castle of the knights
“One of the last sights I ever expected to see in the Middle East was a Crusader castle, but that was exactly what I saw in Syria. On the overland trip from Cairo to Istanbul, we came across the imposing medieval fortification of Krak des Chevaliers.
Krak des Chevaliers stands atop a hill, and seems to hold an imposing command over the valley between the Syrian town of Homs and Tripoli. For a structure of its age (over 800 years), the castle is in remarkably good condition – it was never besieged which probably helped its survival, and has now been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to explore the castle, and what an amazing experience that was. The castle had two lines of defence; an outside wall complete with many towers and an inside wall and keep. The two walls are separated by a moat, that is now full of smelly stagnant water. Through the main gate in the enormously thick castle wall is the courtyard. From the courtyard we were able to wander through the dim inner passages, hallways and tunnels of the castle, and even discover the great hall. We made the climb to the top of one of the towers before leaving, and from there the views were amazing. This castle was truly a trip highlight!”
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* photo by Guy Needham – Intrepid Photography Competition