Photographer's Note

Set on a high, windswept ledge overlooking the surrounding landscape, the Crusader castle of Crac des Chevaliers occupies a formidable position and is the largest and best preserved of the Crusader castles in the area. The site is thought to have been originally occupied by the Egyptians until around 1285 BC. The Knights Hospitallers later gained control of the castle in 1144, completely rebuilding the place and fortifying it with the latest in military technological features, most of which are still intact today. The castle survived two Arab assaults in the late 12th century but by the 13th century the Crusader presence in the Holy Land had dwindled, with only 200 or so men left occupying the garrison. More recently, a village grew up within the castle walls, the villagers finally being turfed out by the French Antiquities Department in 1934.

It had been a very wet and chilly morning, disappointing for photography. Just as we were leaving the site the sun appeared and I managed to capture the sunlit castle in this shot. You may notice the many items of litter in the foreground; unfortunately this is a ubiquitous feature of the Syrian landscape, no matter how remote the area you visit.

Just for comparison I’m adding as a WS a shot taken a few moments earlier when the clouds give a different lighting effect – which do you prefer?

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Additional Photos by Susanna Leon (sleon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 724 W: 76 N: 2025] (9402)
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