Belvoir: A Crusader Fortress in The Kingdom of Jerusalem which commands a spectacular view overlooking the Jordan Valley, built by Gilbert of Assailly, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, in 1168. The fortress is located in Belvoir National Park. It is the best-preserved Crusader fortress in the Holy Land.
The Knights Hospitaller purchased the site in 1168 from Ivo Velos, a French nobleman and immediately began construction of Belvoir Castle on an earlier small stronghold formerly built in 1140 by King Fulk of Anjou. The stronghold commands the route from Gil’ad into the Kingdom of Jerusalem and a nearby river crossing on the Jordan River.
Grand Master Gilbert of Assailly gained thirteen new castles in the region, among which Belvoir was the most important. The strategic location of the fortress served as a major obstacle to the Muslims from invading the Kingdom of Jerusalem from the east. It withstood an attack by the Saladin’s forces in 1182.
After Saladin‘s victory at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, Belvoir was besieged in 1188. The siege lasted 8 months, until the defenders surrendered in January 1189 only after the Muslims succeeded to breach the outer wall of the fortress. An agreement was reached between Saladin and the defenders that they can leave unharmed and move to Tyre.
Saladin rebuilt the walls and an Arab governor occupied it until 1219. It was destroyed in 1228.
In 1241 Belvoir was ceded to the Hospitallers, who controlled it until 1263 when the fortress fell to the Mamluk warlord, Baibars.
Guided tour only.