Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 75, Crac des Chevaliers, Syria

We are now leaving Syria for Lebanon but not before we see Crac des Chevaliers, which has been described as the epitome of the dream castle of childhood fantasies, and 'the finest castle in the world'.

Impervious to the onslaught of time, Crac des Chevaliers (in Arabic Qala'at al-Hosn) is simply awesome!

The first fortress known to have existed on this site was built by the emir of Homs in 1031, but it was the Crusader knights who, around the middle of the 12th century, largely built and expanded Crac into its existing form. Despite repeated attacks and sieges, the castle held firm.

In fact, it was never truly breached; the Crusaders just gave it up.
Numbers in the castle, which was built to hold a garrison of 2000, had fallen to around 200. Surrounded by the armies of Islam and with no hope of reprieve, Crac must have seemed more like a prison than a stronghold. Even though they had supplies to last for five years, after a month under siege the Crusaders agreed to depart the castle in return for safe conduct.

This tour of Syria has been is such a pity that there is only 1 active postcrosser in this beautiful country :-(

No comments: