(active 1140s)

General view of the castle

Krak des Chevaliers, Syria

In order to keep Jerusalem in Christian hands, the Crusaders made it into an independent kingdom an elected Godfrey of Bouillon as its ruler It and three other fiefdoms - Antioch, Edessa and Tripoli - formed a closely knit coalition which constituted 'Outremer'. Surrounded as it was by Muslim peoples bitterly hostile to its existence, the story of Outremer is one of constant war. But it was supported by six further crusades, some led in person by the kings of France, England and Germany and defended by new military orders of Templars and Hospitallers, and a precarious stability was established, Jerusalem and other cities took on the aspect of European, more specifically French, towns, with Gothic churches and a flourishing cultural life.

Krak des Chevaliers is a Crusader castle built by the Hospitallers in the years after 1144, across a strategic route north of Jerusalem (presently in Syria). It is the biggest and best preserved of all medieval castles.

During the Syrian Civil War which began in 2011 the castle was damaged, the amount of destruction is unknown.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.