Garo Nalbandian

Towering on a hill almost 2,000 feet above the Jordan River, the fortress of Belvoir was almost impregnable. Home to a garrison of Hospitallers, Belvoir (Beautiful View) overlooked the key Jordan River crossings and played an important role in the defense of the Holy Land from Muslim attacks from the east. Belvoir’s remains comprise one of the most complete Crusader castles in Israel. The massive fortifications consisted of a double enclosure castle with a 65-foot dry moat. The size of the castle attests to the wealth and power of the military orders, and the interior accommodations—including a chapel, a dormitory and a refectory—give a glimpse into the monastic lifestyle of its knights. Belvoir was under siege for more than a year after the fateful battle at the Horns of Hattin; the Crusaders finally surrendered and abandoned the castle in January 1189.