Qala’at ash-Shqif (Beaufort Castle)

Beaufort Castle ruins

Qal’at ash-Shqif literally means Castle on a High Rock. The castle was called Beaufort by the Crusaders who took over the castle’s control in the 12th century.

Beaufort Castle History

Climbing the Beaufort Castle

Beaufort Castle was the stronghold of the Crusaders since its capture in 1139, and its commanding position atop the hill (at a height of 700 meters/2,296 feet) gave it strategic importance.

Inside Beaufort Castle

The castle changed hands from the Crusader, Reginald of Sidon, to Saladin (founder of the Ayyubid dynasty) in 1190. In the 17th century, the Ottomans conquered the castle and destroyed its upper areas. After an earthquake destroyed much of the castle in 1837, it became a quarry and a sheep shelter.

Beaufort Castle is one of the few castles that had an active military role in the 20th century. In 1976 the castle was a base of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and they used it to fire rockets to Israel from there.

The castle was taken over by the Israeli forces in 1982 and was held as an observation post by the Israeli Defense Forces until 2000. During this time the castle was under attack, and it was further destroyed by the Israeli forces before their departure.

Visitor Information

Restoration plans are currently underway. Visitors to the ruins can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area, which includes parts of Syria and Israel.

Qala’at ash-Shqif Location

Beaufort Castle is located in Southern Lebanon, about 1 km S-E away from Arnoun village. See below the location on the map:

Qala’at ash-Shqif Map

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