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  Monfort Castle
  
The Montfort castle was built in 1226 by French crusaders. It was later bought by the Teutonic knights, who made the castle their headquarters in the Holy Land. For years, the Muslems tried in vain to conquer it. In the summer of 1266, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars made a first attempt to capture the castle but withdrew, only five years later, in 1271, after a seven days siege and digging under the walls he succeeded breaching the outer western wall and assaulted the inner defences, thus he conquered the last Crusader stronghold in Galilee. The Crusaders were permitted to surrender and withdraw with their treasures and archives to Acre.
The castle ruins are on the top of a hill overlooking the Nahal Kziv (Kziv stream) of the Upper Galilee. There are remains of watchtowers, main hall and a church. From one of the towers, still preserved to its original height of 18m/60ft, there is an impressive view of the wooded country round the castle, traversed by the rushing stream in the deep valley below. In the river-bed are remains of a dam, and on the banks is a ruined mill built by the Knights.
The castle can be reached only on foot. A short trail (less than 1 km) runs to the Montfort castle from the Hila lookout (the end of a road running through the village of Me'ilia on Nahatriya-Maalot road).
The ruins of the once splendid Montfort Crusader castle, are located on a precipitous rock crest, overlooking the Keziv river are surrounded by an immense natural forest on the river slopes. The castle was constructed by Templar Crusader knights in the early 12th century, probably initially as a fortified farm, because in contrast to other Crusaders fortresses, it does not control a road, or any other strategic point.
Short after completion the building was destroyed by Salah al Din after the defeat of the Crusaders at the Horns of Hittim on 3-4 July 1187.
Five years later, the castle was re-conquered by the Crusaders, who restored it. In 1220, Montfort was sold to the Crusader Knights of the German Teutonic Order - the German order split from the Hospitaller order - and became their seat. They enlarged the castle with the help of donations collected by the head of the Teutonic order, Hermann von Salza , and gave it the name "Starkenberg" which means strong mountain. In a contract signed in Jaffa on 18th of February 1229 by the German King Friedrich II and the Moslem Sultan Almalik Alkamil, Montfort is mentioned as a Christian castle, with for first time the French name "Montfort", as used today.
The fortress became a part of the defensive system protecting the Crusaders "Kingdom of Acre".
For years, the Moslems tried in vain to re-conquer it. In the summer of 1266, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars made a first attempt to capture the castle but withdrew, only five years later, in 1271, after a seven days siege and digging under the walls he succeeded breaching the outer western wall and assaulted the inner defences, thus he conquered the last Crusader stronghold in Galilee. The Crusaders were permitted to surrender and withdraw with their treasures and archives to Acre; copies of those archives reached the Tirol in Austria, and are an important source for the history of the Land of Israel in time of the Crusaders.
The Mamluk army devastated the castle and its walls, to prevent re-occupation by the Crusaders, and left the ruins we see today
mentioned as a Christian castle, with for first time the French name "Montfort", as used today.
The fortress became a part of the defensive system protecting the Crusaders "Kingdom of Acre".
For years, the Moslems tried in vain to re-conquer it. In the summer of 1266, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars made a first attempt to capture the castle but withdrew, only five years later, in 1271, after a seven days siege and digging under the walls he succeeded breaching the outer western wall and assaulted the inner defences, thus he conquered the last Crusader stronghold in Galilee. The Crusaders were permitted to surrender and withdraw with their treasures and archives to Acre; copies of those archives reached the Tirol in Austria, and are an important source for the history of the Land of Israel in time of the Crusaders.
The Mamluk army devastated the castle and its walls, to prevent re-occupation by the Crusaders, and left the ruins we see today
"Kingdom of Acre".
For years, the Moslems tried in vain to re-conquer it. In the summer of 1266, the Mamluk Sultan Baibars made a first attempt to capture the castle but withdrew, only five years later, in 1271, after a seven days siege and digging under the walls he succeeded breaching the outer western wall and assaulted the inner defences, thus he conquered the last Crusader stronghold in Galilee. The Crusaders were permitted to surrender and withdraw with their treasures and archives to Acre; copies of those archives reached the Tirol in Austria, and are an important source for the history of the Land of Israel in time of the Crusaders.
The Mamluk army devastated the castle and its walls, to prevent re-occupation by the Crusaders, and left the ruins we see today
 
 

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