To quote the young students we’ve met on this trip, the Citadel is ‘awesome’. It sits on top of a huge man-made earthen mound where the first fortifications have been dated back to c. 350BC.
The photo shows the back of the citadel, the front has a huge bridge over the moat and an impressive entrance.
The citadel served as a power base for the Muslims during the 12th century Crusades when the moat, 20m deep and 30m wide, was dug.
The Mamluk dynasty who ruled here from 1250 – 1517, reinforced and strengthened the citadel and it is their work that survives to this day.
The entrance is huge – and it easy to see how the place could be defended when attackers had to cross the precipitous bridge across the moat and, if they made it through the two sets of huge gates at the entrance, they were then faced with five sharp right-angled turns immediately inside as a last line of defence.
Inside there are the remains of a palace, a restored hamam, a lavishly decorated throne room, a couple of mosques and incredible views from the battlements over the whole city.
There is also a small museum and lots of semi-ruined areas which, with no signs in English, are a complete mystery.