Crac des Chevaliers
The most famous
medieval citadel in the world, Crac des Chevaliers (Qal'at Al-Hosn in
Arabic) is 65km west of Homs and 75 south-east of Tartus.
It was built in
order to control the so-called 'Homs Gap', the gateway to Syria. It was
through this passage that Syria communicated with the Mediterranean.
In ancient times
the importance of this strategic corridor was immense. It was of crucial
importance to the Crusaders and other foreign invaders in their conquest of
the coast. Conflict over the Crac des Chevaliers continued through the ages.
It was a fierce and bloody dispute, but in the end, Sultan Beybars managed
to recover it in 1271 through a military trick after one month of fighting
Chevaliers was built on the site of a former castle erected by the Emirs of
Homs to accommodate Kurdish garrisons; Crac is a modification of the Arab
word Qal'a, which means citadel. The citadel covers an area of 3000 square
meters and has 13 huge towers, in addition to many stores, tanks, corridors,
bridges and stables. It can accommodate 5000 soldiers with their horses,
their equipment and provisions for five years.
Europos is the greatest of all the 3rd millennium
kingdoms founded by Alexander's Lieutenant,
was closely linked with
Palmyra, serving as an important forward line of
It was captured and destroyed by the
in 256 AD shortly before the fall of the great Syrian Metropolis itself.
did not attract significant attention until 1921, when some
were discovered in one of the sixteen temples dedicated to the various gods
of Palmyra. Many other discoveries followed, notably
dating from 235 AD which were in a remarkable state of preservation.