Day 4: Trip to Musyaf, Qala'at Marqab and Krak des Chevaliers (2)
marqab Travel Blog› entry 7 of 54 › view all entries
Our next stop, Marqab, was much more impressive. Mainly for its location, which was stunning. The castle lies perched high on a cliff, overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Some say this is the third-most impressive castle of Syria (yes, we had a few more to go) and for the setting alone I would gladly believe this.
But also the building itself was in remarkably good shape, even though it was evident much had been restored using modern building techniques.
Like Musyaf this too was originally a Muslim stronghold, and captured by the crusaders in 1062. Unlike Musyaf however this one stayed in the hands of the crusaders and was eventually sold off to the Knights Hospitaller in 1168, who kept if for another 100 years before losing it to the Muslims again.
Because Easter Sunday is also a holiday for Muslims, the site was absolutely packed with Syrians, having a nice day out with their children. And everyone thought it was great to meet a couple of Westerners, everywhere we went people were shouting “hello, hello, welcome to Syria!”
People would come up to us, shaking our hands, welcoming us and thanking us for visiting their country. Kids would chase us, shouting, asking to have their picture taken and so on.
The castle was beautiful, but it was the people that completed the experience for us and made it a highlight.