Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Crusader Fortress of Krak des Chevaliers (حصن الأکراد) - My Very Next Travel Destination!

I found my next must-go travel destination not long ago in the C12 crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers in Syria.

I've traveled through Egypt, Turkey and Israel and have for some time been looking for another Middle Eastern fix. Which has provoked much contra advice, each time making me think of the Spanish saying 'A life lived in fear is a life half lived'.

T E Lawrence described the complex as 'the finest castle in the world' and and the travel writer Paul Theroux as the dream castle of childhood fantasy. And I had exactly something of the sort in mind as a fourteen year old reading 'Knight Crusader' by Ronald Welsh ... in which a young crusader is captured by Saladin's troops and then kept as a servant by an elderly and wealthy merchant. Till, after some years of devoted service, he is given his freedom to return to England.

I particularly remember such exoticisms in the narrative as the descriptions of the sound made by huge black pearls cascaded across a marble table top, and of the delicious thirst-slaking quality of ice-cold sherbet on a blazing hot summer day.

I do all the appropriate and expected research before visiting places like Krak des Chevaliers but I really like the time just before this, when I can just muse and dream on the pleasures in store - a kind of almost erotic reverie. This anticipatory phase can be heightened by photographs and videos, like the great footage shot by Sagonne@YouTube on a visit the fortress ...

... and then enhanced by evocative Arabic music on pipe and drum.

Ok, my appetite is now whetted almost beyond endurance - actually, beyond!

Anyone been to Syria or the castle? I'm now obviously entering the research bit!


  1. Krak de Chevalier is amazing. Actally Syria is a wonderful place to visit. Both my partner and I rate it as our fav country ... it has a great mix of Arab, Ottoman, Greek, Romand and Crusader stuff. Enjoy.

  2. Hi its me again. If you wish, you can contact me via the webform at

  3. hey anon

    i'm looking forward to it

    up to now egypt is almost my fav destination - so imagine i'll respond to syria big tim

    on my life i've have so many angles on the country - so i think it's familiar already

    take care


  4. hey alex

    will contact you - thanks for the URL - very sweet!

    be in touch

    take care again


  5. I have been in Syria last October and enjoyed a lot!!! Try lemonade with mint, try dried apricot
    with pistacite, try local food and salads. Palmira is great, Aleppo at north too, must see Bosra also. Damascus, Krak des Chevaliers, Malula ... .
    Go, go you will not be sorry, but contrary!!! For more informations and pictures be welcome to contact me at
    Take care!

  6. hey slicni

    my mouth is watering after your comments!

    thanks for encouraging me - i'll email you cos i'd love to take your offer of some more photos of the country!

    be in touch then