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Beaufort Fortress

Nabatieh District

· Southern Lebanon

The beaufort fortress, or Qala'at Shqif, is located in Arnoun village, South of Lebanon.

The fortress was part of a series of defensive fortresses built along the southern borders with Palestine to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem from Arab invasions that took place between the 11th and 12th Century AD.

Sitting on a 500m cliff, and dominating the surrounding districts of Marjeeyoun and Nabatieh, the fortress hilltop site made it a strategic position that saw pre-crusader era fortifications.

 

Medieval historian Hugh Kennedy speculates that the construction of the Crusader castle began soon after Fulk, King of Jerusalem, gave the site to the lords of Sidon in 1139.

The Battle of Hattin in 1187 saw the Crusaders suffer a crushing defeat in different parts of their kingdom at the hands of Saladin's forces .

Beaufort was one of the last castles to resist Saladin, and it remained in crusader hands until 1268, when the Mamluke Sultan Baibars captured it.

In the 17th century Fakhr-al-Din II took the castle and added it to his network of fortifications. Upon Fakhr-al-Din's defeated against the Ottomans, the fortress was given to local feudal families who ruled the surrounding districts until the 18th century. The fortress fell in despair soon after.

The castle's strategic location, which affords a view of much of southern Lebanon and northern Israel, has caused it to be a focus for recent conflicts. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) held the castle from 1976 onward, during the Lebanese Civil War and consequentially it was attacked dozens of times by Israeli forces until they captured it in the 1980’s.

The IDF abandoned the fortress upon their withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000.

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