Qalat Najm

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Raqqa, Syria

Qalat Najm Raqqa Reviews

Paulianthomas Pauliant…
30 reviews
Qalat Najm Fortress on the Euphrates Jun 26, 2011
Qalat Najm

Deep in Syria’s interior, located on a scenic bend of the historic turquoise Euphrates, lies the stalwart castle of Najm. Built around 900AD, and once held by the son of Saladin, the castle was ruined by the Mongol invasion of Syria.

Don’t be fooled by the optical illusions of this castle’s photographs. This castle is extremely large, and dizzyingly tall. As Jallim the guide leads you by your hand over unfenced walls, a drop of twelve stories is not uncommon. The circular fortress walls are deep, and there is plenty to see. The castle entrance is often locked, but ask for the caretaker, Jallim, and he will lead you up the impressive Alleppo-style defence ramp and guide you around the castle’s innards, from dungeons to stables. Jallim keeps the castle impeccably clean (far better than nearby Jabar), and he is an excellent guide. He can also accommodate guests in his small guesthouse on the scenic waterside. He did not ask for money, but I was suitably impressed to tip him well, and snail-mailed him the photos shown here, which I hope he has received.

Qalat Najm is located near Raqqa and not much else. To get there take a taxi from either Aleppo or Raqqa. It is a bit far for a daytrip, so it is better visit Najm in a loop between Damascus and Aleppo, visiting other sites of interest on the way. Places of interest nearby include Qalat Jabar and Resafa (see reviews), which I visited on the way to Aleppo after leaving Palmyra. There are no services on site, though Jallim makes tea for free, if you have time allow him to invite you into his house for a meal.
Squat fortress.
On the Euphrates.
Walls like a battleship.
Huge staircase up to the entrance.
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