This castle was recognized as a masterpiece of military architecture, and defended by the Knights Hospitaller, was considered impregnable. During the 14th century it was still in good order, a powerful citadel controlling one of the passages between the sea and the Orontes valley and an advance defense port for Antioch.
Near the entrance there is a stairway on the outside of the tower which leads up to a rampart walk and to the upper level of the castle. The layout of the whole citadel can be grasped from there. This citadel - the Byzantine Sahyoun, the Frankish Castle of Saone and the Arab qaalat now dedicated to Saladin - played its part in Syria's history under three different and competing authorities, over three successive centuries.
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