The crusader’s castle or castle Gibelet at جبيل, Lebanon, is a fortification dating back to the year 1103. When the Christian crusaders came to conquer the Holy Land and Jerusalem they needed ports – and Byblos was one of them. The castle was built from material taken from ancient temples of the city. Still today you can see how they fortified the walls of the castle by using parts of columns of the temples – which consisted of stronger material typically imported from Egypt.
The reign over Byblos changed several times after it was conquered by Raymond IV in 1103. Saladin took over the castle in 1198 CE and tried to destroy it (but succeeded only partially), during the crusade of the German king Henry VI it was taken back by the crusaders in 1197 and later it was re-conquered by the Mamluks in 1298. Today you can visit the well-restored castle, search for cannonballs stuck in the walls, climb up the tower and enjoy good views on the sea and the mountains.
Most artefacts found here have been transferred to the national museum at بيروت. But walking around the castle is a pleasure with old temples and theatres to discover. It feels a little bit like playing Indiana Jones – as the railway tracks of the French archaeologists (who worked here between 1920 and 1924) are still existing and you can walk down into the ancient graves. While the castle is well-restored you can discover the surroundings on unsecured paths. Watch your steps!
Crusader castle / Gibelet
جبيل / Byblos / Jbeil