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Photographer's Note

The fortress Krak de Chevaliers was described by T. E. Lawrence as “perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world” . This fortress was made a World Heritage Site in 2006, and is one of the few sites where Crusader art (in the form of frescoes) has been preserved.

The original fortress at this location had been built in 1031 for the emir of Aleppo. During the First Crusade in 1099 it was captured by Raymond IV of Toulouse, but then abandoned when the Crusaders continued their march towards Jerusalem. It was reoccupied again by Tancred, Prince of Galilee in 1110. In 1142 it was given by Raymond II, count of Tripoli, to the Hospitallers, contemporaries of the Knights Templar.

Krak des Chevaliers was the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades.

The Hospitallers rebuilt it and expanded it into the largest Crusader fortress in the Holy Land, adding an outer wall three meters thick with seven guard towers eight to ten meters thick to create a concentric castle. The fortress may have held about 50-60 Hospitallers and up to 2,000 other foot soldiers; the Grand Master of the Hospitallers lived in one of the towers.
In 1163 the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Nur ad-Din Zengi. In the late 12th and early 13th century numerous earthquakes caused some damage and required further rebuilding.

Saladin unsuccessfully besieged the castle in 1188. In 1217, during the Fifth Crusade, king Andrew II of Hungary strengthened the outer walls and financed the guarding troops.


King Edward I of England, while on the Ninth Crusade in 1272, saw the fortress and used it as a model for his own castles in England and Wales.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13401 W: 141 N: 34841] (157280)
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