Latakia & The Castle of Salah El Din

Recognized as a masterpiece of military architecture, the Castle of Salah El Din was considered impregnable and was defended by the Knights Hospitaller.

A powerful citadel controlling one of the passages between the Orontes valley and the sea and at the same time an advance defense port for the city of Antioch.

Dedicated to Saladin, it played its part in Syria's history under three different and competing authorities, Byzantine, Frankish and Arab.

It is situated at the top of a very difficult route up the mountains. Its strategic position goes back in history to the Phoenicians who controlled this site in the 1st Millennium BC, and were still holding it when Alexander the Great arrived in 333 BC.

Not much is known about what happened to it between this period and the return of the Byzantines in the 10th century AD. The Byzantines under Emperor John Zimisces occupied it from the Aleppan Hamdanid dynasty, and built the first of its defensive structures. It then fell in the hands of the Crusaders at around the beginning of the 12th century.

In 1188 Saladin succeeded in occupying it and it stayed in Muslim hands ever since.

Latakia came to prominence in the wake of Alexander the Great conquest. Named in honor of Laodicea, the mother of Alexander's general Seleucus Nicator it developed into an important port supplying wine during the Hellenistic period.

Emperor Septimus Severus declared it capital of Syria in the 2nd century AD. Justinian rebuilt it after devastating earthquakes in 494 and 555 damaged it badly then along came the invading Arab army seizing Aleppo in 638AD. Captured by the Crusaders four centuries later, the town oscillated between Muslim and Christian control for nearly a century until Saladin took it in 1188.

 

Special Notes:
Comfort stops available at the citadel.

Tour not suitable for wheelchair confined persons or with restricted walking conditions.

A considerable amount of walking is involved on uneven cobblestones and ruined passages at the citadel with lots of stairs to reach the citadel.

Participants change into small buses at the base of the mountain to reach the citadel due to the narrowness and winding road.

Comfortable clothing, walking shoes and hat recommended.

 

Tour Timings:

Tours begin at times suitable for the ship's arrival in port. The breakdown of the excursions is as follows:
00hr00 -> Depart from Latakia Port

00hr00 -> 01hr00 Drive to the Citadel
01hr00 -> 02hr30 Visit Citadel
02hr30 -> 03hr30 Drive to Latakia
03hr30 -> 04hr15 Free time in Latakia

04hr15 -> 04hr30 Drive to the port

 

 

Tour Details

Tour Name:
Latakia & The Castle of Salah El Din

Sightseeing Shore Tours
Cultural Shore Tours

Tour ID:
LAT-03

Duration:
Approximately 4hr30

medium excursion

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