Friday, January 23, 2015

Israel: Castle Exploration

On our drive to Jerusalem, after our baptisms, we stopped to see Belvoir Fortress, a crusader castle. We have seen a few castles here and there, this was the best preserved my kids had ever seen. We read that the Knights Hospitaller purchased the land from a French nobleman in 1168 and began to build the castle then. It was designed to stop the Muslim invasion of Jerusalem. It's Hebrew name means "Star of the Jordan."

The moat was so striking. We wondered at the drawbridge and talked about how it might have looked.

There were lots of nooks and crannies. Dungeons? For kids who didn't do their homework?

We found a spot to get into the dried-up moat.

And this was a hole from which an arrow could be shot, giving the knight protection. These arrow holes were placed in both the inner and outer fortress walls.

This is what they think it might have looked like at one time. The concentric design of this castle influenced castle design for many centuries later.

And from this vantage point, we could see Gilad Mountain (Gilead).

 We could also see the country of Jordan.

That little river snaking in the center of the picture is the Jordan River! It gets thin in spots.

My kids listed this among their favorites.  We are a Narnia and Lord of the Rings lovin' family, so it was fun to see and place and think about the past and who might have lived there.

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