Al-Hosn Castle is a Catholic fortress dating back to the period of the Crusades. It is located within the coastal mountain ranges in the Homs Governorate in Syria. It is 60 km away from the city of Homs. Due to the historical and urban importance of the fort, UNESCO considered it an important historical fortress because it contains a great human heritage. In 2006 AD The citadel was inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi
Considered one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world, this castle was first inhabited by the Kurds who were brought in by the Idrisids in the eleventh century to protect trade lines before a settlement was reached; As a result, it was known as Husn al-Akrad, meaning ‘fortress of the Kurds’.
In 1142, the castle was given to Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, who turned it into the “Knights of the Hospital” and the reason for the name was the residence of a garrison of volunteers for medical work during the Crusader era inside the castle, and it remained in his possession until it fell in 1271 AD and became known as the Crac de Hospital; The name was coined to the fortress castle in the nineteenth century.
The castle is located in the town of Al-Hosn in the Wadi Al-Nasara region in the Homs governorate, to the south of the tourist town of Mashta Al-Helou, which is 30 km away. It is in the middle of the cities of Homs and Tartus, and the castle is considered one of the beautiful archaeological castles in the Middle East and the world. A high hill 650 meters (2,130 ft) high lies east of Tartus, Syria, in the “Homs Gap”.
The current name is Qalaat al-Hosn, which in Arabic means “the stronghold of the castle.” It derives from the name of one of the previous names of the castle, which was called “Fortress of the Kurds”, which means “the stronghold of the Kurds” who previously inhabited the castle. And when the Franks took control of the Karak castle, they threw balls to me. Perhaps the name Frankish due to the word Kurds. After the castle was given to the knights of the hospital, they called it Crac des Chevaliers, meaning the Citadel of the Citadel (Crac des Chevaliers), in the nineteenth century.
It is believed that the castle was erected over the ruins of an older fortress called Shabtun, built by the pharaohs when they invaded Syria under the leadership of Rameses II in the fifteenth century BC. Although the Arameans have inhabited the area for a long time, there is no indication in this fortress of an ancient Aramaic situation, but it may date back to its foundations from the Greek eras and beyond, where some historians mention that the Greeks built a military stronghold in the middle area between Tripoli and Homs, which the Greeks called Bergaz ( Pirgas), meaning the fortress or stronghold, and this definition leaked into Arabic with the word “tower” of the same name. Al-Hosn Castle is a complete example of fortified military castles, taking the shape of an irregular polygon, the length of the large diameter is 200 m and the small one is 140 m. It covers an area of 3 hectares. The construction of the castle was not completed in one go, but it was built in the form of different stages. The fortress was built in 1031 by Shibl al-Dawla Nasr bin Saleh al-Mardasi. Levant. It was inhabited by the Kurds to protect the road. Therefore, it bore the name “Fortress of the Kurds,” and it was also called the “Fort of the Foot” or “Al-Saffah” and “Al-Karak.” From this name, the Crusader name of the castle was derived.
The castle was subjected to an earthquake in 1157 AD, which also destroyed many buildings in the Levant, and was hit by a severe earthquake in 1169 AD.
In 1201 AD, a third devastating earthquake hit the castle, causing extensive damage. After this earthquake, the third phase of the castle’s reconstruction began, resulting in the outer defense ring and the huge sloping wall on the southern side and the warehouse behind the southern facade.
Sultan Al-Zahir Baybars ordered the restoration of the destroyed castle and put it in service and made it a center for the deputy of the Sultanate. The outer wall is dated 1285 AD, they also added the bathrooms and some other parts, such as the northeastern side, and its new ruler, Sarim al-Din Qaymar, carried out the repair work of the domain under the continuous supervision of Sultan al-Malik al-Zahir Baybars.
The castle was still in use until the late Middle Ages and in modern times and was almost intact in the early 1800’s. The general shape of the castle is oval, with its trench extending at a distance of 240 m from north to south and 170 m from east to west. Its total area is estimated at three hectares, or 30 thousand square meters, and can accommodate several thousand fighters.
. The castle is distinguished by the color of its limestone, which was brought from a distance of 4 km from a neighboring town called Ammar al-Hosn. The advantage of limestone is that it is malleable during carving and is light in weight.
. The total area of the castle is about 30,000 m2 and the castle rises about 750 m above sea level.
On one of the castle walls was written in Latin a wisdom saying:
“If grace is given, and wisdom is bestowed, and above all beauty. Do not let arrogance be attached to it, for it takes it all away.”
. The Knights Hall distinguished by Gothic art.
. The church that was converted in Islamic times into a mosque.
. Warehouses in which supplies are stored for soldiers, and there is a circular oven for the manufacture of bread.
. Soldiers’ sleeping quarters.
. The theater is circular in shape.
. The upper towers include the Knight Commander’s Tower and the Castle Commander’s Tower, which is the only tower built in a circular shape.
.The King’s Bint Tower, which is now invested as a rest and restaurant for tourists.
.The Mamluk Guard Hall.
An annual singing festival is held in the castle’s vicinity. The castle is currently a center of international tourist attraction. Musical and theatrical festivals are held on the castle stage, and a number of historical series have been filmed in the castle’s suburbs. In conjunction with the Citadel Festival, the professions and technology market will also be opened.
حمص - الحصن -وادي النصارى