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Areimeh Citadel

Qalaat Areimeh (Areimeh Citadel):

Areimeh; about 20 km south east from Tartus; was built as a crusader castle, to help safeguard the routes between Tortosa and Tripoli, to protect the coastal plain leading to the Homs Gap and to strengthen the outer defenses of Tortosa (Tartus).


Little remains of the original fabric though the scale of the defenses can be seen and part of the walls shows the quality of the Frankish work. The dates of the original construction are not known but it was presumably begun even before 1177 when the Templars were given responsibility for the security of the region around their base at Tortosa.


Certainly the castle was there in 1149 when Bertrand of Toulouse seized it from Raymond III, Count of Tripoli, whom he suspected of having murdered his father. Unur, a Muslim ruler of Damascus, in turn sought the support of Nur al-Din and the two Muslim leaders dislodged Bertrand and went on to destroy and sack the castle. Bertrand was sent into captivity to Aleppo and Raymond was captured a while later.


The ruins cover an area of 80 m by 300 m on the crest of a small rise. The land falls away steeply to the east. Located in beautiful Olive-growing country, on a good day the castle enjoys breath-taking views towards the usually snow-clad peak of Mount Lebanon well to the south.