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CRUSADES IN THE HOLY LAND - GURDIANS OF THE JORDAN VALLEY

With this post we start a serial of the short stories about the Crusades sites in the Holy Land. There are dozens of them still preserved. And our first story will be about one of the greatest Crusades castles, called Belvoir.

The Belvoir ("Great View" in French) Fortress, which is also called, in Hebrew, "Kohav Ha-Yarden" ("Jordan' Star") is often nicknamed "one of the best kept secrets in Israel". Sitting at the top of the steep hill, completely hidden from the view, this huge Crusader castle dates to the 12th century AD. Designed to control the strategic path along the Jordan Valley, the fortress provided strong combat positioning and relative easiness to defend. And it also permitted a breathtaking view of the whole area (remember the name – Belvoir?).

The fortress of Belvoir remained in ruins until comprehensive excavations were conducted in 1960-ies. The fortifications, still well preserved under masses of rubble, were revealed and, upon completion of the restoration work, the site was finally opened to visitors. Today Belvoir is the most complete and impressive Crusader fortress in Israel.

Despite of the deliberate destruction and 800 years' age, It is still well-preserved, and visitors have great opportunity to explore the grounds while taking in a stunning view over the Jordan Valley, the Sea of Galilee and up through the Golan. It is the most complete Crusader fortress in Israel.

Wandering inside the Fortress, climbing the walls and picking deep into the Jordan Valley, creates an inevitable feeling of being part of Belvoir defenders 800 years ago. The History simply stops here, and you need to take a deep breath to force yourself back to the 21st Century.