Sunday, July 1, 2012

Krak des Chevaliers - Syria

The Unesco Commitee has been choosing the new Unesco sites and Portugal has a new one, Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications!! That's really good news. Not so good news are the other sites, some are really hard to get, i only have 2 sites and they already nominated 25 sites.

This card is also from an Unesco site, this one nominated in 2006. Krak des Chevaliers  is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world.
I like to watch Globetrekker and one of the episodes is about Syria. In this episode, the presenter, Holly Morris, explores some of the country's most famous sites and cities including this castle and other syrian Unesco sites.
The card was sent by Constanze.

The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurds; as a result it was known as Hisn al Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the Kurds". In 1142 it was given by Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, to the Knights Hospitaller. It remained in their possession until it fell in 1271. It became known as Crac de l'Ospital; the name Krak des Chevaliers was coined in the 19th century.
The Hospitallers began rebuilding the castle in the 1140s and were finished by 1170 when an earthquake damaged the castle. The order controlled a number of castles along the border of the County of Tripoli, a state founded after the First Crusade. Krak des Chevaliers was amongst the most important and acted as a centre of administration as well as a military base. After a second phase of building was undertaken in the 13th century, Krak des Chevaliers became a concentric castle. This phase created the outer wall and gave the castle its current appearance. The first half of the century has been described as Krak des Chevaliers' "golden age". At its peak, Krak des Chevaliers housed a garrison of around 2,000. Such a large garrison allowed the Hospitallers to extract tribute from a wide area. From the 1250s the fortunes of the Knights Hospitaller took a turn for the worse and in 1271 Krak des Chevaliers was captured by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars after a siege lasting 36 days. - in: wikipedia

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