Day 4: Trip to Musyaf, Qala'at Marqab and Krak des Chevaliers (3)
Krak des Chevaliers Travel Blog› entry 8 of 54 › view all entries
Both castles had been beautiful and impressive, but they were nothing compared to Syriaâ€™s second-most famous historical site: Krak Des Chevaliers. According to scholars this is the best preserved crusaders castle in the world, praised for its magnificence by people like Paul Theroux and TE Lawrence .
The castle was in the hands of the crusaders for more than 200 years, controlling the important route between Homs and Tartus. Even when Jerusalem fell and the Christians retreated from Israel, this castle remained in the hands of the crusaders, until in 1271 after a short siege the crusaders gave up the castle without a fight to the ruling sultan.
Unlike all the other castles in the area, this one was never fully abandoned. When the Ottoman empire took over Syria they had little use for the castle, but people (mainly peasants) continued to use the castle as their dwellings up until about 100 years ago, which has resulted in the building being in remarkably good shape.
And it is just absolutely stunning. Really, it was like walking around a movie set, or better still, walking around 800 years in the past.
Back in Hama we felt we really had to make an effort to find a different restaurant this time. So far we had tried about 4 or 5 different restaurants and all were either closed or had disappeared, so today we decided to walk up the other side of the Orontes river, where we'd seen some restaurants on our first day.
Well, we did find one that wasn't closed, but it was completely deserted. As we didn't want to eat at Le Jardin a third time we decided to stay though. The food was good, though nowhere near as good as Le Jardin, so really, we should just have gone back there.
Hama, great city, beautiful water front, but only one restaurant worth visiting or so it seems!