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Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din
Site number:
Type of site: Heritage in danger
Date: 11-13th century
Date of Inscription: 2006
Location: Middle East, Syrian Arab Republic, Municipalities of Al Hosn and Haffeh
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Description: Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din are two significant castle examples demonstrating the swap over of influences; they provide evidence of the Near East’s growth of fortified architecture during the time of the Crusades, from the 11th to 13th century. The Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem built the Crac des Chevaliers between 1142 and 1271. In the late 13th century it saw additional construction by the Mamluks; now it is classed among the best-preserved Crusade castles. The Mamluks added a massive square tower and the Hospitallers included eight round towers – it is the epitome of the medieval castle, particularly of the military orders. Likewise, the Fortress of Saladin, Qal’at Salah El-Din, albeit partially in ruins, continues to symbolize a wonderful demonstration of this sort of fortification, in terms of the constructional excellence as well as the endurance of historical stratigraphy. It has managed to maintain elements from its 10th century Byzantine beginnings, the Frankish transformations (late 12th century) and Ayyubid dynasty added fortifications from the late 12th to mid-13th century. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
  Krak des Chevaliers, also transliterated Crac des Chevaliers, is a Crusader fortress in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval military architectures in the world. In Arabic, the fortress is called Qal'at al-Ḥiṣn (Arabic: قلعة الحصن), the word Krak coming from the Syriac karak, meaning fortress. It is located 65 km west of the city of Homs, close to the border of Lebanon, and is administratively part of the Homs Governorate. Krak des Chevaliers was the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades. It was expanded between 1150 and 1250 and eventually housed a garrison of 2,000. The inner curtain wall is up to 100 feet thick at the base on the south side, with seven guard towers 30 feet in diameter. King Edward I of England, while on the Ninth Crusade in 1272, saw the fortress and used it as an example for his own castles in England and Wales. The fortress was described as “perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world” by T.E. Lawrence. This fortress was made a World Heritage Site, along with Qal’at Salah El-Din, in 2006 and is owned by the Syrian government. The fortress is one of the few sites where Crusader art (in the form of frescoes) has been preserved. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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