Coffee on the road, our driver Taisser on the left and Colin on the right.
Krak de Chevaliers. Just wow! The inner castle was originally built in 1031 by the Emir of Homs. The Crusaders reached here in 1099 but it wasn't until 1170 that the massive expansion began under the Hospitallers. In 1188 Saladin had a crack at the castle (if you'll pardon the pun) but withdrew after only a couple of days. At its peak the castle was home to a garrison of 2,000 soldiers.
The entrance to Krak de Chevaliers. The long stairs were constructed so horses could get up the ramp. The holes in the roof are not only to let in light, but also in times of battle were used to drop hot oil onto attackers.
Corridor inside the castle - this place was built to last.
Inside the castle between the outer and inner walls.
The roof in the entrance to the castle.
The entrance ramps.
The wall on the right called a glacis was originally smooth to prevent attackers climbing up it (same as Kerak Castle in Jordan)
The view out over the valley, it was a very foggy day unfortunately.
Inside the castle.
Interior wall of the castle which is constructed so there are two rings of defences with a moat between.
Krac de Chevaliers
Inside the southwest tower of the castle. The inscription on the column is in Arabic giving the full title of Beybars the Mamluk sultan who took over the castle in 1271. The full title of Beybers was "The Manifest King, Pillar of the World and the Faith, Father of the Victory."
The roof of one of the large halls.
Krac de Chevaliers looking onto the water storage tank that was used for water for the horses. The castle water supply for the castle came from an aqueduct bringing water from the surrounding hills.
Inside one of the castle's towers.
On the battlements.
Its a loooong way down.
From the outer ring of battlements over what was the moat to the inner ring.
Taken from the outer wall over what was the moat to the inner ring of battlements.
Tower at Krak de Chevaliers. This exit was originally used so troops could get to the outer walls.
Looking back down the entrance ramp. Once its military need passed the castle was neglected and local villagers moved in. They were relocated to the nearby village in 1934 and restoration of the castle began by the French. The castle was given to Syria as compensation for the damage done to Damascus during the French bombardment in 1945.
A huge vaulted room that once housed kitchens, storage and accommodation for the garrison that, at its peak, numbered 2,000 soldiers.
Krak de Chevaliers
The castle really needs a couple of visits to get a full understanding of its design. Its so huge.