Krak-des-Chevaliers – the Crusader castle
Krak-des-Chevaliers or ‘Castle of the Knights’, this is quite a castle. It is the best preserved example of a crusader castle. I live in Nottingham, home to the oldest inn in England ‘The Trip to Jerusalem’, carved into the rock at the bottom of Nottingham Castle. The Crusaders could have dropped in here for a pint before setting off on their journey.
This is actually 2 castles, one inside the other. Built on a much smaller fortress in 1144 by the Knights of St. John, it used to house 3,000 people and 350 horses.
Krak-des-Chevaliers isis the biggest crusader castle in the middle east, it survived siege and earthquakes. It was added to by the Mamluks, Ottomans and French.
The cloister inside the castle bore an inscription carved in Latin: “Grace, wisdom and beauty you may enjoy but beware pride which alone can tarnish all the rest.”
It didn’t escape unscathed from the war with Isis. You can see the bullet holes in the metal of the castle sign and the door. It was also bombed by the Syrian army.
We had the castle to ourselves and it was easy to imagine the moat and drawbridge, hot oil being poured down on invaders and huge rocks being thrown from catapults.
See also my post on the beautiful, ancient city of Palmyra https://www.daredreamdiscover.com/destinations/syria/palmyra-syria/
A small village faces the castle and was a very welcome stop to warm up with a cup of tea and a beer with a view.
To get there it is only a 45 minute drive from Homs. Open from 8.30am to 6pm it is closed on Saturdays.