Description Crac des Chevaliers is perhaps the most famous and iconic of all the Hospitallers castles and fortifications. It stands on a bare black-basalt hill above the Homs Gap, an important pass through which runs the road from Tripoli to Homs, some 35 km from the Mediterranean and about 650 m above sea-level. In its day it commanded a position of great strategic importance. It was ceded to the Hospitallers in 1142 by Raymond I, count of Tripoli, in whose hands it remained until it was lost to Baybars in 1271.8 The Hospitallers made Crac the centre of their network of castles and towers in Syria (then the County of Tripoli) and entirely enlarged and remodelled it over the years, giving it its powerful concentric ramparts and powerful towers. The pen drawing shows the castle in its last phase of development (included the various additions made after 1271), and as it stood prior to the first restoration works undertaken on the castle by the French in the 1930s.
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