Exhibition Castles and Bazars in Crusader Times

 

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Model Crac des Chevaliers - Part 1


bird's eye view  of Rey 1871 coloured by a student apprentice

 



a photo of the Crac coloured by a student apprentice, taken by Louis de Clercq in the year 1859

four outlines of model reconstruction reflections by
Architect Dipl.-Ing. Bernhard Siepen

 


Backview of the Model


Section of the model of the Crac in M 1 : 26,5
of architect Bernhard Siepen
based on masterplan of Jean Mesqui, look at
http://www.castellorient.com

 

KRAK DES CHEVALIERS

(frk. Le Crat, Crac de lOspital, Cratum, Castellum Curdorum etc.; arab. in al-Akrād, today: Qalat al-in)


History:

1030/31

The first fortification on the site, erected by the emir of Homs, ibl ad-Dawla Nar; A Curdish garrison is stationed there.

1099

Short occupation during the First Crusade.

1110

After having become tributary to the Crusaders the year before, the castle is conquered by Tancred of Antioch

1112

Tancred leaves the castle to Pons of Tripoli, the son of Bertrand of Saint-Gilles.

1142

Count Raymond II of Tripoli sells his property to the Knights Hospitaller, most probably after earthquake damages

1159/1163/1167

Unsuccessfull Muslim sieges.

1170

Rebuilding of the castle after a heavy earthquake.

1188

Unsuccessfull siege by sultan Saladin.

1201/02

After earthquake damages further construction works; In this time the castle serves as a base for repeated raids to the Orontes valley and against Hama.

1266

First siege conducted by Mamluk sultan Baibars.

1271

After a one months siege by Baibars the garrison surrenders on terms of free retreat; Subsequent reconstruction works conducted by the Mamluks until 1285.

   

Description:

Most impressive and best-preserved castle of the Crusaders, situated on a hilltop at a height of 650 m in the mountains of the southern Syrian coast. It guarded the strategically important passage from inner Syria to the coast, the Gate of Homs, and the northeastern flank of the county of Tripoli. The main castle, most probably erected after the heavy earthquake of 1170, is the oldest part. It has a concentric polygonal form with a circular hall, interrupted in the northeast by a chapel and in the east by the tower-flanked gate. The main front of attack in the south was strengthened by three rectangular towers. Later they were replaced by massive semi-circular bastions with a further wall added in the south and west topping a high talus and a moat in front of it. This arrangement was surrounded by a polygonal outer enclosure wall with semi-circular towers at regular intervals. Both gates were connected by a long sharp-angled access way. In the Mamluk period a comprehensive reconstruction was conducted, mainly at the southern and eastern parts of the castle. Part of this was a massive square tower in front of the south wall, erected in 1285 by sultan Qalāwūn.

Author: Dr. Mathias Piana, Augsburg

 

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