The hill on which Krak des Chevaliers was constructed, was originally the site of a smaller fort called the “Castle on the slope”. The Emir of Homs, who garrisoned his Kurdish soldiers there to protect the Syrian interior, took it over in 1011. In 1110, the Crusaders under Tancred, Prince of Antioch, occupied the small fortress. It housed a garrison of four thousand soldiers and fortifications were built throughout their occupation.

The stronghold was attacked in 1163 by Nur ed-Din Sultan of Damascus and besieged again by Saladin in 1188, but both times the great walls proved an impenetrable barrier for the Arabs. It was only during the winter of 1271 that the castle fell to al-Zaher Baybars, who mined one of the corner towers, allowing his troops access. As soon as the fortress was entirely within his control, Baybars restored the damage and added new towers so that the mighty Krak retained its importance under the rule of the Arabs.

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at