I have visited some brilliant castles on my travels (notably in Wales) but the number one for me by some distance is Syria’s Krak des Chevaliers (castle of the crusaders), situated in Western Syria close to the Lebanese border.
It was built up by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271, before it finally fell to Mamluk Sultan Baibars after a siege lasting 36 days, thereafter remaining in Islamic hands until after the end of the crusade period.
Renowned as probably the most intact crusader castle of today (hopefully the recent damage caused by fighting in Syria is only superficial), Krak really is a ‘boy’s’ delight.
The imposing structure looked imperious when viewed from atop a nearby hill and it was an absolute joy to clamber around its immense stone walls and rocky pathways to imagine furious battles taking place in the vicinity. It once housed a garrison of over 2,000 and withstood the might of Saladin and his army before succumbing to the Mamluks.
I sincerely hope that others get to enjoy the majestic structure in the not too distant future.