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The castles of Mount Amel: Qalaat Al Chakif (Beaufoert castle), Qalaat Tibnin (Toron castle), Qalaat Chakra (Dubieh castle), Qalaat Deir kifa (Maron Castle), Burj Al Naoqoura (Naqoura tower)

Date of Submission: 11/07/2019
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Lebanon to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Lebanon south (Mount Amel)
Ref.: 6435

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


Qalaat Al Chakif (Beaufoert castle) N33 7 16.12 E35 7 54.65 
Qalaat Tibnin (Toron castle) N33 11 42.25 E35 24 43.24
Qalaat Chakra (Dubieh castle) N33 11 38.97 E35 29 6.06
Qalaat Deir kifa (Maron Castle) N33 15 43.89 E35 23 56.46

These four castles represent one of the most significant examples illustrating the exchange of influences and documenting the evolution of fortified architecture in the Near East during the time of the Crusades (11th - 13th centuries) and they show a unique authentic record for the development of architecture for nearly nine centuries, since these sites were used until the end of 19th century.

Qalaat Al Chakif (Beaufort castle) was built by the King of Jerusalem around the 1137 A.D. With further construction by Ayyubid, the Mamluks and Al Saabi, the local feudal governors. In the meantime, it is one of the best-preserved examples of the medieval castles of the near east.

Qalaat Tibnin (the castle of Toron), Qalaat Chakra (the castle of Dubieh), and Qalaat Deir Kifa (Maron Castle), were built in early 12th century as part of the early crusades posts, and as Qalaat Al Chakif (Beaufort castle), they witnessed further construction by Ayyubids,  Mamluks and the Al Asgheir, local feudal governors. Even though partly in ruins, they represent outstanding examples of medieval fortifications, both in terms of the quality of construction and the survival of historical stratigraphy. They also retain features from the Byzantine period to the late 19th century, with evidence from earlier periods down to the Bronze Age as is the case in Qalaat Tibnin.

The four castle are protected by the Lebanese Law of Antiquities no 166 LR of 1933 and its modifications and by special government decrees or ministerial decisions. Qalaat Al Chakif is protected by an Urban-plan Decree protecting its surroundings and preventing building activities. It is registered with its surroundings in the National Heritage list. The Castle of Tibnin is protected by the general law and by special protection decision.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

These four castles represent significant examples illustrating the exchange of influences and documenting the evolution of fortified architecture in the Near East during Crusader and Islamic periods until the end of 19th century.  The four castles are located on high ridges that were key defensive positions. Dominating their surrounding landscapes, the four castles are outstanding examples of fortified architecture relating to the medieval period. Their quality of construction and the survival of historical stratigraphy demonstrate the interchange of defensive technology through features of each phase of military occupation.

Criterion (ii): The castles represent a significant development in the fortification systems, which substantially differed from the European rather more passive defense systems, and which contributed to the development of the castles in the Levant. Within the castles that have survived in the Near East, the serial property represents one of the most significant examples illustrating the exchange of influences and documenting the evolution in this field, which had an impact both in the East and in the West.

Criterion (iv): In the history of architecture, Qalaat Chakif is taken as one of the best preserved example of the castles of the Crusader period, and it is also seen as an archetype of a Medieval fortified castle particularly in the context of the military orders. Similarly, Qalaat Tibnin, Qalaat Chakra and Qalaat Deir Kifa, even though partly in ruins, still represent outstanding examples of this type of fortifications, both in terms of quality of construction and the survival of their historical stratigraphy.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The four castles are located on hilltops dominating visually the surrounding landscape. They are still in the context designed by the military engineers in the 12th century. 

Qalaat Chakra (the castle of Dubieh), is still surrounded with the best-preserved historical landscape. Traces of agriculture terraces that date to the crusaders or earlier periods are still clear around the castle ridge. The castle witnessed several archaeological campaigns and is well documented. The general directorate of antiquities is reviewing a conservation and presentation project for the castle.

Qalaat Al Chakif (Beaufort castle) dominates its surrounding landscape that extends over three states, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The castle suffered from destruction, mainly during the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. A major conservation and presentation project was planned and conducted since the liberation of the castle in the year 2000; the project took in consideration the authenticity and integrity of the castle. 

Qalaat Deir Kifa, didn’t witness any conservation projects or deep archaeological study.   Some limited undesirable conservation works were undertaken by local authorities in parts of the castle.   Today a conservation project for the castle is being prepared under the supervision of the General Directorate of Antiquities.

Qalaat Tibnin: Some archaeological excavation and studies were undertaken in this castle that give definite evidence about early activities that took place in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Some conservation works were conducted in the castle in 1989 according to practices that were commonly used at that time but are no more recommended and practiced nowadays. A comprehensive conservation, presentation and archaeological project is being prepared under the supervision of the General Directorate of Antiquities.

Comparison with other similar properties

The region of the Near East has a rich heritage of fortifications. The crusader period represents a particularly violent phase in the history of the Near East and eastern Mediterranean. It resulted in the development and improvement of castles and fortification systems, which had consequences in the east as well as in the west. There were three basic reasons for the large number of fortifications: the long and narrow shape of the Latin Kingdom, the lack of manpower, and the need for a feudal administration.

The four castles were part of the military fortification concept that was introduced by the crusaders and developed locally by the Ayyubi and Mamluk dynasties and by the local governors. They share similar construction techniques with other castles in the region like the Crack des Chevaliers and Qalaat Salah El-Din in Syria, both inscribed on the World Heritage List.