sleepy port town. The visit as described in ‘Monuments of Syria’ (I B Tauris, London 2009) pages 290–294 begins at the city’s […]

Zalebiye زلبيّة , Byzantine fortress

Zalebiye, Byzantine fortress, a set on Flickr. This Byzantine fortress (ancient name Basileia) is a companion to its larger counterpart two kilometres upstream on the Euphrates River. While the western walls have been washed away by changes in the river course, much of the eastern side of the enclosure remains, along with some of the […]