It sits majestically, 180 meters above the Kziv River, in what is literally 'the middle of nowhere', in the Western Galilee. Montfort is one of the most spectacular Crusader castles in Israel. Thanks to paths at Goren Park, even those who do not wish to take the moderately strenuous hike to the fortress can enjoy its beauty from afar. Those who do take the walk will be richly rewarded.
Late comers to the Holy Land, The Teutonic Knights made this site into a major stronghold, quite simply because this was one of the few places they were able to obtain the rights to. Loathed by the other two orders, the Templars and the Hospitallers, they were forced out of Acre. The Pope came to their aid and initiated a special campaign to raise the necessary funds required to build Montfort.
Contrary to popular belief this fort was not built to guard an important road or significant strategic point; its beginnings, in the mid twelfth century are much more humble. Initially this was a rural feudal agricultural farm, established by the Templars. In the thirteenth century it was transformed into a fortress by the Teutonic Knights. Called Castellum Novum Regis (King's New Fortress), it served to guard the nearby stronghold at Mi'ilya.
After the battle at the Horns of Hattin, Saladin conquered the castle (in 1187), but five years later, in 1192 it was re-conquered by the Crusaders. In 1220 the fortress was sold by Otto von Henneberg to the (German)Teutonic Knights, who called the fortress Starkenberg (Strong Mountain). It was also known by the Arabic name of Qala'at Qurein (Castle on the Small Horn).
Montfort which is accessible only by foot enjoys the benefit of a three-sided natural defense barrier – making its capture extremely difficult. Numerous attempts to conquer the fortress were made. The Mamluk Sultan Baybars first tried to conquer Montfort in 1266, to no avail. Apparently his failure was a sore spot, he returned five years later, in 1271. A seven day siege finally enabled his warriors to breach the outer defense and gain access to the inner courtyard, via a tunnel.
An agreement was reached whereby the knights were allowed to retreat taking with them one of their most important possessions, the archive. It is due to the survival of this archive, which was sent to Tirol, in Austria that we have a great deal of recorded history from the Crusader era in the Holy Land. To ensure that the Crusaders would not return, Baybars destroyed a good portion of the fortress. However, there is still quite a bit to see.
The Kziv River, beneath the castle is 20 kilometers long and one of the few rivers in Israel in which water flows year-round.
Reference: Gems in Israel
Critiques | Translate
thor68 (5586) 2006-06-21 12:29
this is cool, there was a documentary on tv on sunday about
the crusaders and how they fu**ed up in the holy land.
great composition and pov, david! :-)
Montfort castle looks very interesting and i will add it
to my "list" of probable places to visit for the next time
i go on my crusade. *g*
this looks even better than the Nimrod Fortress in the golani,
and much greener surroundings.
thanks & take care, thor.
plimrn (21344) 2006-06-21 12:52
This is a very interesting POV with the castle against they sky. I read your note with great interest, smart to build the castle over a river..Pat
jhm (128297) 2006-06-21 13:39
Lovely combination the ruin between the splendid green environment, the leaves in the corner above gives a nice frame, very well sky too!
Thanks a lot,
rosaline (0) 2006-06-21 13:57
Interesting story surrounding this crusader castle. I didn't realise there were any in Israel, though I know there are many in Syria. A good shot and one that allows us to appreciate the vantage point that so many occupied. Good shot.
osse (2808) 2006-06-21 20:48
Intresting note. Good shot and good colours. Also POV, sharpnes and details are perfect.
bakes888 (18499) 2006-06-22 1:50
Nice capture David. I used to live on street called Mountfort Grove so this photo caught my eye. I think you deserve a medal for your note. Lovely well composed image.
TFS. Cheers, Paul.
john_c (24662) 2006-06-22 10:39
A fascinating glimpse into the past. The remote site, and the wilderness look combine with the overwhelming greenery of spring to create high impact. One wants to climb up the hill and explore the ruins. I like the clarity and simplicity of the shot. Well captured and an excellent historical note.
sufi (9588) 2006-06-28 6:40
Wonderful point of view... The colors, the light and the details are perfect... Also perfect and detailed note...
yigalco (372) 2006-06-30 2:20
I must to admit that in the first look on the small photo it's not looks like an interesting photo but the real big photo is GREAT
I like the composition, I like the light and I like colors
evanrizo (456) 2006-07-03 16:17
The view, the perspective is very beautiful, very good seen David. Very good notice too.
gunbud (34066) 2007-02-22 20:09
Your photo highlights the steepness of this climb with the ancient castle ruins against this beautiful blue sky. Your historical note was most informative and brought these ancient battles to life.
- Copyright: David White (Davidwh) (3662)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-05-19
- Categories: Castles, Nature, Architecture, Ruins
- Camera: Nikon D70s, Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED DX AF-S
- Exposure: f/6.3, 1/1250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2006-06-21 2:31