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Panoramic Views > El Nabatieh > El Nabatieh > Arnoun

Arnoun, The Beaufort Citadel of Shkif

Certain castles are to be found around the world constructed over the vertical walls of ravines, such as Alcazar at Toledo to mention only one.

Beaufort Castle stands on a rocky crest above soaring 300-metre precipices amidst enchanting countryside, not far from Mount Hebron and overlooking the Litani River in South Lebanon, south-east of Saïda and one hundred kilometres from Beirut, the Lebanese capital. Beaufort Castle, in Arabic Qalaat el-Shekif, is a mighty fortress standing on a strategic site on the roads of Tyre and the South, but is first and foremost a military stronghold defending the extreme north of the kingdom of Jerusalem.

The view all around is panoramic and enough to take anyone's breath away.

The Crusaders took possession of it in 1139, and there are traces there of earlier Arab construction.
Beaufort was entrusted to Renaud de Sagette, a Frankish knight having an attractive personality and withall a man of culture and intelligence, speaking Arabic as well as he spoke French.

To isolate the fortress on the western side of the plateau, deep and wide excavations were dug into the living rock. The castle was impregnable and able to hold out indefinitely against any kind of siege or attack. It measured 150 metres along its greater length and had many passageways, impressive underground rooms, and towers from which fire could be aimed down. There were rooms for storage, and a great inside water reservoir, with others dug out of the rock. A spacious hall built by the Templars was almost certainly a chapel.

Beaufort changed hands several times.

From 1139 to 1190 the castle was held by the Franks. From 1190 to 1240 it was occupied by Saladin and the Muslims. From 1240 to 1268 it was again in the hands of the Templars.

It passed once more into the hands of the Arabs and in 1610 Fakhredin II, Emir of Lebanon, strengthened its fortifications and made it a storehouse for his treasures.

It was largely destroyed by Jarkass Pasha.

In 1629, Emir Fakhredin II asked plans for its reconstruction and restoration from the Grand Duke of Florence.

During the recent unhappy troubles in Lebanon, it passed into the hands of the Israelis, who invaded the South in 1982, and then into those of Lebanese combatants and resistance fighters who freed South Lebanon from Israeli occupation, so that now it is the property of the Lebanese State.

Beaufort is part of the national heritage. One may visit and admire this unique site, and go round it to see it from the eastern and north-eastern sides from the road that goes to Marjeyoun.

Despite the exterior ruin and the damage caused throughout the long years, the inside is well preserved and in any case the view is superb. The castle is a storehouse of our history.

- Arnoun, The Beaufort Citadel of Shkif: >> View Movie << (2004-05-01)
- Arnoon, The Beaufort Citadel of Shkif: >> View Movie << (2012-04-01)
- Arnoon, The Beaufort Citadel of Shkif - North Side: >> View Movie << (2012-04-01)
- Arnoon, The Beaufort Citadel of Shkif - Inside: >> View Movie << (2012-04-01)



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