Krak des Chevaliers

The Krak des Chevaliers (Castle of the Knights) is a concentric style crusader castle that was built during the first crusades and first inhabited in the 11th century. It was damaged by an earthquake and rebuilt during the period of about 1140 to 1170. It originally was a fortress style castle and in the 13th century it was expanded on to become a concentric style castle. This was the last work that has been done on the castle and it is this way we see it today.

An excellent example of Medieval Military Gothic Architecture.

During the 13th century the castle was at its peak as a military installation and it house 2,000 troops of the Knights Hospitaller. Over the centuries this fortress changed hands several times between opposing forces. It was unsuccesfully sieged in 1188 by Saladin. And in 1271 it was taken by the cunning trick of a forged letter sent to the occupants ordering them to surrender it.


By Krak_des_Chevaliers_landscape.jpg: (Ergo)derivative work: Nev1 (Krak_des_Chevaliers_landscape.jpg) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Krak des Chevaliers as it was in the Middle-Ages. From Guillaume Rey : Étude sur les monuments de l'architecture militaire des croisés en Syrie et dans l'île de Chypre (1871).


Crusader Castles in the Holy Land 1097-1192 (Fortress)

The Crusaders that landed in the Middle East in the late-11th century brought with them their own traditions of military architecture, but it was not long before their defensive construction began to reflect a broad array of local influences. Most early Crusader structures were relatively small, and tended to increase the existing natural and defensive features of a site. The basic forms comprised freestanding towers, castra, and hilltop and spur-castles, but urban centres, religious sites and rural dwellings were also fortified. From the 1160s, bigger, stronger and more expensive castles began to appear, in response to developments in Islamic siege weaponry. This title examines the early fortifications erected by the Crusaders in modern-day Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and south-eastern Turkey.
































































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