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 Castle of Atlit

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Melisende
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PostSubject: Castle of Atlit   Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:25 pm

Crusader Castles


Atlit:
Templar castle and one of the main bases from which to launch attacks against Muslims. Built on promontory along coast midway between Haifa and Caesare (1218), and built to replace Destroit (1217) by Walter Lord of Avesnes, with the aid of visiting Crusaders and pilgrims - named “Pilgrim’s Castle” and progress was rapid.

Withstood serious attack (October 1220) by al-Mu’azzam, ruler of Damascus - rendered Destroit useless to Muslims; siege lifted after a months (November 1220).

Built on piece of land projecting into the sea, protected on three sides by water; surrounding lands held fisheries, salt-pans, orchards, woods, pastures and vines; and source of fresh water. Two rectangular towers dominated the inner wall; joined by curtain wall (allowed horsemen to ride inside); front was another wall with three towers defending landward side. Maintained by donations of pilgrims and crusaders; large round church incorporated into southwestern corner on inner enceinte - church built around central pillar, and held relic of St.Euphemia of Chalcedon (d.303). Margaret of Provence gave birth to son King Louis IX of France here (1251).

Important harbour city in defence of Acre and possible depository for archives and important documents. It was one of the last Templar strongholds to be abandoned and evacuated in an orderly fashion (1291) - dismantled by Mamelukes.

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