Israel is home to several historically significant Crusader castles and fortresses constructed during the medieval Crusader period. These castles were pivotal in the region’s history during the Crusades. Here are some of the notable Crusader castles in Israel:
Belvoir Fortress (Kokhav HaYarden): Located in the Jordan Valley, Belvoir Fortress was constructed in the 12th century by the Knights Hospitaller. Furthermore, it is known for its impressive fortifications and strategic location, providing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Krak des Chevaliers (Qal’at al-Hisn):
So, while not in modern-day Israel but in Syria, Krak des Chevaliers is one of the most famous Crusader castles in the region. It was built by the Knights Hospitaller and played a significant role in Crusader history. Although it’s outside Israel’s borders today, it is worth mentioning due to its historical importance.
Montfort Castle: Located in western Galilee, Montfort Castle was built by the Teutonic Order in the 13th century. It served as a military stronghold and played a role in the conflicts between the Crusaders and local Muslim forces.
Ajloun Castle (Qal’at Ar-Rabad): Like Krak des Chevaliers, Ajloun Castle is located outside modern-day Israel, in Jordan. It was constructed by the Ayyubids in response to the Crusader threat and served as a key defensive structure in the region.
Château Pèlerin (Atlît Fortress):
Yehiam Fortress: Located in western Galilee, Yehiam Fortress was originally built by the Crusaders and later expanded by the Mamluks. It offers a glimpse into the architectural evolution of fortresses in the region.
Toron (Te’adun): Toron was a Crusader fortress built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 12th century. It served as a strategic stronghold in the coastal region.
Sidon Sea Castle: Though not in Israel, but in modern-day Lebanon! The Sidon Sea Castle is a well-preserved Crusader fortress on the Mediterranean coast. It is often visited by tourists exploring the historical sites of the region.
So, these Crusader castles and fortresses are not only historical landmarks but also provide valuable insights into the military architecture and strategies of the time. Last, many have been partially or fully restored and are open to visitors, allowing for a journey back to the Crusades era.