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Crusader Castles September 9, 2015

Posted by anagasto in building, history.
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The Castle of Aleppo in Syria

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These are streets in the Syrian city of Aleppo, and in the background of one of them you see the castle. The city is  4000 years old, but the castle was built less than 800 years ago by the Crusaders.

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Photo by Xvlun under  a  CC license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crac_des_chevaliers_syria.jpeg

The Crusades were military expeditions financed mostly by the Catholic church in the 11th and 12th century.
Originally the idea was to win  the Holy Land back from the Muslims, but that idea gave way to others.

Finally crusades were launched every which way against Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Slavs.

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What does Middle East mean?

This was the Crusaders’ Europe and Middle East:

 

And these are the modern definitions of Middle East:


This map is under license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greater_Middle_East_%28orthographic_projection%29.svg

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There were wars, always, for many different reasons: geography, religion, European expansionism.

Not all of it is 800 years old.

The fortifications were later expanded and improved for other wars.
They seem to have clad the complete hillside in concrete, and  grass was again breaking through when the photo was taken.

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The Castle  in Jordan


This photo with a  4 mega version is to be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/healinglight/4443954182/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Notice the auxiliary defenses, walls, steps, ramparts and the landscape surrounding the castle.

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Each of these castles would have a long  history of disasters and war.
The crusaders sometimes meant to go to the Holy Land, but they strayed and established themselves elsewhere. The beautiful fortress of Karak  above became

A Christian Robber’s Den

His name was Reynald of Châtillon.
He married the owner of the castle and became a local king.  From the castle he attacked and plundered the caravans travelling on the ancient trade route between Egypt and Syria. His story is one of many.

The old picture shows how he tortured an enemy:

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And below you see how in the end he got beheaded by legendary Saladin who was the ruler of Egypt and Syria.

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The Castle of Arsuf  in Israel



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arsuf.JPG under a GNU license by Tewfik

The Crusaders created the Lordship of Arsuf in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
It was subsequently again captured by the Muslims but fell back to the Crusaders. Finally it was destroyed by the Mameluk.

So complete ws the destruction that later tax records say there lived only 22 families and 4 bachelors.

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The old picture shows Christians throwing the heads of captured Muslims over the ramparts:

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According to Wikipedia, Karak is the Syrian term for fortress sometimes written Krak or Crac.

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Comments»

1. Carl D'Agostino - August 21, 2012

I see Aleppo site of intense warfare today

2. Sulaiman Dawood - September 9, 2015

Ah the castles of those times looked majestic. Man-made structures of today could take a leaf out of historical structures!


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