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Krak des Chevaliers

Photo © A travers. View all images in our Krak des Chevaliers Photo Gallery.
Photo © Galen Frysinger.
Photo © Galen Frysinger.
Photo © Galen Frysinger.
Photo © Galen Frysinger.
Photo © Richard Beck.

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

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

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

Site Information
Names:Krak des Chevaliers; Qala'at Al-Hosn
Country:Syria
Categories:Castles and Palaces
Faiths:Christianity; Islam
Styles:Romanesque
Dates:1150-1250
Status:ruins
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Syria
Coordinates:34.757088° N, 36.294633° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Krak des Chevaliers

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.

References

  1. Terry Carter, Lara Dunston, and Amelia Thomas, Lonely Planet Syria and Lebanon, 3rd ed. (July 2008), 133-35.
  2. Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din - UNESCO World Heritage List (2006)
  3. Traveler Reviews of Krac des Chevaliers - TripAdvisor

More Information

Article Info

Title:Krak des Chevaliers
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:10/19/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/syria/krak-des-chevaliers/turkey/antioch
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/syria/krak-des-chevaliers/turkey/antioch">Krak des Chevaliers</a>