Situated at 2,600 feet above sea level, on a spur on the slopes of the northern Golan Heights, it is easy to see why the site of Kal’at Nimrod would have been chosen by castle-builders of days gone by. But contrary to what many people think, this is not a Crusader fortress.
In fact it was built around 1228 by the nephew of Salah ad Din – Al Aziz Uthman – in order to guard the route to Damascus and prevent the advancement of the Crusader army led by Friedrich II. Later, after the Mamluk conquest, it was extended – with the building work recorded in inscriptions dating from 1275.
After the defeat of the Crusaders, Kal’at Nimrod lost its strategic importance and fell into disrepair. The Ottomans later used it as a prison and in the 18th century it was further ruined by an earthquake.
The fortress offers wonderful views of the Upper Galilee and the Hula Valley below, as well as the Druze village of Ein Kinya (the oldest of the four Druze villages in the Golan, dating from around 1860) , nestled in the lower slopes of Mount Hermon.
Photos by Akus & Hadar Sela.