Kochav HaYarden (Belvoir)


By Ryan Jones

Kochav HaYarden is located in the southern Galilee on the crest of a steep ridge overlooking the Jordan Valley. The castle's original Crusader builders named the fortress Belvoir (beautiful view) because of the spectacular view of the valley below and the mountains of Jordan in the distance.

The fortress was originally built ca. 1140 AD by the Crusader ruler Falk Dango as a fortified agricultural settlement.

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By Ryan Jones

Kochav HaYarden is located in the southern Galilee on the crest of a steep ridge overlooking the Jordan Valley. The castle’s original Crusader builders named the fortress Belvoir (beautiful view) because of the spectacular view of the valley below and the mountains of Jordan in the distance.

The fortress was originally built ca. 1140 AD by the Crusader ruler Falk Dango as a fortified agricultural settlement. In 1168 the site was purchased by the Hospitaler knights and transformed into one of the most important and well defended fortresses in the land.

Because of Kochav HaYarden’s control of major trade routes in the area, it was a prime target of the Crusaders’ number one nemesis, Saladin. Despite all of his attempts, Saladin was unable to take the fortress, so strong were its defenses. Only after all of the surrounding lands had been defeated by the Muslims and Kochav HaYarden subjected to a year and a half siege, did the knights voluntarily surrender the site.

Kochav HaYarden is today the best preserved and only completely excavated Crusader-period fortress in Israel.

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