The Krak des Chevaliers (French for "Fortress of Knights"; Arabic: Qala'at Al-Hosn) near Homs in Syria is a popular tourist destination that was declared a World Heritage Site in 2006. Author Paul Theroux described it as the dream castle of childhood fantasies, while T.E. Lawrence called it "the finest castle in the world."
History of Krak des Chevaliers
The remarkably well-preserved Crusader castle looks almost exactly as it did during the Crusades. Built and expanded between 1150 and 1250, it eventually housed a garrison of 2000. The castle guarded the only major pass between Antioch in Turkey and Beirut in Lebanon. It held out against several attacks, but was lost to the Mamluk Sultan Beybar in 1271.
What to See at Krak des Chevaliers
The castle has two parts: an outside wall with 13 towers and an inside wall and keep. The two are separated by a moat which was used to fill the baths and water the horses, but is now full of stagnant water.
Through the main entrance (an imposing gate in the 16ft-thick wall) and past the towers that defended the castle is a courtyard. A corridor covered in delicate carvings leads to a large vaulted hall containing an old oven, a well and some latrines.
The chapel in the courtyard was converted to a mosque after Sultan Beybar took over, and you can still see its minbar (pulpit).
The top floor of the Tower of the Daughter of the King is home to a café with great views.
Quick Facts on Krak des Chevaliers
|Names:||Krak des Chevaliers · Qala'at Al-Hosn|
|Categories:||castles; ruins; World Heritage Sites|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||34.757088° N, 36.294633° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Krak des Chevaliers|
- Terry Carter, Lara Dunston, and Amelia Thomas, Lonely Planet Syria and Lebanon, 3rd ed. (July 2008), 133-35.
- Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din - UNESCO World Heritage List (2006)
- Traveler Reviews of Krac des Chevaliers - TripAdvisor
Map of Krak des Chevaliers, Syria
Below is a location map and aerial view of Krak des Chevaliers. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.