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Nephin Fortress

Koura District

· Northern Lebanon

Thanks to the recent archaeological excavations, historians were able to retrieve artifacts and tools that date back to the late Bronze Age, thus confirming that Enfeh was inhabited since the Phoenician era.

A specific time in history – the crusader era - made Enfeh an important military location. The site houses today the remnants of a lost well fortified, gigantic crusader fortress, named at the time Nephin by the Franks.

Being part of the County of Tripoli, and the center of the barony, the fort was entrusted to the Raynouard family in the mid-12th century by Raymond III, count of Tripoli, in exchange of Tartus that was taken away from them and given to the Order of Knights of the Hospital.

Although the fortress was never conquered by the county’s enemies, the Franks had to evacuate it in 1289 when the County of Tripoli fell to the Mamluk Sultan Qalaoun, who eventually took the fortress and kept it for a short period of time before razing it to the ground.

Fearing of a future maritime invasion by the crusaders who would take back and use the fortress to launch again their operations, Sultan Qalaoun ordered the fortress to be dismantled completely.

Consequently, the site lost almost all of its architectural structures, causing a difficulty for archaeologists to draw a detailed map of the fortress.

Other ruins can be seen on site such as a series of tanks and pits that were used to produce salt. In addition, a small section of the fortresses’ walls can be seen, as well as the major moat that was the 1st line of defense of the fortress.

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