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Noire Garde

Bint Jbeil District

· South

Chakra village houses the remnants of an imposing and unique Crusader era fortress. 

Toponym 

“Noire Garde” is a possible designation given to the fortress by scholars since it is located near a geographical location known under that name. Noir Garde appears in the Latin Chronicles as a spot where the forces of Baudoin III of Jerusalem gathered to observe the plain of Belinas besieged by Nur al-Din in 1157.   

“Qala’at Dubiye” is the current local designation that may refer to the builders of the fortress who come from the dynasty of “De Bouillon”. This theory is still debatable.  

Purpose 

The fortress was built to control the trade routes that link the coast to the hinterland, and Syria. 

It was also one of several fortresses that played a role in defending the Kingdome of Jerusalem. 

History 

Although the fortress lacks of any concrete historical records, it was probably built during the first years of the crusades (12th century) like most of the fortresses in the surrounding areas, such as Le Toron. By the end of the 13th century, the fortress fell to the Mamluk armies.  

Around the 17th century, the Al-Saghir family renovated the fortress and inhabited it. It was passed down later on to Nassif Al Nassar, then to his nephew Sheikh Zahir bin Nassar al-Nassar.

According to the chronicles, it is said that Prince Yunus, along with his two sons Melhem and Hamdan, hid from Ahmed Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Sidon, when he marched with his soldiers to fight his brother Fakhr al-Din. 

The fortress fell into decay since that time. 

Structure 

The fortress is a three story structure, with only two levels left, built from local limestone with a quadrangular shape.  

It is flanked by rectangular towers, the most important ones being on the main entrance. It is surrounded by a moat dug about 1 meter in the bedrock.  

The fortress’ interior houses about 32 rooms (storage, soldier’s room, etc.), a prison and a stable, as well as several cisterns.  

The structural elements of the fortress are diversified and rich – it testifies to a continuous occupation since the Crusaders by the Mamluks and the Ottomans. 

*Scroll down to enjoy the pictures and to locate the site on the map. 

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Karim Sokhn  

Tour Operator & Tour Guide 

References: 

خطط جبل عامل للسيد محسن الأمين 

 

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