Visiting the fortifications today

The names given to cities, castles, villages and practically every other feature of the Middle Eastern landscape have changed over the centuries. Furthermore, they were known by different names by different peoples during the period of the Crusades. The list of alternative names given below includes most of the sites mentioned in this book, but Turkish and Hebrew names only apply to locations that lie within the modern states of Turkey or Israel. Cities that are commonly known by variations of their correct or ancient names are given these within the text. This is not, however, a full list of sites fortified by the Crusaders during the 13th century.

Medieval French or Latin

Arabic

Turkish or Hebrew

Alexandretta

Iskandariyah

Iskerderun

Amoude

Khan ‘Amudah

Amuda

Aradus

Ruad or Arwad

 

Arima

al-Araymah

 

Arsur (Apollonia)

Arsuf

 

Belfort (or Beaufort)

Shaqif Arnun (or Qal’at al-Shaqif)

 

Belhacem

Qal’at Abu’l-Hasan

 

Botron

al-Batrun

 

(or Le Boutron) Caco

al-Qaqun

 

Caesarea

al-Qaisariyah

Sedot Yam

Cafarlet

Kfar Lam

Habonim

Calansue

al-Qalansuwa

 

Casal des Plains

 

Azor

Casal Imbert

al-Zib

Akhziv

Castel Blanc

Burj Safitha

 

Castel Neuf

Hunin

 

Castel Rouge

al-Qalat Yahmur

 

Castellum Regis

al-Mi’ilyah

Ma’alot

Caymont

Tal Qaimun

Yoqne’am

Chateau Pelerin

Atlit

 

Medieval French or Latin

Arabic

Turkish or Hebrew

Coliat

al-Qulai’ah

 

Crac des Chevaliers

Hisn al-Akrad

 

Cursat

Qusair

 

Gaston

Baghras

Bagra

Gibelcar

‘Akkar (Jabal ‘Akkar)

 

Gibelet (or Byblos)

Jbayl

 

Judin

Qal’at Jiddin

 

La Tor de l’Opital

Burj al-Shamali

 

Le Destroit

Qal’at Dustray

 

Maraclea

Maraqiyah

 

Margat

al-Marqab

 

Mirabel

 

Migdal Afeq

Montfort

Qal’at al-Qurayn

 

Nephin

Anafah

 

Recordane

Khirbat Kardanah

 

Roche de Roussel

Hajar Shuglan

Chilvan Kale

Saphet

Safad

Zefat

St. Simeon

 

Suveydiye

Tortosa

Tartus

 

Trapesac

Darbsak

 

Turris Salinarum

Tal Tananim

 

Villejargon

‘Arqah

 

On the mainland next to the castle of Atlit is one of the rarest sights in the Middle East: a largely undisturbed Crusader cemetery. Some of the most decorated gravestones have been removed, and most that remain are quite plain. However, amongst them are a few with carved crosses. The identities of those buried beneath are unknown but they may have been senior members of the Hospitaller garrison.

Syria

Generally, the 13th-century Crusader castles of Syria are easier to access. The largest and most dramatic remain Margat (Marqab) and Crac des Chevaliers (Hisn al-Akrad), both of which have been opened for tourists. Both have substantial later Islamic additions and neither has been spoiled by overrestoration. South of Margat, the historic port city of Tartus contains several Crusader buildings and fortifications, some of which are still inhabited by local people. The tiny island of Arwad, a few minutes journey in an open boat from Tartus, still has a fort dating from the Crusader period and - perhaps more importantly - also has some of the best fish restaurants in Syria.

Above Castel Rouge, or Qal’at Yahmur as it is now called, is one of the smallest, most complete and most picturesque Crusader castles in Syria. it is unusual in still being inhabited by a family from the surrounding village. The inner tower or keep measures 14m x 16m and the upper storey, seen here, is entered by a door from a platform formed by the vaulted chambers beneath.

Above One of the massive corner towers of the keep of the citadel of Tartus, which is the largest surviving fortified structure in the city. it lies on the seafront and during the medieval period the shoreline lapped the foot of a small postern gate in the sloping talus. This is where the Templar garrison was believed to have escaped to on August 3, 1291, abandoning the last Crusader outpost on the Syrian mainland.

Above The island of Ru’ad lies a kilometre or so off the Syrian coast, near Tartus. A small castle overlooking the little harbour was constructed after the Crusaders were driven from the island in 1302, but another larger castle seen here lies almost hidden within the village that now covers Ru’ad. It is a simple, 13th-century, rectangular enclosure with rounded corner towers, yet it enabled a Templar garrison to hold the island for more than a decade after the fall of the last Crusader outposts on the mainland.

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