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 Home > Damascene Monuments > Citadel of Damascus

Citadel of Damascus

The Castle of Damascus is built at the  same level as the city ground. The castle architects have made up for its being deprived of natural elevation by providing it with alternative features that are not found in other castles that are fortified with heights. These features include its huge and fortified construction, the height of the towers, the way they were sculptured.

The Saljuki Castle

Western historians thought for a while that the castle had Roman or Byzantine origins, due to the presence of Roman stones that are sculptured within the castle.

This view was soon dropped as a result of more modern opinions. Regarding the presence of Roman stoned, researchers have noted that such stones were not placed in their original  locations. Historical records seem to indicate that the Saljukis were the first to construct the castle, the construction having been started by King Atzin Adaq in 1076 A.D. The castle has  several gates, most of which were dilapidated. It contains openings through which boiling oil would be poured over the heads of attackers, as well holes fore archers to shoot their arrows. The castle was surrounded by a trench which would be filled with water during sieges. The castle has wells and water canals, so that when water is cut off, the wells would provide them with the necessary water. The plan of the castle remained unchanged until 1202 A.D., after which King Al-Adel ordered it to be demolished and had a new castle built in its place.


Although Damascus witnessed during the Crusades only one siege (July 1148)which lasted but a few days. King Al-Adel who was preparing to confront the Crusades had found that the old castle did not fulfill the needs required and that it no longer kept pace with the developments that took place in the art of architecture and military defenses. Moreover, it was partly demolished following the earthquake that befallen  it in 597 and 598.

The castle was surrounded with a deep trench which used to be filled, during sieges,  with water drawn from nearby Barada River.

Each corner of the castle had a tower. There are two rowers in the eastern side, one of which includes the eastern entrance to the castle, and three towers in the northern and southern fronts.

The towers are connected by thick walls. They end in their upper part with curtains provided with balconies with holes from which archers could shoot their arrows.

 Behind the towers there is a roofed corridor that runs round the four sides of the castle and secures the link between them and is known as the defensive corridor.


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