Category: Saladin Castle.

Saladin Castle – Archaeological Finds and Continuing Restoration in Syria

By H. Sabbagh
Sunday, 04 October 2009 23:42

Saladin_Castle_syria

Saladin’s Castle (Qal’at Salah El-Din) is one of the largest and most prestigious castles in Syria, with its unique blend of architectural styles and its rich history which dates back to the days of the Phoenicians.

The site of the castle had strategic significance since the time of the Phoenicians, who controlled it until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333 BC. The Byzantines also held it for centuries and built its first defenses.

The Crusaders captured it in the early 12th century and built the majority of the castle’s structures that are seen today. It was claimed in 1188 by Saladin (Salah El-Din al-Ayyubi), from whom the castle earned its current name. Saladin and his successors expanded it further over the decades.

Located 33 kilometers east of Lattakia, the Castle is one of the most important historic and tourist sites in the governorate, seeing over 50,000 tourists in 2008.

Over the years, excavations uncovered many archeological finds of considerable importance. Recently, the French-Syrian expedition began surveying the lower portion of the castle, uncovering the foundations of a church and new historic information from ceramics.

The expedition is still working at the site, and the results of their findings will not be announced until their work is concluded.

The Lattakia Department of Archeology is working diligently to restore and repair the Castle. The most significant restorations during the last ten years include the Byzantine wall and its towers, parts of the second and third towers, the arches on the eastern side and the stables.

The Department also restored the 28-meter obelisk, the wall at the southeastern corner of the Castle, the Byzantine church and the Byzantine beacon.

The Aga Khan Development Network also restored the Ayyubid part of the castle, which contains the mosque, the minaret, the school, the Ayyubid castle, and the Qalaun bath house.

Saladin’s Castle was included in the World Heritage List issued by the UNESCO’s World Heritage Center in 2006.(SANA)

Category: Saladin Castle
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