Montfort Castle

the crusader's fortresses

The Crusaders fuel the imagination of many! It was a time of knights and kings; castles and battles in the Holy Land. The Montfort Castle, in particular, tells us not only the story of the crusaders’ period but also some anecdotes on the internal conflicts of the Kingdoms of Jerusalem in the 11th and 12th centuries CE. The history of the place goes even further. In Talmudic sources, we know of a place called “the Castle of Galilee”. And in fact, archaeologists found south of the Montfort Fortress, not too far away from Montfort, a fortress that stood here. Moreover, the stones used to build the Montfort fortress are probably the same stones that were brought here. 

The Montfort Castle is Taken By the Teutonic Order

The Montfort castle was established by the De Milly family, a French noble family that ruled the area now known as the Western Galilee. In 1187 following the expedition of Saladin in the area the castle fell into the hands of Arab forces. In 1192 the Crusaders recaptured the castle and later it was sold to the Teutonic Knight military order; a new phenomenon that arose in the 12th century. The main ones are the Templars, the Hospitallers, and a german speaking one the Teutonic.

Because it is a german speaking order and has a different mentality from the rest of the orders. They are eventually being rejected from Acre, that after the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 became the Capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem; they are being pushed over here and the castle is being redeveloped and become into its full power. The headquarters; the archive; everything is situated in this place. 

New Research Conducted At Monfort Castle 

Research shows that Montfort’s main purpose was not to protect the Teutonic Knights other orders who ruled the Holy Land. It was used mainly as an administrative headquarters and had no military significance. A private tour of the site will teach you much more about the Teutonic Knights. On my guided tours of the Galilee, I take my guests into the Montfort Castle and show them the refractory. We can learn about the power of each Knight Order and their financial abilities, by the size of the refractory. Here it is quite small. Recent studies show that the fortress was not enormous but luxurious.

However, the Crusaders’ domination of the Montfort Fortress was short-lived. The downfall came in the late 13th; following the attack of the Mamaluk headed by their Sultan, Baibars. In 1266 its the first time there is an attempt to attack and bring down the fortress. Then the Mamluks would recede back and then again in 1271 would be the second time when they would try to attack. The Teutonic Knights would go up to the keep and hide over there. And for a whole week, there’ll be attacks going on until Baibars is able to bring down the moats of this place. The south moats in fact. And then by an agreement, he’s willing to let the Teutonic Knights leave back to Acre and send their archives and treasuries to Malta. In fact, this is why we know about them so much.


Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

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