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Presentation of the Krak des Chevaliers

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Michael Lawhead

on 19 April 2010

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Transcript of Presentation of the Krak des Chevaliers

Krak des Chevaliers Krak des Chevaliers Considered by many as the finest midieval castle surviving today
Was built to defend conquests made by Christian armies that had travelled to Palestine at the end of the eleventh century to liberate the Holy places from Muslim occupation. Location: Syria
40 km west of the city of Homs
Close to the border of Lebanon
The greatest fortress Built by the Crusaders in the Holy Land
It was held by the Knights of the Hospital of St. John for 130 years between 1142 and 1271. It's name is a mixture of Arabic and French: Kerak, the Arabic for fortress, was corrupted into Krak, and the Chevaliers were the Knights of St. John, who took over an earlier castle on the same site in 1140 and greatly improved it. Krak was one of a network of Crusader castles standing on mountain peaks from the borders of Syria in the north to the deserts south of the Dead Sea Krak's plan is concentric, with two circles of walls interspersed with a series of towers The succession of walls is designed to prevent surprise attacks, and to keep the siege instruments from attacking forces far enough away to prevent them from reaching the heart of the castle The slope of the inner wall is to prevent attacking troops getting so close to the wall that they were protected from the defender's fire. marchicoulis, small boxes projecting from the wall close to the top, are placed to provide a secure point overlooking besieging troops from which fire could be directed at them or hot materials dropped on thier heads During the occupation of the Knights of St. John, a garrison of about 2,000 people were quartered here. A windmill stood on the north wall, grinding corn. In addition to the machicoulis there are also slits in the towers for archers to defend the walls. Meetings and banquets were held in the hall that was built in the thirteenth century Saladin, the great conqueror of the Christians, marched his army to the walls of Krak, took a good look, and retreated without even attempting a siege. Although, in 1271, the castle was taken by Sultan Beibars. He tricked the Knights by sending a forged letter from the Count of Tripoli that told the garrison to surrender. The castle was supplied with water from an aquaduct and had a natural reservoir to sustain them through months of attack. The cloister reflects the quality of Krak's stoneworks After the conquering of the castle, the Muslims converted the chapel to a mosque. Unless otherwise noted, photos are courtesy of
Dick Osseman Standing on a spur dominating a fertile plain in what is now Syria, Krak was as nearly impregnable as any fortress ever built, falling finally as a result of a trick.
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