Blogs from Krak des Chevaliers, West, Syria, Middle East

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Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers January 1st 2011

It's 2011! Happy New Year! Today we woke up early. I had arranged the day before for a taxi to take us to Krak des Chevaliers. Krak des Chevaliers is also known as Qala'at al-Hosn. The place is THE best Crusader castle still standing today. It is a seriously impressive place and need few hours to enjoy. Slight problem, it is 250km from Aleppo, or 220km for Damascus. We decided to hit the place from Aleppo and to finish our day 70km south of Aleppo visiting the Dead cities of Jerada and Nuweiha. If you have a lot of time in front of you, you can make it to the fortress by public transport, but time is not on our side on this 1st of January. The same night, we have our train back to Damascus...I ... read more
rainbow on Krak des Chevaliers, the pic may not be amazing, but the experience was!
Happy New Year from Syria!
inside moat of Krak des Chevaliers

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers August 20th 2010

Rob really wanted to come here...it's quite a place and unbelievably atmospheric, spooky even - especially when we were virtually alone, clattering along all those icy cold stone paths below ground...... read more
Krak ds Chevaliers
Dark walkways everywhere...
Looking out over the walls

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers June 2nd 2010

Krak des Chevaliers and out into the dessert, Palmyra From Aleppo were journeyed to the Crusader fort called Krak des Chevaliers. Like many old religious and fortified structures in the Middle East it represents a mixture of styles as each new conqueror arrived and put their mark on it. The fort is in a remarkable state given its age, dating from the 10th century. The French undertook some restoration work in the 1930’s but since then nothing has been done, the Syrian government preferring to leave it in its current state. After ‘attacking the castle’ as our guide refers to our explorations we were taken to a restaurant with a set menu. Now when your guide says you are going to this place, it’s going to cost you £300 and there is nothing else on offer ... read more
Water wheels at Hama
Krak des Chevalier - Gothic Church
Krak des Chavaliers

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers May 21st 2010

We set off after Palmyra for Crac Des Chevaliers, a well preserved crusader castle. The trip went well and after changing buses in Homs, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by greenery we hadn't seen in Syria before. All of a sudden large sweeping valleys opened up full of crops, olive groves and little villages looking more like what we'd expect from the Greek or Italian countryside. It was a lovely change of scenery after three weeks in the desert. Crac Des Chevaliers (or 'The Crac' as it is otherwise known) is not hard to spot. Perched atop one of the highest points in the mountain range it looks over all the small villages and roads leading to the top. It is quite majestic and awe-inspiring. Our hotel had nothing going for it other than having stunning ... read more
The Splendid Crac!
Our Humble Hotel
Vaulted Ceilings

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers July 24th 2009

We left Syria and headed to Lebanon not knowing what to expect. From the level of anxiety evident on our driver Wael's face, we were concerned the crossing would be an ordeal...and we were not disappointed! We drove through some back roads, wandered around some small villages and passed through some military checkpoints before we found the border crossing. Of course, there were soldiers everywhere and very little English was spoken. We pulled up, parked the car and got out with many eyes fixed on us. We stood by the car for awhile as our driver worked on the paperwork for the rental car to leave the country. We noticed that no one else was attempting to cross the border from either side. We were the only show in town and it stayed that way for ... read more
Short break on the highway to make some new friends
The famous water wheels of Hama, Syria
At the Cedars of Lebanon

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers February 11th 2009

Dag 243 og 244. Tirsdagen hadde vi en rolig dag; vi gikk rundt i gatene og kikket, og var paa souqen. Vi har mulighet til aa lage mat paa hotellet paa formiddagene - et lite kjokken som de ansatte bruker. Selv om vi folte at vi trengte oss paa, laget vi lunsj der idag. Valget var spansk omelett (en av de ansatte saa med stor interesse paa den lille stekepannen vaar i teflon, og kjokkenkniven vaar). Paa ettermiddagen var vi nok en gang paa juicebaren. Da vi var der var strommen borte - hver dag stenges strommen i et par timer paa ulike steder i byen, slik at byen sparer strom. Vi var paa internettkafe etter at strommen var tilbake - og brukte flere timer paa laste opp bilder til bloggen. Jane kjopte seg saa en ... read more
Citadel Masyaf
Porten til Masyaf
Masyaf - inngang

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers September 30th 2008

Is that a camel's head for sale? The souks of Allepo Our first stop of the morning was a local juice bar - something that seems very popular in Syria. We walked as a group to the juice bar for our morning breakfast of juice and cheese bread before meeting our local tour guide named Ahmed. Ahmed was a little old man wearing a white hat and a tattered old blue suit. He had a very strong English accent and spoke in very clipped tones, enunciating every syllable as he spoke. He took us for a tour of the city showing us what he called the ‘New Town’ - but in actual fact - looked very old and weary to me. As we walked through the town, I wasn’t surprising to discover that we were the ... read more
Breakfast at the Juice Bar
The souks of Allepo
Side street shops in Allepo

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers September 18th 2008

I had another dreadful nights sleep about one hour in total so I was up and ready early for my trip To Crak des Chevaliers. I had paid 1800 Syrian pounds (around 20 English) for a taxi to Crak, after which I was to be taken to Homs to then gat a bus to Palmyra, by doing it this way I didn't have to stay in the Riad another night - result. Crak Des Chavaliers is a very well preserved crusader Castle whose walls have never been breached. In the 12th Century it was home to the Knights Hospitaliers - or monks with big swords which is what I like to call them. It used to house 2000 knights and controlled all the traffic from East to West. After visiting the Castle I got dropped in ... read more
The vaults
Battlements
Gothic Arches

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers September 13th 2008

Der Verkehrsminister der Syrisch-Arabischen Republik hat erlassen: Die Strassenverkehrsordnung in alphabetischer Reihenfolger A) Abkuerzungen ueber Baustellen, die Gegenfahrbahn, Feldwege o.ae. sind grundsaetzlich erlaubt und erwuenscht. Ampeln: Besitzen drei Farben und leuchten. Sie dienen der Behinderung des Verkehrs. Autos, welche direkt an oder hinter der Haltelinie stehen, die bei rot-gelbem Licht noch stehen, stellen ebenso eine -Behinderung dar. Autos, welche in der Reihe dahinter stehen, haben erstere gnadenlos auszuhupen Arabische Straكenbilder geben ein schoenes Muster ab. Achtung Kamele! Mit ebenjenen ist ueberall auf der Fahrbahn stets zu rechnen. Autobahnen sind grundsaetzlich dreispurig, die Spur ganz rechts ist das, was einige Laender „Standstreifen“ nennen. Er eignet sich fuer -Motorraeder ... read more

Middle East » Syria » West » Krak des Chevaliers July 6th 2008

Our first trip out of Damascus was not without its difficulties! We took a taxi out to the main bus station for routes to the North of the country. Then we had to find the right bus - not an easy task with almost no Arabic!! Eventually we were on a 10am departure which left on time, moved about 10 yards, then spent 20 minutes crawling along to the police check area at the exit. Finally we were on our way through the hot sandy scenery for a couple of hours. That took us to Homs. The bus station at Homs was a little chaotic as we tried to find a minibus to “Krak des Chevaliers”. Someone offered us seats for 50p (about what we were expecting to pay) but it turned out to be a ... read more
Sunset at the Castle
Our Hotel
Battlements




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