rak of the Knights. This is a huge crusader castle built in the Holy Land in the early twelfth century. The castle is built on a spur of land with the natural defence of steep slopes on three of its sides.The site was the location of a castle built by the Kurds but after control of the area the crusaders began the construction of a much larger castle. This was in around 1110. This is an example of a concentric castle with roughly rectangular outer wall with mainly round or semi-circular towers. Access to the outer ward is on the north-east side of the castle. A covered vaulted passage leading first to the south and then after a sharp bend to the north lead to the inner ward. The passage has murder-holes where defenders could fire arrow and other weapons at anyone trying to attack the castle. This arrangement was designed and built by the Hospitallers in the late twelfth century. There are postern gates (small gates allowing the castle's defenders to escape or mount surprise attacks on the attackers) in both inner and outer walls. The inner part of the castle is much higher than the outer allowing defenders to fire down on any attacker who managed to capture the outer walls. The strength of the castle was so great that several sieges failed to ead to the castle's capture. The final siege came in 1271 when the castle fell to Sultan Beibars. The Hospitallers within the castle were allowed to leave.
A large earthquake hit the eastern Mediterranean along the fault line that runs along that region. A huge amount of damage was done causing a major loss of life. The earthquake was so powerful that the massive castle Krak des Chevaliers was damaged and needed repairing. ¹
The final siege at Krak des Chevaliers began in early March. Led by Sultan Beibars and Mumlaks the attackers managed to capture the outer defences and undermine one of the outer towers. The inner defences were much stronger and a direct assult was too difficult. A trick was used instead. A forged letter was delivered to the castle supposedly from the Hospitaller Grand Commander ordering the knights to abandon Krak. The trick worked and the knights left, given safe passage to the coast. ¹
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions will run in the most of the popular web browsers on your desktop or laptop computer.
Uncover the lives of the hundreds of kings, queens, lords, ladies, barons, earls, archbishops and rebels who made the medieval people an exciting period of history to live through.
Selection of references used:
1. Robin Fedden and John Thomson, Crusader Castles