DescriptionThe castle of Belvoir, the crusader Coquetem (Kaukab al-Hawa), was built in the second half of the twelfth century and is considered one of the greatest crusader achievements in the field of military architecture.1 Although smaller than the gigantic Crac des Chevaliers in Syria, it is nonetheless unique in the sense that it represents one of the earliest attempts at concentric defences.2 The castle of Belvoir was sold to the Hospitallers by Ive Velos in 1168 for 1400 besants. The drawing shows a tentative reconstruction based on the surviving ruins and the plan produced by M. Ben-Dov, and shows a fortress consisting of an outer enceinte, and an inner castrum enveloped by a rock-hewn fosse, an impressive engineering feat in itself, all cut into the rock of a basaltic plateau overlooking the Jordan valley. After the disastrous battle of Hattin in 1187, the Hospitallers at Belvoir put up a heroic defence against Saladins armies. Belvoir was besieged and held out until January 1189.
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