Citadel of Salah Ed-Din

Medieval citadel of Salah Ed-Din is located 30 km East of city of Latakia in Syria. It was constructed in the 10th century.



Location: 30 km East of Latakia  Map

Constructed: 10th century


Description of citadel of Salah Ed-Din


Although name after a legendary Muslim leader Salah Ed-Din its foundation has nothing to do with him. He merely named it after conquering it in July 1188. The first fortifications on this strategic hill date back to the Phoenicians. It switched hands between empires. According to the legend Alexander the Great managed to take the citadel only after seeing a dream where Hercules, Greek legendary hero, told him directions to a cave where he left a club for him. The legend claims it is due to this club did Alexander managed to fight his way into the castle. Although the story is most likely made up it shows the difficulty of the terrain that made this location hard to take.


The current citadel is built by Byzantium ruler John I Tzimiskes. His successful, but brief rule managed to gain some of the land back for the empire. The castle served as a frontier defence for conquered lands. The castle fell to the Crusaders and served as one of the bases for Hospitallers and Templars knights. Salah Ed-Din took the castle in 1188, less than a year after taking Jerusalem. Arabs added a mosque and a palace along with baths.